Saturday, December 23, 2006

Off to Worcester for some R 'n R

I'll be puterless and broadbandless for the best part of a week so I won't be blogging over the next few days whilst I get fed and watered in return for doing a bit of washing up.

Just wanted to wish all my friends, readers and fellow bloggers and mobilists a wonderful Christmas and a happy and successful New Year.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Rok's been busy launching Ansanow

Not only are they doing off-portal mobile telly but they've also just launched Ansanow which is an interesting departure for them I have to say. It's kinda like 82ask or AQA but costs half the price at 50p. You text in your question to 83773 and their system will check if it has been answered before and if not, it will call on a pool of experts to answer the question for you. If you're one of the experts, you get 10p when your answer is used and it's added to the pool of answers. Then each time that answer is used, you get 5p so if you hit on a popular question, then you're [potentially] quids in.

There's been some debate about the relevance of these services with the advent of google and the mobile internet. I suppose the big difference is that 82ask (where you text your question to 82275), at least, has access to a load of paid-for information services that you just don't get access to on google or ansanow for that matter (AFAIK) so you can ask business questions about market share, financial results and so on. It also has a permanent team on the case who do this day in day out and now have solid experience in how to answer a difficult question in a text message. And anyway, if you're in the pub, and desperately need to know something, do you really want to be googling on your phone when you can just do it by text and carry on with your beer and your conversation?

Webby's go mobile

I was lucky enough to head over to the Webby's launch party at the ICA last week with the best of London's digerati and had a great time. I had been wondering, however, why I and a few other mobile types had been invited to the bash.

And then it all became clear when they announced there are 3 mobile categories this year for best mobile site that sell products and services: listings and updates, news and entertainment and the mobile marketplace. These are all sponsored by dotmobi.

You'd best be quick though if you want to enter - the deadline is this Friday 15th December and you can enter online and it costs USD 245 to enter a mobile site (with discounts for certain kinds of entrants) and looks like a fairly straightforward process.

Good luck!

Ever wondered about how to use myspace for promoting stuff?

Then wonder no more as James has set it all out for you in 10 easy 'how to's'. Not sure these steps are all entirely legal (graffiti for instance) or what Mr and Mrs Grumpy in Grimsby might have to say about it. Nevertheless, it's worth a read and following on from that thread to read about Jame's Shoreditch MySpace experiment (- my computer's being a bit slow tonight otherwise I'd give you the link for that too..) which is a fascinating glimpse into myspace world.

What will mobile TV advertising look like?

Well, according to Ovum, NRK (The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation) and Ericsson in are running a trial to answer that very question. They already have a track record in successful collaborations so this bodes well.

They plan to experiment with all formats - video, banners, links, ticker texts, branded content as well as targeting according to age, gender, personal interests and location. So I wonder if they'll manage to work out that it's context not just location that matters when it comes to location based services - i.e. if I'm in Soho on a Tuesday morning, the chances are, I'm on my way to a meeting. If I'm there on a Friday evening, the chances are I'm having drinks or dinner with friends.

Definitely one to watch to see what results we see and what impact that has on the rest of the industry.

FT attracts youth with text campaign

Another one from Brand Republic... the Financial Times is running a campaign offering free copies of the paper via mobile phone vouchers in newsagent chain Martin McColl (in SE England). The vouchers are being promoted in-store and also text message (does this mean they've used bought in lists I wonder?). The FT is particularly keen to attract a younger readership.

If you accept the voucher, available via text message, you can get a free copy of the paper for two weeks. The voucher is validated through mobile phone top-up terminals and via e-pay.

This sounds great. Unfortunately, I don't have a Martin McColl newsagent anywhere nearby. So if any reader does pop by one of these newsagents, would they mind trying out the campaign and letting me know how it works please?

Neomedia sells off its subsidiaries

Neomedia's tackling its financial problems by selling off all its subsidiaries and focussing on its core product, Qode. They've already sold Sponge back to its founders and now they've sold off Mobot too and will be selling the micro paint repair company.

Coca Cola ventures into branding on mobile

According to Brand Republic, Coca Cola is using mobile for the first time in a branding campaign as opposed to sales promotion. It's tying in with a seasonal Christmas theme and is being promoted on UK network operator 3 and also on the Coke Christmas microsite. I wonder if they're also going to try Admob? It's not actually live yet, so it remains to be seen*exactly* what the mechanic is, but it looks to me like they're going to offer you the chance to send your loved ones Coke branded messages to their mobile via the massive screens in Piccadilly Circus in London. Should be good. Goes live on Wednesday 13th.

Mobile news feeds from the BBC

Just wading through my email and spotted this from our friends at BBC Backstage (who hosted a great party on Saturday night). They're offering, literally, hundreds of very specific news and sports feeds for mobile and explain in relatively plain English how you use them via a mobile RSS reader. So if you want to get the news from the BBC on your mobile, then check it out.

They also want to hear from people who have created sites or services using the BBC's mobile feeds. So if you've seen, heard or created anything interesting, then get in touch with Lucie McLean.

Monday, December 04, 2006

It's Christmas and turkeys have gone mobile!

In case you hadn't noticed, it's the festive season and as part of the festivities, the UK National Farmer's Union has put a website together to help you choose and cook your Christmas turkey at their site UK Turkeys. And if that's not enough, they've also got some freebies on offer including not one, but two free Christmas turkey gobbling ringtones with a little help from their friends at mobiq. Go gobble yourself a ringtone today!

