Bango.com is a service that handles payments for off-portal mobile content providers. If you are selling ring tones, games, videos or whatever on the mobile web Bango handles the complex details of collecting funds from users anywhere in the world either by direct billing on the customer's phone bill, a credit card or PayPal. I've heard only good things about Bango's billing service.
I was intrigued when I learned about Bango's new Bango Button service which is supposed to make it easy to promote your mobile content - like a mobile website, image or a ring tone. Carlo Longino at MobHappy mentioned the Bango Button in a recent post and provided one that links to MobHappy's mobile site.
Carlo did warn that the user experience was pretty bad but I wanted to see for myself and set up this Bango Button, which points to WapReview.mobi.
From the publishers point of view setup is easy, but what about the end user experience? It turns out that the button behaves differently depending on whether it's clicked from a desktop browser or a mobile browser.
- Desktop browser: a pop-up appears telling me to enter get76778.wap.com on my mobile phone. That's a memorable address, not!
- Opera Mini: Bango tells me that Opera Mini is not supported and suggests I use my phone's built in browser. Major faux pas here, whatever you do on the web, mobile or not, you should never tell the user that their browser isn't good enough. Every chance I get, I tell my readers to use Opera Mini because it's the best mobile browser in the world and Bango turns around and says it's "not supported". Opera is one the most web standards compliant browsers on the web, there is no excuse for not supporting it.
- WebKit: The built in browser on my Nokia N95: All I get is a blank page. Even http://wap.com gives a blank page. MobHappy.com loads fine in WebKit as does Bango.com.
- Openwave 7 Browser on my Motorola i855: It sort of works, I'm taken to the Wap.com mobile portal, where a user ID has been created for me and there's a link to MobHappy. Except that the first time I try it, the Wap.com page times out and when I retry I get an "infinite redirect" error. I try again and this time the page loads. But when I click the MobHappy link, I get an error saying that either my proxy server is misconfigured or my computer is possibly infected with spy-ware. I kid you not it actually said that! This is using the built in browser on the phone going through my carrier's gateway. There is no computer, no proxy server and no spy-ware involved. I try again later and it actually works this time!
I'm sure that Bango will fix the button so that it works with all browsers. But I really don't understand what advantages the Bango Button has for publishers. It just as easy to add your own link or button that goes directly your mobile site.