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April 17, 2007

Why MoBlogging isn’t hot in the Philippines?

This was one of the questions asked during the afternoon session of the 2nd day at the iBlog3 — what’s slowing mobile blogging in the Philippines?

Actually, Globe Telecoms (G-Blogs) and Smart Communications (AMBlog) have already entered into mobile blogging years ago. An old friend who works for Smart’s Marketing department approached me 2 years ago asking how much we would sell PinoyBlog for. I told him it wasn’t for sale. He then asked how much (monthly retainer) do we want for it to be re-branded as a Smart property allowing us to retain editorial control while the mobile company gets access to the content. Nonetheless, Connie and I didn’t push thru with the deal as we feel it doesn’t add much value to the service we’re doing. Obviously, Smart and Globe were already looking forward to the time when moblogging will be a hit in the country. Why it did not, I’d like to share a few thoughts.


It’s not that moblogging is expensive. On average, a phone user sends 15 text messages per day. I don’t know how many MMS they send but with the still thriving number of content providers, I am sure that people are spending a lot on other mobile content such as ringtones, wallpapers, mobile updates, SMS contests, and other downloadables. Smart 3G is now also as cheap at internet cafe rates (Php10 per 30 minutes) so uploading pictures or content wouldn’t be any more costly either.

I don’t think its about usability too. Twitter seems to be gaining grounds in some sectors of the blogosphere yet you don’t see many of them using their phones to post updates. Considering that we’re the texting capital of the world, the Twitter model for mobile blogging should have worked if it was all about usability and “one-liners”.

I think the real reason is that, despite the allegedly 40 Million cellphone users in the Philippines, not many of them are actually interested in blogging. According to Globe, there are currently 34,182 G-Blogs to date. I’d bet a huge percentage of that figure are one-time users only (just check how far part each update are and the last update was way back April 1). As for Smart’s Addict Mobile Blog, it used to be a mobile photoblog until reality sinked in that they need to regularly monitor the blogs for pornographic pictures — something that is logistically expensive for Php2.50 a pop.

Just look at how much those SMS Channels (with the obligatory Text Jockeys) on cable are raking in every night. If you’ve watched those endless one-liners every day (estimates are in the Php10k up for just a few hours), you’ll realize that a huge number of Filipino mobile users are into dating, not blogging.


10 Responses to “Why MoBlogging isn’t hot in the Philippines?”

  1. Dusty says:

    YehBA* has a blogging feature, although still in its infancy and is far from a finished product, it’s already currently being used by thousands of subscribers worldwide, mostly OFWs.

    However …… I’m afraid to say that they didn’t really get the essence of blogging but instead used it as a photo album of sorts.

    But I guess photo moblogging is better than noblogging at all ;)

  2. Hi Abe. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge in the recent iBlog3 event. I’m sure everyone learned a lot from it.

    I created my own g-blog when it first came out. I forgot about it until late last year when I received a continuous stream text message (at one point there 20 continuous text messages) alerting me of a comment that I received in my g-blog. When I eventually checked it, the message was from a person asking if i’m interested for a chat of sorts. I called up Globe Support and that was resolved nicely. (thanks!)

    I think the limitations of the platform compared to what you can do now with current commercial platforms hinder most of us to give it a serious thought. I think the telcos are better off in trying to copy the Multiply model where it can re-publish blog post from other blogs. (and vice-versa)

  3. jhay says:

    That’s where Friendster comes in! Students, highschool and college students use it to announce to the world who their latest significant other is, they use it to document their relationships and breakups are the main attractions.

    Couples even create a separate account just for their relationship, and when the whole thing crashes down, it’s usually the one who got dumped or can’t move on that takes over and turns it into a memorial shrine of bitterness.

    Watching the whole thing can be a real fun.

    The darker more common usage, to track (read: stalk) their crushes.

  4. Our country is still clinging to the traditional ways, or as we say it “nakagawian”. We’re slow when it comes to “embracing” the “new” stuff.

  5. Roger D says:

    Posting a text blog using a mobile phone is a challenge to everyone, even with the introduction of qwerty keypad in some mobile devices.

    Not surprisingly, what I see in moblogging is a photo upload and then a short comment on the subject. Not far from traditional MMS, but this time not sending it to someone.

    It could also be the application that they use in the mobile phone.

  6. Jerome says:

    Hello,
    I am Jerome Herrera. I am the owner of Pinoy Penster Community, a website for Amateur and Professional Filipino Writers. I was wondering if we could exchange links. This will give your blog/website a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to our hundreds of visitors everyday. If you are interested, please email me at jeromeherrera2006@gmail.com. Pinoy Penster Community is located at http://penster.fyi.ph

  7. Miguel
    Twitter: mparazgmail.com
    says:

    A similar app is Shozu but the erratic nature of our local 3G networks is a turn off. Some people including myself tried it for a while then got tired of it. (Though it’s more practical with a WiFi phone.)

    Another reason is: the operators don’t really buy the idea because the Internet users are a small fraction of the SMS users. Remember that VAS money is traditionally downloads of ringtones, logos, and other content, preferably by subscription.

    Interactive services are insignificant compared to those.

    Imagine this: I heard (no source) that Chikka makes most of its revenue from VAS, and not IM!

  8. jayvee f. says:

    90% of smart subscribers are on prepaid. of that 90 percent more than 50 percent dont have credit.

    we havent reached that level yet where moblogging becomes a useful tool. its much cheaper and comfy to work from an internet cafe.

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Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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