Qipit and Shozu team up

I'm just catching up on my email from the last couple of weeks and spotted this nugget from the folks at Shozu. They've teamed up with Qipit which seems like a fantastic service (caveat, I haven't tried it yet myself but it *looks* great).

It's dead simple. You take a picture of your document with a digital camera or a cameraphone, you upload it to Qipit (with one click from your phone now that Shozu is integrated) and it turns the jpg into a user friendly pdf file which is emailed to you and you can share, print, store, whatever.

Sounds like a good way to back up documents electronically to me that didn't come in an electronic format in the first place (insurance, finance, contracts) and also to keep hold of meeting notes from whiteboards and the like. And what's more, the basic service is free.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

It's been a week for mobile awards...

It's mobile awards central at the moment with both the Mobile Marketing Awards and the Forum Nokia Awards announced on the same day.

Entry to the awards was open to the 400 members of the Forum Nokia PRO developer community, which range from start-up companies to established players.

The 2006 award winners were in six application categories - Games, Music, Imaging, Productivity, Enterprise and Branded Content - as well as 'Developer of the Year' and 'Innovator of the Year'.

The full list of winners of the 2006 Awards runs as follows:

Best Game Application: The Silhouette Game - Telcogames (UK)
Best Enterprise Application: ColorCAM(TM) - ColorZip (Singapore)
Best Imaging Application: WOWPix - Reallusion (US)
Best Music Application: MobiRadio - Idetic (US)
Best Productivity Application: SNAPin Self Service - SNAPin Software (US)
Best Branded Content Application: ShoZu - Cognima (UK)
Developer of the Year: Refresh Mobile - Mobizines
Innovator of the Year: SNAPin Software - SNAPin Self Service

As for the Mobile Marketing Awards, I was lucky enough to go along and join the proceedings at Congress House in London's West End. There were a *lot* of awards...

Best use of mobile in customer acquisition: Peugeot 207 campaign by Marvellous
Best use of mobile in CRM: O2's 'yes please' campaign by Archibald Ingall Stretton
Best use of mobile in brand building: Robinson's 'Winbledon' campaign by Enpocket
Best example of mobile in customer service: TFL's 'Safer Travel at Night' service by Incentivated (a most worthy winner IMHO for the tangible results it has achieved)
Best new offering from a mobile services provider: Get Close to the Sugababes by Endemol
Most innovative use of mobile in marketing: Sony PS24 by 20/20 London
Mobile as a b2b tool: adidas Taylor Made by Sponge (there were no other shortlisted entrants for this category - nevertheless, it's a good campaign and deserved to win)
Best use of mobile and branded content: Vodafone Live Music by Enpocket (now forgive my cynicism, but isn't this just a rehash of T-Mobile's successful Streetgigs from 2005/6?)
Best use of mobile as part of an integrated campaign - NSPCC 'Speechless' by Angel
Best first-time advertiser on mobile: Canon's sponsorship of 3's WorldCup video by 4th Screen
Best insight and research into mobile: NSPCC 'Speechless' by Angel
Best use of mobile in events: O2 Wireless festival by MIG and O2
The MMA Outstanding Merit Award: Enpocket
The Grand Prix Award: Peugeot 207 by Marvellous

Interested in emerging trends in mobile?

Then you could do a lot worse than check out the new FREE monthly information service, et, from the lovely folks at W2forum. You get a monthly powerpoint briefing of the latest technology and trends in the mobile industry - this month's can be downloaded here.

In this first issue of et, you can find out about QR codes, see how a new technology recognises the end credits of a TV show and directs you to its mobile site, watch a commercial for RFID credit card phones in Japan and discover a new service that's a cross between Google Maps and Shozu.

To subscribe to receive future infopack by email every month, just send a blank email to etsubscribe [at] worldforumgroup [dot] com (remove the bits there that you don't need). They won't pass on your email to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any time. It's well worth a read.

TextAid with Tom Baker

BT is supporting homeless charity Shelter in its 40th anniversary year with a campaign called 'Text Aid'. As part of the campaign, they've brought back the legendary and hugely popular former Dr Who, Tom Baker to voice their text to landline service. Customers who send a text to a landline will have their message read out by Tom Baker and BT will also donate 2p from every message sent to Shelter. You can also customise your messages with 'Jinglez' or include an exclusive Tom Baker audio file from a selection here. So what better way to send a Christmas greeting than have Dr Who say it for you.

Not only that, but BT has created a whole new beat combo by bringing together Tom Baker and 1960s pop icons, The Kinks and recorded a new version of the band's number 1 'You Really Got Me' and it's all for charity. You can hear a preview and preorder the track at TextAid. The tune will be on sale officially on 7Digital, itunes and emusic from 18 December. The plan is to raise at least £100k for Shelter over the Christmas period.

I should add that the service doesn't work if you sent to a landline in Eire or if you send a text from a T-Mobile phone (why on earth not when they were one of the first, if not *the* first network to offer it??). You can still text from a T-Mobile phone but you get the standard voice service which is frankly pretty weird and don't get to play with Tom Baker's voice which is a real pity. Come on T-Mobile - sort it out!

Friday, November 24, 2006

I went into the woods last night

Well, to be more precise, I didn't go wandering off into a forest in the dead of night. I went to the launch of the Into the Woods collection at the Digital Wellbeing Labs in the fabulous Bluebird store on the Kings Road with Lesley from Mixipix. I saw all kinds of things from USB memory sticks made from twigs, a visual thesaurus, wooden digital clocks, both standard and cuckoo clock stylee, virtual graffiti, a wooden robot vacuum cleaner and my favourite, the wooden creature speaker (pictured - the rose is optional!).

