Conduit, the developer of online apps that counts 260,000 web publishers as clients, is preparing to expand into the burgeoning mobile app marketplace, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal.
Conduit currently offers a free platform that lets online publishers create apps for their brands and content, and distribute them via the Conduit App Marketplace. Popular websites like Facebook, Major League Baseball, Travelocity and TechCrunch have used the platform to develop apps, which Conduit’s network of 200 million users put on their toolbars to allow faster access to the sites.
The WSJ story, which cites an interview with Conduit president Adam Boyden, raises questions about how Conduit will monetize its platform, which—like its web app developer effort—is available at no cost.
“‘We are going to examine and experiment with lots of different models,’ Boyden said. ‘We will work out a model where we can get remunerated in a way that makes sense for everyone.’ Currently, Conduit makes its money through its eponymous Web app site and as a big maker of custom toolbars…About half of Conduit’s revenue comes from toolbars, with the other half coming from the Web app part of the business. The 200-person company is profitable, Boyden said.
An expansion into mobile certainly is a natural extension of Conduit’s business, especially given its platform’s popularity among prominent web publishers. But since most of those publishers already offer mobile apps, it remains to be seen what Conduit will offer to try to entice them to use its platform instead. The WSJ report said the company will outline its plans at next weeks’ Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.