Today we announced the release of the distribution side of Flash Platform Services. Most of the action is on Techmeme but I liked the ReadWriteWeb post, the TechCrunch post, and the VentureBeat post specifically. Distribution Services is the one that’s new and the goal is to let you track your application across a number of different screens while also simplifying the distribution mechanism. There are also hooks that will let you easily bring in advertising so that you can both track and monetize your content. The first thing people will think of is widgets, and that makes sense because a lot of the “sharing” aspect, which we’re partnering with Gigya for, will remind people of the widgets they’re able to place on Facebook, MySpace, blogs, and other places. But as Serge’s MAX Widget shows, these can be more complicated applications as well. So while widgets may be the first thought, any one of these three threads; sharing, tracking, and advertising, can be brought into an application of any size. So regardless of what kind of application you’re building, these services should be helpful.
Show me the money
One thing this allows you to do is easily monetize your content. The money side of this is that advertisers or developers can buy installs and pay a fee (starting at one dollar) per successful installs. You can also target this a bit, so if you want to make sure a high number of people are embedding your widget, you can promote it via the network and you’ll be charged a fee anytime someone embeds or installs your content. On the profit side, you can also offer to host advertisements via our network. We’ll give you a specific CPM (cost per thousand impressions), we estimate around $5, and pay that out to you.
These services also work with mobile devices. This is one of the slickest features I’ve seen demoed because when a user wants to install a shareable mobile application, they’ll get an SMS with a link to the application. When they click it, our distribution service detects which device they’re on and will push out the correct version of the application. Currently we support Symbian S60 phones, Windows Mobile, and the iPhone. That doesn’t mean you can use Flash on the iPhone, but you can create an iPhone version that can be pushed out with our distribution network.
The Rest of the Services Story
There are three parts to the Flash Platform Services initiative; Distribution, Collaboration, and Social. Distribution is what we announced today, Social will make it easy to integrate social networks like Facebook and MySpace, and Collaboration has been in beta for a while, you know it as Flash Collaboration Services. All of these will have a pay-per-use model and will provide added functionality or easy integration for developers. The Flash Platform is the most cutting edge technology on the web. The full range of things it lets developers and designers do just doesn’t exist on any other platform. As a result, we’re able to do some very interesting things when it comes to collaboration, tracking, distribution, or integration. The goal of these services is to make it much easier for any Flash Platform developer to accomplish those things. Lowering the barrier to entry for things that makes Flash so powerful is going to be beneficial for a lot of developers.