If you get chance, do go along and see the collection (and the shop at Bluebird is well worth a visit anyway. It's a fascinating mix of art meets digital meets lifestyle and well worth a look. Of course, you can also browse and buy online. Well done to Priya and her team for organising.

QR codes - A UK first from Emap's Kerrang?

It looks like Emap is trialling QR codes in Kerrang, one of its popular music magazines. I thought I'd give it a go and see what the download process is like as I don't have a copy of Kerrang handy. And actually, it's pretty fast and smooth. All good so far from Kaywa the tech company behind it.

At the same time as downloading, the wapsite gave me the option of entering a 'mobile profile' so I thought, why not? Anyway, that started out well and turned out to be very painful. It's a tiny screen with a tiny font so difficult to see. That aside, it was difficult navigating between check boxes (I couldn't tell where I was on the page) and then it kept asking me for the same information over and over again and then it botched what I'd already put in there and next thing I know my password is my family name and my mobile number is my country so I give up and escape. Still, I've got the application so that's ok I suppose.

Next, I try out the system from the Kaywa website and manage to get to google search and also download a free wallpaper... and it's *really* fast.

But there's a but. To use the system, you have to remember you have the application, find it buried somewhere amongst all the other stuff on your phone, open it, open the camera shutter (I have a Nokia N70), point the camera and then it reads it automatically. It would make a WORLD of difference if it operated like Shozu and was integrated into the camera. So as soon as you take a photo as normal, it picks up what it's looking at and connects to the app accordingly. Until that happens, it's going to be very difficult to get any kind of traction or critical mass as you're fundamentally trying to change behaviour and that either takes time or money or both.

Flickr goes mobile [again]

I use flickr *a lot*, not least because of the fantastically useful Shozu which integrates seamlessly with it. Moblog UK, when are you gonna get shozu'd? However, until now, I haven't been able to use flickr properly on my mobile phone as I have a yahoo login and not a flickr one (the yahoo one is newer and I changed it as per flickr's recommendations when yahoo took them over). It seems that has now all changed and you can use all functionality on flickr from your mobile. Just go to http://m.flickr.com and take it from there.

According to flickr, these are the top cameraphones used to upload pictures to the site.

Popular Cameraphones

% of members

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Casino Royale does mobile content via bluetooth

So I come out of the cinema on Saturday night having seen the fabulous Casino Royale with Sony's amazing product placement. I'm waiting for my pal who's in the ladies and spy this Hypertag system attached to the postcard stand in the upstairs lounge area offering free Casino Royale mobile content. Well, I'm definitely into Daniel Craig as James Bond now so thought I'd give it a go to see what I'd get... they give you step by step instructions

Step 1. Turn on bluetooth or infra-red
Step 2. Change your phone's name to Bond
Step 3. Point your phone at the box and wait for up to a minute to receive a message
Step 4. Get content.

Well, I actually know where my bluetooth is and even though it's a bit of a pain to change my phone name, I do it. I point my phone at the box. I wait for a bit and I get a message saying 'receive free Casino Royale content' or similar. I click yes to accept. The message disappears. This happens about 5 or 6 times before I give up. And I'm on a Nokia N70 and happily share bluetooth files between my pc and my phone and other phones for that matter. So I really don't understand why it's not working. And if it's not working, how many others is it not working for.

And it's not even been up very long because the film's only been out for a few days. And I didn't see anyone else giving it a go so I don't think the Hypertag system was clogged up with requests at the same time that I was trying...

Ho hum. I really want to believe that there is a future in bluetooth marketing but experiences like these make me feel that we're still some way away from it. Sod's law that I'm the one who found the dodgy system (I seem to *always* be the one to find a bug in a mobile campaign) or is this the general consumer experience for current versions of bluetooth content delivery?

What people want from their phones part 2 - voting by text

More from the BBC today about text voting (although I can't find the story on their website - I got it via email). They've just commissioned a survey and found out that voting by mobile in a general election would be more popular than voting on TV shows like Big Brother, I'm a Celebrity, X Factor (which is probably the biggest of the lot attracting more than 20m text votes in a series). I've talked about participation TV here before.

The results: Apparently 34% of UK adults who own a mobile phone, 34% said they'd be interested in voting by text in a general election, rising to 45% amongst the 25 to 34s. And in the same group, 30% of them currently on reality TV shows like Big Brother, Celebrity Come Dancing, X Factor et al. How things have moved on since this survey in 2002 where it was felt that text voting trivialised the process.

Will it happen? Text voting is currently being evaluated by the UK Government as part of its e-democracy proposals to reform voting in public ballots. But does that fact that people want this and that we have the technology mean we will get text voting in the short-term? I'd love to think that we would but, although not impossible, it would be incredibly complex to co-ordinate data securely to facilitate this, coupled with the fact that fraud is a problem too. For those who really want to fix the system, would they just steal people's phones, or hijack them, and claim their text vote instead? I don't know, maybe that's far-fetched, but the task required for m-democracy is not to be underestimated. After all, we're talking about dealing with millions of people here, 100s of phone types and operating systems yada yada yada.

Engaging young people. Interestingly, the BBC is using text voting to engage children in politics via their newsround TV programme which I think is brilliant. A recent example can be found here where they asked children if they'd like David Cameron or Gordon Brown to be Prime Minister.

