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Mochi Media puts ads, analytics in Flash games

It's like Google AdWords and Analytics for Flash games. Very smart.

Mochi Media today is publicly launching a toolkit that serves ads in Flash games and also collects analytics. Since Flash games can spread across the Web rapidly and without the blessing of their designers, having some way to make the games phone home to developers, and send money back while they're at it, is a great idea and killer business model.

The big part of today's public release of the product is the ad network, MochiAds. Mochi Media sells image ads--splashy brand-building ads, not buy-me-now clickthrough drivers--to its own ad base at a $5.00 CPM (cost per thousand impressions). Customers so far include Wrigleys, Red Bull, and RockYou. Game developers get half of the revenue from ads, and getting the ads in their games is supposed to be a very simple programming addition. That's what CEO Jameson Hsu told me, but I don't program in Flash.

The advantage, compared to licensing a game to sites to host it, is that once a programmer embeds the ad engine in a game, no matter where the game ends up, the developer stands to make money from it. Even if the game is stolen, even if it runs on a site surrounded by other HTML ads, the ad can still play in-game. You can see a demo of the ad insertion technology on these Flash games.

Mochi's system only plays once per gameplay session, and generally between levels or during loading, so it's not too terribly invasive. Ads are also targeted, by game category (Ford can put ads on driving games) and by location, based on IP address.

Find out what your Flash apps are doing when they leave home. Mochi Media

The company is also helping Flash game developers get smarter about how their their programs are used. The new MochiBot module collects data from Flash apps, much like Google Analytics collects data from Web sites. In addition to reporting on time and physical location for game sessions, MochiBot can tell you where games are being hosted, and it can report analytics from in-game data, like levels completed.

Hsu came to this business model after developing Flash games on contract for big brands. "People used to pay us $125,000 or $150,000 to develop games, and we couldn't guarantee success. With this [MochiAds], you know you're going to get eyeballs." I have not been able to find a competing Flash game ad or analytics service, which surprised me. Given the rapid uptake in these games and the speed with which they spread on the Web, this business appears to be a no-brainer.