Keith Lee, the CEO of MyTown, told the audience at Inside Social Apps in San Francisco, that the application is currently at 1.9 million registered users and is growing by 100,000 users per week. Those users also spend an average of 70 minutes in the app per day. Take that Foursquare! During the “Monetizing Mobile Apps” panel, there was an overwhelming consensus that free applications have a much more effective business model. As Jason Oberfest of ngmoco pointed out, paid applications tend to have a very steep revenue decline while while free apps have a flat and steady revenue stream.
The other consensus among the panelists was that the mobile space is growing rapidly. Quoting Mary Meeker at Morgan Stanley, Shervin Pishevar stated that the mobile application space is projected to generate $30 billion a year by 2014. Shervin is also exceptionally bullish on the mobile space, stating “The laptop will be the rotary phone of this generation”. He also quipped that he found it ironic that Apple chose to use the phrase “Social Gaming Network” to describe their soon-to-be-released in game social network.
One other panelist, the CEO of mig33, which is a mobile entertainment company, was relatively quiet for most of the panel, however he had an interesting market position. At this point the company is focused on SMS entertainment in developing countries, or as he described the “Mobile First” market. However the SMS entertainment is not inherently social, something which is critical to growth according to ngmoco’s Jason Oberfest.
Getting users to invite their friends is one of the primary drivers of new installs to most of the top iPhone applications. Compared to the web app market, it’s clear that the mobile app market is much more significant.