Word to the Wireless — Japan’s KDDI will launch a free mobile weblog system, dubbed Duoblog, for subscribers to its 3G WIN EZ Web service on 19 May. In a first from Japan cellcos, users can access and update these mobile blogs directly from their handset or PC through the KDDI Duogate portal. Duoblog sites will be fully customizable with backgrounds (skins), emoticons, images, and applications. Maybe your humble scribes here at WWJ should sign-up and join in the fun..?!? Overseas mobile sites like WinkSite and Hip-Top Nation (to name a few) already provide tools to create free moblogs (mobile blogs) or mobile editions of web logs that can be accessed worldwide from Web enabled cell phones, PDAs and PCs.
At press time, NTT DoCoMo spokesperson Tomoko Tsuda stated that the company has “no immediate plans” to launch a mobile blogging site. Vodafone Japan, too, is taking a wait-and-see attitude, saying they would “monitor market developments in this regard.”
So, for now, KDDI will be the only Japanese carrier offering blog benefits for mobile multi-taskers, and is already in the process of expanding their new mobile offering; from June, blogs will be divided into content categories for easier access including business and news; shopping and auctions; hobby and culture; events; etc. Is this yet another example, among a flurry of recent content and service offerings, that KDDI is pushing the youth envelope in Japan’s domestic market? Yes…
The Internet blogging community here is still small and relatively unsophisticated compared to the US where influential blogs are scrutinized by political poobahs and business execs. The Nihon Keizai Shimbun business daily estimates there are around 2 million Internet blog journals currently online in Japan.
Yahoo Japan, Jugem, Nifty Corp., Livedoor and Rakuten all maintain popular Internet blogging sites.
During the winter, Japanese Internet advertising company Cyber Agent launched a system to insert ads on blogs based on a variety of keywords similar to Google Ad Words and services from several other Internet ad agencies who have begun similar marketing services. The same revenue system should eventually migrate onto mobile blogs since ads are already routinely inserted into mobile mail magazines on sites like Xavel’s Girls Walker.
– Gail Nakada
Web Update 18 May:
Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications estimates at least 3.35 million bloggers currently online in Japan — though only around 950,000 update their sites monthly. A report newly released by the Ministry [ target="_blank">.PDF in Japanese] predicts the blogger count will increase to over seven million in the next two years with commercial services for blogs netting more than 137 billion yen in 2006.