Survey details. This latest BBC survey was gathered from 2,000 face to face interviews between 12 October and 1st November amongst UK adults (18+) and they found that mobile owners split into three distinct groups - light, medium and heavy users (not exactly rocket science, but useful to see the breakdown nevertheless).

Heavy users: Mostly 18 to 34s. They use 6 or more functions on their mobile device, with SMS/text messaging, taking photos, playing games, ringtones and browsing wapsites amongst the most popular activities.

Medium users: Use 2 or 3 functions - primarily calling, texting and taking photos.

Light users: Make up the largest group - 62% with more than half of those in the over 45s. And they just use their phone for voice and text (still, it's good to see text in there even with the light users although I can't imagine they use it much).

More on stats. If these stats look interesting to you, and they do to me, then you might want to head over to Mobhappy and check out these posts [1] [2]. I'm in the heavy user category, clearly, as are about a third of my friends, the rest of them falling into medium users. But if the largest group are light users, how do we migrate these people up the chain to become medium and then heavy users? The handsets *are* out there. So why isn't the usage? Is it just a question of time, or have we (the industry) made some fundamental mistakes in communicating what this mobile thing is all about?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Quote of the day

"Success usually comes to those who are too busy to be looking for it"
Henry David Thoreau. More quotes from Mr Thoreau on wikiquote.

Best stay busy then...

Thanks to Marcus for sharing.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Want to know what people want from a 3G phone?

Then check out the BBC Forum on the topic here. It's a window into the minds of consumers, many of whom loathe mobile phones (and as such, more likely to be vociferous on a forum like that). It's well worth a read though.

There's another one here all about how we'll be consuming TV in the future. Also worth a look if you're interested in TV - mobile or otherwise. And judging by my recent traffic, mobile TV is a hot topic...

Carnival of the mobilists #54 is up at Golden Swamp

And Judy Breck's done a fine job of collating this weeks best of writing on mobile in the blogosphere. And I'm very happy to say that Musings of a Mobile Marketer gets a mention too for one of my recent posts on Mobile TV.

Go check out Judy's Carnival.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Nice job for a digital marketing manager going at MTV

I just spotted this job posting on Angel Gambino's blog describing a job opening for an experienced cross-platform digital marketing manager in London and Canada. Deadline for applications is November 22nd so you don't have long to apply if you're interested. Find out more here. I'm not entirely sure how you apply for the role as I can't see it on MTV's job noticeboard. I guess if you contact their human resources team, they'll tell you how.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

What does x-series mean for Mobile TV?

There was a rumour a few days ago about Three being up for sale which seems to have been scotched by this announcement. Three is first-mover with a consumer mobile broadband offering called x-series with a flat monthly fee. Services include Skype (although Carlo points out that it's not *actually* Skype on your phone), instant messaging (I wonder how they'll manage mass 'always on' as I understand the network capacity can't cope if too many are online all at the same time - perhaps someone technical can clarify that for me?), your PC where you are using Orb (although you can use Soonr or whatever if you have broadband) and viewing your home television wherever you are by incorporating slingbox. It sounds kinda like T-Mobile's web and walk product (which I use happily as it alleviates billshock) except that in the small print fair usage currently excludes VOIP and TV.

So what's the impact for Mobile TV then? There's lots of talk in the industry that 'made for mobile' is important due to the size of the screen, technology limitations, context of usage etc. However if streaming your home TV (sky, NTL, freeview or whatever) via slingbox is a 'good enough' experience that could negate the need for mobile TV per se as customers will have enough choice - certainly in the short term, and it doesn't cost them any extra assuming they're on an x-series account and they have already forked out for or don't mind forking out for a fancy slingbox.

Thoughts?

Sponge 1 Neomedia 0

Some of you may be aware by now that Neomedia has sold Sponge back to its founders for US$250k (official press release). The official line is that Neomedia wants to focus on its qode product (which is a QR code technology recently used in the One Water campaign). However, reading between the lines, it seems that Neomedia's share price has plunged leaving them unable to fulfil their contractual (and financial) obligations to complete the Sponge acquisition deal. Neomedia retains a 7.5% stake and Sponge's founder shareholders keep just over US$6m of the original purchase price. Seems to me that they've played a blinder and that the picture of a champagne bottle on their official news page is very telling ;)

Alex Meisl, founder and CEO of Sponge says, "Sponge is going from strength to strength - business has doubled since the beginning of the year in both the media and agency space." He continues, "We have also grown the team whilst remaining wedded to our belief of great products and great service." (That's good advice to *any* business IMHO)

The company will continue to be run by the existing management team.

Live Text Voting in Brighton

at the Brighton and Hove Web Awards at Fabrica courtesy of the Future Platforms team. Check out the video here.

Mega Christmas Bash 9th December

Ok, so I'm a bit late writing about this - what with being away in Budapest and busy with clients. Anyway, excuses to one side...

There's going to be a big Christmas Party being hosted by BBC Backstage at The Cuban Bar on Saturday 9th December in conjunction with Swedish Beers, London Girl Geekdinners, Geekdinners, London Perlmongers, London Webstandards Group, London Ruby User Group, Open Rights Group, London 2.0 , Mobile Mondays and London SEO.

