Senator and Presidential-hopeful John McCain is traveling to Colombia this week to discuss shared values and trade relations, but also to court the Hispanic vote. These issues have an impact on many Americans, but are of particular interest to the approximately 2.16 million Colombians that live in the United States and 1.8 million who live in other Latin American countries.
And how do Colombians, especially those in the United States and other countries, stay current with the latest news from home? The answer is over the web and, increasingly, via their mobile device. In Colombia, 33.5 million people, or 78 percent of the population subscribe to mobile services, compared to the only 10 million Internet subscribers in country.
We at Crisp Wireless have recognized this huge market potential and recently announced the launch of EL TIEMPO, the first Latin American mobile WAP news site that reaches Spanish speakers worldwide at http://m.eltiempo.com. El Tiempo is the highest circulation daily newspaper in Colombia and the only non-tabloid daily with national distribution.
According to Pyramid Research, the mobile market in Latin America will triple in revenue by 2011, representing a terrific opportunity to publishers seeking to reach this growing market. We at Crisp Wireless are geared up and prepared to be your experienced partner in international growth.
What exactly will be the nature of mobile search in the future? How will technology enable people to conveniently search and retrieve relevant information from the touch of a button from their mobile handset (be it an iPhone, Blackberry or some other smart device)? Say, you are visiting the Grand Canyon or the Empire State Building for the first time and you want to know the history of the site or the building, wouldn't it be nice to point your phone, snap a picture and do a search on the building and get your answers instantaneously. This type of sophisticated search is not far in the future.
A number of companies are looking into capitalizing the new wave of mobile search. For instance Microsoft is working on software called Lincoln that, once downloaded into phones, will allow people to access online movie reviews by just snapping pictures of movie posters, DVD covers, or from an advertisement on a magazine or displayed on the side of buses.
But Microsoft is not alone. There are other players in the market. Kooaba and SnapTell services allows you to point to a real-world object, snap it and send pictures to their servers that will return results relevant to the context of the object.
This technology is not only useful for consumers but also a boon to advertisers who intend to promote products or services through this untouched medium. For publishers it is a great way to measure how readers engage and interact with ads they see. This could be a data mine for advertisers to do further marketing.
There are others who are exploring ways to detect your location using your phone’s GPS location mapping functionality to serve you targeted content. For example, Sprint and Microsoft are teaming up to offer local maps, location of nearby retail outlets, post offices etc based on your location (assuming you carry a GPS capable phone). GeoPedia uses your iPhone’s positional data to find your approx location and then sends wikipedia articles about points of interest around you at that moment. More sites are looking to integrate localized information with social networking capabilities. GyPSii’s WebTop uses GPS, user generated content, photo and video sharing to instantly connect and track people anywhere in the world. Yahoo’s oneSearch allows you to speak your query as you would type in a search box and get relevant results.
Personally I believe that we only just started to scratch the surface of the mobile search technology. Keep reading to stay on top of what’s next in mobile.
On the way back from CTIA this year, I read a great blog post on MobileStance called Mobile Publishers Dance with the Ad Networks, which inherently summed up the complexities in the mobile advertising space. The beginning of any new market is exciting and even as fans of mobile advertising we can all agree there is some confusion and much waiting.
Crisp has always served the premium brand publisher to create an attractive and robust mobile presence that scales and easily integrates into an ad network of the publisher’s choice to help monetize. Pretty simple business proposition, right? If only. The industry as a whole lacks standards and I’m not just talking about banner sizes. For example, it would be great if everyone could synchronize the bot filter lists on a monthly basis so that we’re all working off the same page. But, this is only the tip of the iceberg.
I recently counted and found sixteen established, as well as newly funded ad networks, and I hear the song “Lost in the SuperMarket” by The Clash play in my head every time when I think about the abundance of choices. If I were a publisher, I assume I would like to sell some of my own inventory if I could, in which case I need only a basic ad server solution and then give the rest to an ad network to sell on my behalf. To a certain degree my choices are limited if I want to ad serve on-deck. Verizon and Sprint (and I’m sure AT&T will follow suit) require enablements with their selected partners. So, my choices then become about whether or not I want an ad network which will focus on premium placement or will serve the remnant market. In either case, no one company can do a great job of selling the inventory and who can blame them? Just like the MobileStance article suggests, it is truly almost impossible to get an easy and comprehensive view to enable a media buyer to buy effectively.
Technical and Other Complexities
Crisp has long been involved in ad network integrations and has integrated with most major ad serving players in this mobile space. People can dumb down the integration to dropping in a snippet of code or urls into our pages and while we had hoped integration could be that easy that isn’t always the case. [Caveat: we have great ad network partnerships but I would like to point out general problems that we see for the better of the whole market.] What are some of the potential snags?
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