Startup Bests Google at Mobile Monetization

You’re an 18-year old whiz developer who builds a mobile app that blows up. How do you make sure you cash in before the novelty wave is over?
College freshman John Hotovy, CEO of the startup Atonality Mobile, recently created TuneMe, a fun mobile app which enables users to record their voices singing their favorite songs, and then automatically synchronizes them with the melody–making average shower singers sound like Katie Perry, T-Pain, or any other big recoding artist.
When TuneMe went live, Hotovy initially turned to Google’s AdMob to employ basic banner ads for monetization. But even as downloads soared from 30,000 to 170,000 in a few weeks — revenue stayed flat, with CPMs hovering in the neighborhood of 50 cents.
So Hotovy turned to Pontiflex, a fast growing Brooklyn-based startup best know for lead generation ads on the Web. Using the company’s in-app advertising product, Pontiflex AppLeads, CPMs suddenly ballooned to $80.
“We were about to pull the free version off the Android Market before we saw the impact of the revenue from Pontiflex AppLeads,” says John Hotovy, CEO of Atonality Mobile. “The increase in revenue from signup ads has definitely contributed to keeping the free version around.”
Launched in mid 2010, AppLeads is designed to offer a simple plug-in ad solution for all sorts of app developers. Much like Pontiflex’s online ad product, AppLeads are centered around driving users to sign up for offers, rewards programs and email correspondence.
In the case of TuneMe, users are presented with sign-up ads as their songs are being processed.

According to CEO Zephrin Lasker, AppLeads sometimes command $100 CPMs. “Mobile app developers are now providing real entertainment and utility to their audience and should be paid for what they do,” Lasker said. “We are happy to help them make real money in a way that is still respectful of the user experience, and help keep apps free.”

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