It's already over-subscribed (we've got over 500 names so far) however, having run many a networking event, there is inevitably a drop-out rate so it's worth putting your name on the waiting list. I also think that some folks will come early and leave early and some will come along later and leave at closing time (1am). So we should be able to accommodate everyone with a bit of luck. For insurance purposes, I believe the venue needs a list of all names in advance so get your name on the list sooner rather than later.

Oh and if you're interested in sponsoring some drinks and or food at the event, please get in touch.

Mobile Services Christmas Guide

SmartTrust, the mobile device management company is putting together a guide to setting up your new phone in time for Christmas. As part of this guide, they'd like to include examples of different services that users can subscribe to as they initially configure their phone for use - be that music, ringtones, wallpapers, animations, games, voicemail, video, tv or whatever.

So, if you have an interesting consumer mobile service or application that you'd like to include then please let Jessica know by email at Noiseworks PR and include a user-friendly paragraph about the service, how to subscribe, and a phone number, website and/or wapsite (and if you have a mobile service you really *should* have a wapsite you know), where customers can go for more information. I'd also add in any costs (one-off, subscription or otherwise) for using the service. But that's my customer service hat going on as there's way too much billshock going on for my liking. But you'll have to be quick as the deadline is 23rd November. They can't guarantee that you will be included but will try to include as many as possible.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Interested in media and technology?

Yes? Then you might well be interested in Library House's forthcoming conference MediaTech 2.006 on 30th November at the wonderful Imax theatre. It promises to be a day where the innovators, the disruptors, the investors and the corporate players get together to talk about who will win and lose in tomorrow's world where media and technology collide. There are some great speakers lined up including fellow mobilist Russell Buckley of Admob. And by the end of the day, you'll hopefully have at least discussed, if not found the answers to
  • Which companies walk the walk in the collision of technology and media
  • Who is creating the future, creating value and how
  • What emerging business models are most likely to succeed (you might want to check out my post here on mobile business models)
  • How are upstart companies trying to exploit the industry disruption (I wonder if they are trying to exploit, or if that's just a by-product of being innovative and forward thinking?)
  • Where are investors, pioneers and incumbents engaging in partnership to everyone's advantage?
So quite a lot to address then in one day.

Library House is walking the talk, as they say, by inviting a guest panel of bloggers (me included) to get involved with the event. We've been asked to stir up a bit of a debate before and after the event with a view to feeding the panels with questions around what people out there regard as the issues of the day. So do comment here or drop me a line with your thoughts and I'll happily add them to the mix. Hot topics in my circle currently seem to be mobile TV, virtual reality, social media and where advertising fits in (or not) into this space. I'm also feeling some tension between the players in the web world and the mobile world but more on that another time.

We'll also be available during breaks to give delegates the opportunity to pitch ideas to us which we might just write about or chat about later in the wrap-up panel. It's a bit experimental, but that's ok. I enjoy improvisation! And then of course there's drinks and canapes afterwards.

And all this for a bargain £395 (+ VAT) including lunch, refreshments and the evening networking.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Carnival of the Mobilists update

I've been a bit lax in letting you know about each week's carnival of the mobilists so this is a bit of a catch up post.

So Carnival number 51 is at Tarek Speaks Mobile, 52 is at All About Symbian and 53 is at Enrique Ortiz's blog. Next week's is being edited by Judy Breck at Golden Swamp and links to every previous Carnival and the schedule for upcoming editions is over at mobili.st

If you have written an article about something mobile related, then please feel free to enter your article to the Carnival. You don't need a special invitation. FAQs and how to enter here.

Is it just a rumour..

..or will we hear tomorrow that 3 is exiting the UK? And if 3 *is* exiting the UK, what impact will that have on our early-stage mobile media industry? Looks like Vodafone could be interested in buying the assets (customers). More here too.

Watch this space as they say...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Nokia's Mobile TV Report just out

Following on from my post yesterday about Respond Mobile's launch of Rhythm TV, I spied a new report from Nokia (links to download here) about mobile TV and advertising which should make interesting reading for anyone remotely interested in this area.

Dr Shani Orgad from LSE (author of the report) believes that personalisation and interactivity (including user generated content or UGC) will be the drivers of Mobile TV and that it will lead to a more personal and private consumption of TV than current broadcast models. So this bodes very well for adult and erotic content on mobile;)

I'm not sure what the impact will be for advertisers. As Dr Orgad suggests, advertisers will have to think outside the box and be more subtle in their approach (which is my advice for pretty much any mobile campign). Mobile anything is about snacking and a few seconds can feel like an inordinately long time on a mobile phone. Don't ask me why, but maybe it's to do with the small screen and the context in which you're using the device - i.e. out and about and on the move rather than slumped on your sofa?

So I'm not sure how much tolerance there wil be to a 5 to 7 second advert, or indeed, how much an advertiser can get across in that minute amount of time. She also goes on to say that you need to create affinity between the consumer and the product. So that suggests contextual targeting, brand and relationship building and interactivity or as I wrote in a previous post "really understanding your consumers and your clients and matching them well together".

And what will mobile interactive TV be like? Does that go beyond UGC? Let's hope it's better than the red button stuff we have at the moment in the UK which is as slow as a tortoise pulling a fork lift truck (well at least on my tellybox it is.)

Best get your thinking cap on Mr Advertiser.

Do you like music?

