MHub: mobile websites in minutes
Local site MHub wants to make it almost effortless for companies to create their own websites for mobile devices. By Craig Wilson.
Start-up website builder MHub wants to allow SA businesses to create a mobile site for their company in minutes so that they can harness the growing number of consumers who use their handsets to look for restaurants, hotels, plumbers or hairdressers.
Founder Shaun Trennery is also the founder and chief technology officer of listings platform SAFindIt and says MHub was started as a “labour of love” during his spare time.
Users looking to set up a mobile website start by searching for their business using MHub. This search leverages SAFindIt’s application programming interface so that if there is existing information about the company in SAFindIt’s 300 000 listings, it can be dynamically pulled into MHub to streamline the process of creating a mobi site.
The service, which went live on Tuesday, requires users to create a URL that starts “mhub.co.za/” but Trennery says users will soon be able to use custom URLs or create automatic redirects from their existing website addresses.
He says he is also working on a WordPress plug-in to provide automatic redirection functionality to users of the platform, alongside a help page on MHub that explains the process of creating a redirect for different sorts of sites.
Trennery says there are a couple of international competitor services but that most look at creating applications or application wrappers for websites rather than dedicated mobile websites.
Google’s Woza Online project, which makes it possible to create traditional websites for businesses, isn’t a direct competitor, according to Trennery, because it doesn’t work for mobile sites. He says the Woza Online initiative is an “excellent and important” one and that he is investigating how MHub might be able to work with it.
There are no plans as yet to monetise MHub, but Trennery says this may be re-evaluated in a few months once the service is more established.
He says he has been hard at work over the past 18 months to grow SAFindIt’s listings and that MHub is just one of a number of products the company is working on to use this information.
“We want to aggregate mapping information, Instagram images, mentions of places and businesses and enrich the functionality of the application programming interface around that.”
In addition to MHub, Trennery has been involved with building two rewards platforms linked to SAFindIt. The first, Locl, is a mobile application that lists promotions and rewards at local stores and restaurants.
The second, SharksFrenzy, is tied to the Sharks rugby team and provides a similar offering to Locl but also includes specials tied to game days and instant rewards at home matches. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media