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Kiip: A Win-Win for App Developers and Advertisers When winning isn't enough, Kiip offers mobile gamers real-world rewards for virtual triumphs--a win-win for developers and advertisers

By Jason Ankeny

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rewarding ExcellenceWith smartphone owners now downloading more than 2 billion mobile applications every month, the app store gold rush is in full swing. But precious few software developers are striking it rich. As of late last year, developers had published close to a million apps optimized for devices running Apple's iOS and Google's Android--but for every juggernaut, like Angry Birds, there are a multitude of mobile games that earn only a few thousand dollars over the course of their life cycle.

The problem is that consumers love playing mobile games, not paying for them. App search engine Chomp reports premium applications made up just 27 percent of Apple's App Store downloads in November 2011 and a mere 3 percent of downloads from Google's Android Market. That's why so many mobile developers are turning to in-game purchases--like virtual currency and weapons--to boost their fortunes. Others are relying on revenue derived via in-game banner ads.

Brian Wong believes there's a better way. Kiip, the San Francisco-based company the 20-year-old co-founded in 2010, eschews conventional mobile advertising formats in favor of offering real-world rewards for virtual achievements. For example, a gamer who successfully advances to the next level of play is rewarded with coupons and freebies from Kiip partners like Dr Pepper, Carl's Jr., 1-800-Flowers and Sephora. The solution also allows developers and advertisers to match higher-value rewards to higher-difficulty achievements, driving gamer engagement.