Do you have or could you develop an eclectic taste in music? Then TunA theDay could be for you. It's a free, interactive, on-line community who love music and enjoy new musical experiences and probably don't take themselves too seriously. Oh, and it's run by my mate Ade. He's got big plans for the new year but in the mean time, you get an email every day with a bit of blurb, links to stuff and a link to Ade's myspace page (go on, add yourself as a friend) where you can hear the TunA the Day which could be anything from rock, jazz, soul, funk, indie to world or whatever music from today or yesteryear. It's all legal and above board too.

Interested? Then sign up for your daily email by sending an email to Big Ade tuna [at] hwandh [dot] co [dot] uk

You won't get spammed (that's just not Ade's stylee), you'll get to hear something interesting every day and you'll be the first to hear about new TunA when it arrives next year.

Mention my name in your sign up email so he knows how you heard about him. And don't forget to wish Ade a Happy Birthday today too. He's a *lot* older than me ;)

Monday, November 13, 2006

Double whammy

With Spinvox's Christina Domecq winning 'young entrepreneur of the year' award and Sarah McVittie collecting 82ask's award for Best use of technology at the Startups.co.uk Annual awards. It's a double whammy as not only as these both mobile companies, they're both headed up by women. Way to go girls!

If you're interested in the kinds of questions that 82ask receives and answers, then check out their new book "Do Sheep Shrink in the Rain". A perfect stocking-filler for Christmas (which scarily is only a few weeks away... where does the time go?!)

Videogaming and ARG

Mike Butcher has just contributed to the New Statesman on a series of articles about video games and alternate reality games. If you've been reading my bits and pieces about Second Life and virtual living, then it's well worth downloading the whole supplement as it's a really good read.

Respond Mobile launches made-for-mobile TV platform

We all know that, like it or not, online adult "erotic" content and services led to a lot of innovation and take-up of web services more generally. The same, it seems to me, is happening in mobile too. I think it's safe to say that men are more likely to upgrade their handsets and contracts to get adult mobile TV than women would for a QVC mobile shopping style channel or even a reality TV channel. We're just not *that* bothered to upgrade on the whole.

The good thing about adult mobile TV s is that it will accelerate acceptance and use of mobile TV across the board as the handsets and services will be out there which will help the industry as a whole. And let's face it, BT has been making its money for years from adult chatline services to it's a bit late to be anti this now. Like it or not, sex sells.

So as part of this mobile TV innovation, the team at Respond Mobile has launched the world's first dedicated multi-channel mobile TV delivery platform, Rhythm TV. The launch stations include 100% Babes and XXX TV, magazine style Candy Lounge, erotic dancing at Rhythm TV with other big names to be announced soon.

The Rhythm TV service includes some unique features suited to adult mobile TV such as fast forward, rewind and pause. Rhythm TV also allows viewers to restart the channel they were watching at the same place next time they view. The service also plays out in landscape mode on high end phones therefore utilising the full screen area giving and enhanced mobile TV experience. I think these features will be required on *any* mobile TV service, and not just adult.

As I'm not a mobile TV viewer (yet although I don't think it will be long before I am), I don't know how this functionality compares with the likes of Rok, Virgin Lobster, Sky or Vodafone. So if you *do* know, then please feel free to comment.

Mobile TV has great potential because you're not asking the customer to change their fundamental behaviour. If there's a button on the phone that says 'TV' and you press it and you can watch TV, then it's a whole lot easier than browsing wap, uploading/downloading applications, setting up shared messaging services and backing up your data. It's a very simple proposition which we all know and understand. I think it's just a question of timing and we always overestimate the change that will happen in 2 years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10 (with thanks to Bill Gates for the quote).

Update Tues 14 November 2006:
Nokia's just released a report on Mobile TV and its impact on consumers and advertisers which I've written about here.

Update Mon 20 November 2006: Good discussion on the impact of x-series on Mobile TV here.

Catch up on what's been happening in mobile...

World Telemedia in Budapest was fun. Didn't see much of the city but I did meet a lot of people, enjoyed a few drinks and presented a session on the Friday morning midst an audience of tired and hungover mobilists.

Whilst I was there, I didn't really have time to do email so I've come back to an inbox full of stuff which I'm just wading through now. So here are some quick links and excerpts to keep you going.
  • Experimental mobile-mentary is in production courtesy of film-maker Max Schleser. He's exploring Japanese cities through the lens of a mobile phone. With 30 one to three minute clips, he hopes these will be translated to the silver screen in 2007. Sneak previews will be presented at the Design Fiesta in Tokyo. Phase 2 of the project will see more use of user generated content. Watch this space...
  • Tocmags launches in the UK after a successful beta trial. Anyone can build a tocmag just by using their simple interface and adding pictures and text. During the trial, examples of use included several virtual business cards, travellers' logbooks (full of photos, video and commentary to send to friends and family at home), 'private' Tocmags exchanged between couples and even a weekly church newsletter. Via Brand Republic
  • According to IG Trend Central you may soon hear people saying "VM me" rather than "IM me". Veeker is a free video messaging service that enables you to shoot mobi-video and instantly share it with friends. Videos are sent directly to the Veeker site, where, similar to Flickr, the creator can opt to keep it private or to share with the Veeker community. The “Veeks” or “video peeks” can also be viewed in other blogging and social networking sites that accept their code
  • Similar to Dodgeball, Jaiku allows users to "connect with the people you care about". Users can share their real-time locations and view the presence streams of their friends: basically, the service enables users to know their friends’ whereabouts at all times and vice versa, so long as everyone participates and has a Nokia Series 60 phone. Sounds a bit like Buddyping to me.

[Note to self, must try these things out and review them properly...]

