Chartboost expands offerings with public Kiosk program

Mobile game cross-promotion service Chartboost is expanding its advertising trading system with a new program called Kiosk.  Described as a “public profile tool” by Chartboost’s co-founder and CEO Maria Alegre, Kiosk allows Chartboost advertisers to work with developers outside the Chartboost network.

The company is unveiling the product by announcing Kiosk’s first partnership with Sequoia Capital and Redpoint Ventures-backed Pocket Gems.  The Pocket Gems Kiosk program offers developers up to $50,000 in revenue, based on number of installs driven. In addition, Pocket Gems is promising every developer that signs up within the next 30 days 1 million free advertising impressions for their own titles in Pocket Gems’ games after they have delivered $10,000 worth of installs.

“The Kiosk is the natural evolution of our direct-deals marketplace,” explains Alegre. “We have built a closed marketplace where game developers with enough volume to do direct deals can find each other in a ‘social-network-like’ environment. However, some advertisers, with Pocket Gems leading the way, want access to a wider audience than just the game developers in our network and are opening up their profiles to the world.”

The Pocket Gems Kiosk is an interesting option for smaller developers. Described as a “fast-track” version of Chartboost’s existing direct deals system, designed specifically to appeal to independent developers, the service provides access to well-funded advertisers but skips network fees. It also holds the promise of free advertising, which is particularly appealing to independents without large marketing budgets. The trade isn’t symmetrical; independent developers in the Kiosk program are paid based on how many installs they deliver to Pocket Gems, and the advertising they are able to earn in exchange is based on impressions.

For Pocket Gems, the benefits are obvious. The company, which has seen the performance of its games decline as competition in the App Store heats up, will be able to advertise to users outside its standard networks. The Pocket Gems Kiosk will also help the company expand its advertising reach on Android. At last month’s Inside Social Apps conference, Pocket Gems’ COO Ben Liu complained that his company wanted to buy more advertising on Android, but the inventory simply wasn’t there. Pocket Gems tells us it won’t place any limits on the number of developers that wish to sign up for its Kiosk program.

Although Chartboost hasn’t announced any additional partners for its Kiosk program, it has revealed additional advertisers will be able sign up for the service in the near future.

Like Chartboost’s earlier deal with TinyCo, the company isn’t taking a cut of any earnings a developer might pick up through the Pocket Gems Kiosk, but it does help the growing cross-promotion service attract developers. Although Alegre did not share how many developers are currently in the Chartboost network, the company’s ads are now seen in more than 1,500 apps. That’s up from the 1,000 it reported in February when the company announced it was expanding to Android.

Chartboost, which markets itself and its direct advertising trades as a cheaper alternative to traditional ad networks, recently launched its platform in Japanese, Korean and Mandarin. The company is backed with $2 million in Series A funding from Translink Capital and XG Ventures.