Over the past few months, we here at ReadWriteWeb have been hard at work putting together our upcoming premium report on marketing in the augmented reality (AR) space. From our research we've discovered that for several years, desktop "webcam AR" developers have made created multi-million dollar businesses while the younger "mobile AR" companies have yet to really break the bank. Today, however, Dutch mobile AR company Layar may change the mobile AR landscape, as it has announced it will allow developers of AR layers to monetize their creations on the Layar platform.

Of the major mobile AR browsers, Layar, available now on Android phones and making an anticipated return to the iPhone later this month, has the widest selection of content to browse through. In a press release today, the company boasts 375 active layers, 1200 layers in development, and over 1 million users of its application.

Previously, businesses could create their own layer and place it in the free Layar directory; now those same business can reap the commercial benefits of augmented reality. When the service launches in March, Android users will be able to purchase layers from directly within the Layar application, and the iPhone version will likely make use of the in-app purchase function.

"Layar will facilitate global mobile payment processing and distribution in all currencies," the company announced today. "Producers can fully focus on content - without having to worry about mass market distribution, developing for multiple mobile platforms, or financial administration."

Layar is not the first company to attract commercial AR content, but they are the first to create a platform for businesses to sell their content through Layar. In the past, Layar and other AR browsers like Wikitude and acrossair have provided commercial content on their browsers, but now businesses can put a price tag on their content at the individual level, not just on partnerships with the browsers.

Layar also announced today that the company had boosted its capital, raising $3.4 million in funding from Sunstone Capital and Prime Technology Ventures. Just as Apple created the App Store ecosystem on the iPhone, Layar will be providing an opportunity for businesses small and large to take advantage of its rapidly growing AR platform.