I'm an advocating inventor

well, according to PersonalDNA that is. I think the results are definitely consistent with how I'm feeling about myself right now.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Is "interestingness" patentable?

I'm in a mad rush to get to Budapest today but I just spotted this over at Alfie's blog and felt it was worth mentioning.

If you're a flickr regular (like me and Tom and Devi and Lloyd) then you'll know all about the different ranking systems flickr has to rate your photos and one ofthem is interestingness which, I'm guessing, is an algorithm based on number of views vs number/range/content of tags vs volume/content of comments.

Alfie has spotted that flickr is applying for a patent based on this 'interestingness' and wonders if it's the concept of 'interestingness' that's being patented or the algorithm. It seems to him, and I concur, that many social networking sites already use similar methodology to rank and order content and members within their community. So is it really patentable?

Thoughts?

I've been pobbed - before and after

CIMG0566


I've been pobbed

by Rowetta (yes she of the first X Factor series and backing singer to the Happy Mondays). She was ably supervised by Ben Cooke who is hairdresser to Victoria and David Beckham and invented the 'pob' which Posh now sports having had her hair extensions chopped off. Steve Strange was also in the session doing a girl called Latoya's hair into a pob.

I'm very pleased to say that not only was everyone lovely (we also met Sarah Cawood, Lee Stafford, Richard Fairbrass, Holly Aird, Janet Ginnings and Caprice) but Rowetta also did a fantastic job with the haircut and Ben finished it off with a super duper blowdry.

I came out of the beeb last night and went straight to my session at the Google offices for MoMo London to talk about top 10 trends in mobile marketing (which I'll write up when I have more time). I did manage to send some friends the odd MMS message and I shozu'd a few pix up to flickr as well.

And all this for Celebrity Scissorhands in aid of Children in Need. Go donate :)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What's happening mobile-wise in Korea?

If you want to know the answer, then you could do worse than going to the BBC and having a look at the programme and accompanying article from the BBC on uber-fast mobile data speeds and what you might use them for. This includes quite a bit about mobile TV and Wibro so if either of those are your bag, it's definitely worth a look. I'm not sure how long it will be up there, so catch it whilst it's still live.

Are you a digital pioneer?

Unfortunately, I'm too old to qualify but this looks like a great opportunity for someone to be sponsored to go to Hong Kong and be mentored along the way to grow and develop their entrepreneurial skills and their business/es courtesy of the British Council Digital Pioneers programme. If you're aged between 21 and 35 and are resident in the UK or Hong Kong, then why not see if you're eligible to apply?

Friday, November 03, 2006

Oh dear, what *have* I let myself in for

For some inexplicable reason, I thought it would be a good idea to apply for a free haircut in support of Children in Need. All good so far. Except, I've just seen the list of celebrities who'll be the cutters. And it's all being filmed for broadcast pretty much straight away on BBC3. And what's more, my appointment is on Monday, before my stint at MoMo London. So if I turn up wearing a hat, you'll know why! Maybe I'll be lucky and I'll be a demonstration client with Lee Stafford or one of his experts doing my hair to show how it's done... I live in hope...

Before and after photos may well be censored ;)

Thursday, November 02, 2006

It's going to be a busy week next week

There's a lot on in mobile world next week. First off, there's November's Mobile Monday event at Google's offices in London where we'll be talking about trends in mobile and I'm on a panel of fellow mobilists, Tom Hume from Future Platforms, Ajit Jaokar and Paul Goode from m:metrics. If you're not already on the list, I doubt you'll get in as it's over subscribed. However, I'm sure someone will be blogging about it and I expect some of it will be podcast too.

If it's statistics you're after, then I recommend you sign up for one of the m:metrics web briefings next week. They're doing two on consumption of mobile content - one on Monday focusing on the EU and one on Tuesday focusing on the USA. It's free to sign up.

Then Wednesday, I'm hotfooting it to Budapest (I think it will be chilly if London weather is anything to go by) to World Telemedia where I'm going to be talking on Friday about mobile and print media.

Oh, and in between, I have the day job to do!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

My virtual life

With all the time I spent talking about virtual reality communities like Second Life, ARGs (Alternate Reality Games), and MMORPGs (pronounced morpegs) as well as the time I spent on Friday afternoon in Habbo Hotel, I no longer feel a virtual reality virgin!

So first off, there was the excellent NMK event on virtual reality communities, ARGs and MMORPGs which really was food for thought. We explored everything from early text based games, discussed the difference between virtual games and virtual worlds (plot vs space to create), and the latest in ARGs from the likes of PerplexCity.

Michael who heads up PerplexCity took us through a virtual journey and showed us examples:
World of Warcraft (which is massive 21.7m entries on google) and Huxley

Second Life, Habbo Hotel and Korea's Cyworld (where 90% of Koreans aged 16 to 24 have logged on and where $300k a day is spent on virtual stuff) and has now launched in the US

Webkinz, which is where tamagotchi meets Ty beanie babies - you buy a plush pet, it has a unique ID, enter the ID on the website and you're in the virtual world as that plush pet

Test Drive Unlimited, which sounded a bit like Trackmania which I worked on 3 years ago and although I don't generally like driving games, I could really see the appeal of Trackmania because of the element of sharing and racing on each others racetracks

Naughty America The Game which is out soon is the 'adult' version of virtual reality which looks like virtual swinging to me from the home page!

The Nokia Game which started well, but fizzled out.

