Luna Luna – Mobile Menstruation Care Site, 2.7% Of Japanese Women Pay, Now Goes U.S.

In Japan, paying for contents on cellphone web is so common. That supports unbelievable profit on social gaming networks Gree and Mobage-Town. Over 2% of population purchase weather forecast on cellphone with 105 yen or more, which I recently wrote for The Japan Times, is also a good example.

There is another successful, interesting cellphone paid service. But their success is not so well recognized even by Japanese tech-savvy people. Probably the category of the site is off center from interests of people in this male-centric industry.

The service name is Luna Luna [J] (Caution: this PC page will sing), which calls itself as a “mobile site for women”. The site takes information many women need, menstruation and contraception care with a lot of guides/Q&A/columns around women’s physiology.

The cellphone site, which is reachable from all major 3 Japanese cellphone carrier official portal, boasts 1.8 million registered users. Amazing thing is that all of the 1.8 million members are paid subscribers, who pay 180-189 yen(depends on carrier) each month.

Luna Luna mobile site top

Two points amazes me, and probably you, too. One is its revenue. 1.8 million people paying 180 yen every month means that their monthly sales is at least 324 million yen (400,000 USD).

The other is how many of targeted people are paying for it. The population of Japan is 127 million, and 65.4 million of them are female [J]. So, 1.8 million female members occupies 2.75 % of all women, 1 in 40 at this point. As over 30% of all women are either too old or too young, they should not need such information, then the user ratio against population needing it is even higher, maybe about 4%?

History

  • 2001 Service began for KDDI au (The service name was “Lu-na”)
  • 2007 renamed to “Luna Luna – Female Medical Dictionary”, added Docomo and Softbank Mobile versions
  • 2008 half million users
  • 2008-11 Docomo iWidget support
  • 2009-08 1.0 million users
  • 2010-01 1.5 million users
  • 2010-10 1.8 million users

Heavy TV commercial

Using TV commercial to get users sounds so Web1.0 – 1990’s. However, on the carrier assisted Japanese cellphone web it is totally rational way, proved by Gree and Mobage-Town already. If your earning subscription fee increases more than you burn on TV, there are no reason to avoid such mass promotion.

Here is one of their commercial film featuring popular Japanese pop singer Ai Otsuka (iTunes),

Another one with doll rabbits,

(Luna Luna PC site [J] lets you watch them, too.)

New English version For U.S. market

Emboldened by the domestic triumph, Luna Luna company MTI Ltd. launched the English version of Luna Luna on iPhone for U.S. market on October 22nd. The price is $1.99

The English version Luna Luna have the following features transplanted from Japanese original;

  • Menstruation period and ovulation day prediction for fertilization/contraception
  • Biorhythm based indices of skin care, diet, beauty, health, etc.
  • Calendar to memo your conditions
  • Graph of your basal body temperature
  • Graph of your body weight
  • 4-digits pass code to lock the app

Although iPhone AppStore added the form of subscription model, their users get used to one-time purchase. The price of Luna Luna iPhone version is almost same as one month fee for its original Japanese cellphone version, which means that they can only earn very small amount even if the U.S. users like it and keep using for years.

24 yo Woman Broadcasts Her Death Leap

Stickam Japan is a personal video streaming service, a Japanese version of US Stickam.com, which is said to be owned by Japanese.

Today on Stickam Japan, a girl whose handle is _mextli attempted suicide by jumping off her balcony, the 4th floor of apartment, during her live videostream, some watchers wrote on 2 channel BBS.

stickam-jp-suicide-mextli-face

It seemed to happen around midnight November 28th Japan Time, police officers visit was watched by the program watcher net-users and reported on 2 channel. Those officers read up her farewell note and gave some sentiment in front of the webcam without noticing they were broadcasted, one watcher had recorded and uploaded that part on YouTube.

2 channel logs were summarized [J] on few 2 channel summary blogs and became buzzword among Japanese twitter users. No traditional media have reported on this yet at 5 a.m. Some 2 channel users wrote that she broadcasted slashing her wrist before on the same site and someone called police.

It is still unknown how she is. It is still possible that it is fake to get attention (I hope so).

There was another suicide attempt broadcast on NicoNico Nama Housou, popular movie site NicoNico Douga’s sub service for users livestream. Another girl cut her wrist a little on live [J], later she confessed that it was fake and the blood was red food colouring.

See Also:

Florida teen Abraham Biggs commits suicide broadcast online via webcam

Pu-pe Girl/Poupeegirl – Online Dress-up-doll Community

pupe-girl-english-logo

Pu-pe Girl is a fast-rising Japanese social community site targeting females, currently 99% of its users are women. The
social network is for a certain speciality, having barbie-like dress-up avatar of your own. Pu-pe Girl is a 100% subsidiary of CyberAgent, one of the biggest Japanese web conglomerates.

pupe-avatars

Luckily, and exceptional for a web service managed under CyberAgent group, the service was internationalized in English from its early stage, and 35% of its 300,000 registered users are now from overseas. 13% from English speaking countries, Portuguese 7%, Spanish 6%, Chinese 4% and German 2%.

For the English menu, it seems that they changed its original spelling from “Pu-Pe Girl” to “Poupeegirl”.

pupe-english-mypage

300,000 users some of which are loyal paid users only in two years since its establishment in February 2007 is pretty impressive, as their targeted sector holds not many heavy internet users.

On the site, you are supposed to decorate your avatar with a lot of given/sold apparel items and accessories.

What makes Pu-pe Girl unique and has been fascinating adult working-aged women is the method how you get new items. Pu-pe Girl asks you to work on your real clothes, shoes and jewellery. To get a random item and/or virtual points “Pu-pe Ribbon”, you need to take pictures and send them to the system. The pictures seem to be manually processed by pu-pe staff to avoid cheating with invalid photos.

pupe-exchange-photo-and-items

The company has been collecting over 10 million fashion item photos with adding 30,000 every day. That would be great marketing data as many of those photos are tagged by users with brand names already, and also known who owned it and who else similar users like it.

With the ribbons, you may purchase items at virtual shops, buy/exchange at virtual flea market. There are even a price variation tracking fan site to know appropriate ribbons for new/unknown items.

Every day, users can take a snapshot of their avatar’s fashion. You can see your friend’s (avatars’) fashion. You can also apply to contests for more ribbons!

I heard about Pu-Pe reputation from some female bloggers and had thought this must be an interesting service which will work worldwide. Then, when Christine Yang, Chili Seed visited Tokyo, she named Pu-Pe specifically she would like to visit, by knowing some enthusiastic users in Taiwan. Thank you Christine, also thanks to Naoko Tsubaki [J], COO of Cybozu.net who arranged our interview for Pu-Pe CEO Kamiyo Morinaga.

See Also:

Pu-pe Girl release : number of users exceeded 300,000 (2009-03-27)

English Poupeegirl community on Livejournal

Poupeegirl FAQ

BBWatch interview to CEO Morinaga and Internet Watch CEO interview [J]

(proofread by Sean O’Hagan)