Mobile

Following scandal, Offerpal changes name to Tapjoy

When a startup changes its name, there is something good about the new name and something bad about the old one. That’s the case with Offerpal Media, the social monetization company, which is changing its name to Tapjoy today.

Offerpal bought mobile monetization firm Tapjoy back in March, but now the little fish has swallowed the big one. Tapjoy specializes in monetizing mobile apps, a business that is growing faster than Offerpal’s core business of monetizing social games through special ads known as offers, said Mihir Shah, the new chief executive of the company, in an interview. Tapjoy is now generating 250,000 transactions a day on Apple’s iPhone (iOS) platform.

“It reflects our change in emphasis,” he said. “Our business is broader than the name Offerpal suggests.”

Shah acknowledges that Offerpal’s good name got tarnished last fall in “ScamVille,” when the company’s sleazy offers tricked users with deceptive advertising. With offers, users fill out a survey or subscribe to Netflix in lieu of making a credit card payment for virtual goods in games such as FarmVille on Facebook.

Shah became chief executive last month, replacing George Garrick, who is staying on as chairman of Offerpal. Garrick replaced founding CEO Anu Shukla, who left the top job a year ago in the midst of the offer scandal. Shah said that Offerpal’s name was hurt not only by the scandal, but by the way it initially handled the problem (in a very combative way). Shah didn’t spell it out, but the comment was a clear reference to Shukla’s abrasive reaction to criticism.

Shah said he pushed to change the company name after he became CEO. He is also relocating the company’s headquarters from Fremont, Calif., to San Francisco to be closer to the company’s key customers. The company will keep its office in Fremont.

The company has put the scandal far behind it, cleaning up its act and winning even more offer business, Shah said. But the growth part of the company is Tapjoy, which expands the company’s reach into mobile. As an example, Shah pointed to the company’s relationship with Digital Chocolate, the mobile and social company run by game veteran Trip Hawkins.

The Offerpal side of the business helps Digital Chocolate make money from its Facebook game players, who use the alternative payment offers to buy more goods in Digital Chocolate’s games than they otherwise would. Mobile app developers can use Tapjoy’s software development kit to distribute apps more broadly and make more money from mobile apps. The library includes a built-in pay-per-install feature, a distribution program that requires the developer to pay for a user only if that user installs the application. That business has grown dramatically on the iPhone and Android platforms, generating as many as 100,000 installs per day for a single app. Tapjoy is so successful that it is now used in a third of the top 50 apps on the iPhone, Shah said.

In July, Offerpal also launched its SocialKast suite of products to give web developers the ability to snare and recapture users across multiple platforms. Digital Chocolate uses that platform as well to expand its reach across the web. Altogether, Shah says the company will maintain three businesses: web and social monetization through offers, mobile monetization, and cross-platform distribution through SocialKast.

Rivals in offers include TrialPay and Super Rewards (owned by Adknowledge), while mobile rivals include Google’s AdMob and Flurry.


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