I spoke to George Linardos, director of experience for Forum Nokia (NYSE:NOK) , about the new Mosh service which is currently in private beta. The main point to come out of the conversation is what Nokia (NYSE: NOK) intends with Mosh: “It’s intended as a distribution channel first and foremost, we’ve gone back and forth at different points, is it a social network?” said Linardos. “Really it’s intended to be a distribution channel for user-generated content.”
The idea came at the end of 2006 when Nokia noticed that of the 3.2 million developers in its Forum Nokia community, around 87 percent fell into the prosumer category, meaning they develop content as well as use it. In January they started development in earnest and got the alpha version up in 94 days. “Mosh is intended as this channel for the developer community, and it’s set up to stand alone in a way and be a tool for that community,” said Linardos. “It’s definitely not the definitive service play for Nokia in that way.” Mosh is more of a way to distribute long-tail content than a social network, although it incorporates features of the latter.
Social Aspects: Mosh allows people to share content and “collect” other people’s content, which basically involves saving it in your folder. You can rate items (love it or hate it) and leave comments — this is not just a way to rank how much you like something but a way to comment back on whether an application works or not. You can also filter the content so you only see what is compatible for your handset (although if you look at the site online you probably want to see everything).
Distribution Network: Mosh is not intended as a way to commercialize content, Nokia has plenty of other ways to do that. However, Nokia does plan to have the site be ad-supported some time in October, and also plans for the top-tier publishers to share in that revenue at the end of the year. As well as audio, images and video Mosh also lets people share documents, games and applications — for all handsets, not just Nokia ones. Nokia relies on the ranking system for quality control, but does screen everything uploaded for viruses. Nokia also plans a state-of-the-art system for preventing copyright-infringing activity being uploaded, although Linardos wouldn’t give any details as to what that will entail but only promised it would be up “very shortly”. For the moment Nokia relies on take-down notices for illegal content, as well as for adult material. Nokia is also looking at ways to allow users of the site to sign applications they upload.
“We’re opening things up for people that really haven’t had a channel, and sure there’s risks in that,” said Linardos, “but we’re letting people have a voice that haven’t had a voice.”