Virtual Laguna Beach from MTV which is a virtual spin-off from the TV show

All in all, a really good intro to the virtual space.

If you're interested to know more about what went on during the day, then check out Jemima Kiss's round up on Paidcontent.org and also Tom Hume's postings from the various sessions on Second Life, Esther's academic viewpoint (and the full paper can be found here), Michael's intro, Tom's thoughts on it all.

Virtual networking at Habbo Hotel

So with all that in mind, when I was invited to a virtual networking event to celebrate the launch of the new mobileYouth report, I could hardly say no. So I toddled along and met the other 'oldies' in the MY hotel room and experienced Habbo Hotel first hand. Firstly, it was a bit weird working out how your avatar moved around. Then when everyone's in the room and talking at the same time it could be confusing. Also, you couldn't have any one2one side conversations with anyone (or at least if you could, I didn't work out how) which at a normal networking event is exactly what happens. Still, I got to chat to the W2F team, Tomi Ahonen, and a couple of folks from AOL and a fair few other members - some of whom I'd met recently at Swedish Beers (a real life networking event).

Because it's browser based, Habbo Hotel is more accessible than most virtual worlds. But it does mean there are limitations such as the conversations aren't stored for long enough so it can be tricky to keep track of a thread. And you keep being 'bobbed'. There are certain words that automatically get moderated and replaced with 'bob'. As in 'hi te...bob...bob..the....bob...s.....t'. We got used to that fairly early on. We also got thrown out of the room a few times which was annoying, but I gues that's a technical issue.

I did enjoy the session and a big-up to the mobileYouth guys for trying it. I can see a virtual environment could work as a discussion space for projects or for learning. Trouble is, as it's computer based, you've also got your email and MSN running, your landline and your mobile's going and you've got t'internet which means there are a *lot* of distractions. You think you can multi-task but you can't really - it needs focus for you to get anything out of it. As the saying goes, you get out of something what you put in. And this is certainly true for virtual networking. Still, I think it's worth exploring further. Screenshots, courtesy of Jan, are here on flickr.

Links added 2 Nov 2006

Jan's write up of Habbo Hotel Session is here.

And check out Roo Reynolds, Mike Butcher and Broadstuff for their take on the NMK event.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

A bit of fun

Your Brain's Pattern

Your brain is always looking for the connections in life.
You always amaze your friends by figuring out things first.
You're also good at connecting people - and often play match maker.
You see the world in fluid, flexible terms. Nothing is black or white.

Monday, October 23, 2006

I'm having a so-called Second Life this week

Well, not only am I off to the NMK event tomorrow afternoon, My So-Called Second Life, to talk about all things virtual, but on Friday, I've been invited to join the w2forum networking event. But it's not just any old networking bash, it's a virtual one, being held in Habbo Hotel. It's a long time since I ventured into Habbo World and I imagine I may still feel a bit out of place in a world of tweens and teenagers where rug racing was all the rage last time I looked. Still, I expect there will be a fair few grown ups in the Mobile Youth guest room so I'm open to being pleasantly surprised.

If you'd like to join the virtual networking bash, find out about the new Mobile Youth report and ask the writers and analysts any questions you might have about mobile youth, then come join us. All you have to do is sign up to Habbo Hotel (it's free), log in on Friday between 2pm and 4pm BST and look for the guest room "mobileYouth". Jan and his colleagues Savka and Nick will be there and hopefully a few other (virtual) grown-ups wanting to talk about things mobile and things youth.

In the meantime, you might want to listen to the latest podcast from the W2forum team.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Quite a mobile week..

Phew, it's been a week for parties and socialising as well as doing the day job! Tuesday's Swedish Beers 5th Birthday Party was a rip-roaring success (thank you Bango!). NMK's Beers and Innovations earlier that evening was also fabulous. The Mobile Mixer on Wednesday was busy by all accounts. The techcrunch UK launch party on Thursday was lots of fun (thank you Olswang) and I expect the Geekdinner I missed last night was also wonderful.

Hopefully will be back to normal levels of blogging shortly once I've caught up with everything!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Carnival #49 is up

And Michael's done a great job of rounding up the last week's writing in mobile. So go check out The Carnival of the Mobilists #49.

Also, if you have 5 minutes, then please fill in Michael and Russell's quick anonymous survey on Carnival blog readership. I've filled it in and really does only take 5 minutes.

Next week, Carnival number 50 is back at Mobhappy.

p.s. we're hoping the lovely Carlo from Mobhappy will be at Swedish Beers tomorrow night... fingers crossed he'll make it :)

Walled Gardens explained by Gapingvoid

I couldn't have put it better myself. See more of Hugh's stuff over at Gapingvoid.

Smart move or just joining the Second Life Bandwagon?

Reuters has announced that it has opened an office in the virtual world that is Second Life. They've put a journalist in there, Adam Reuters, who will report on Second Life goings on (crime, war, commerce, whatever) and share them with the real world, whilst sharing real world news in the virtual via Reuters virtual office. There's more about it here too from New World Notes.

The Second Life statistics are impressive... it's been inhabited by 380k users in the last 60 days with a total of nearly 950k registered. There's about US$3.2m of real money within the game and about US$70k is traded daily on its currency exchange. Big brands are taking it seriously too with Reebok, American Apparel and Sony all in there touting for business.

And since I don't know enough about this Second Life mullarkey, I'm heaing to NMK's event "My So-Called Second Life" on 24th October. I think it'll be *really* interesting to get the lowdown.

There's also a good article here about Second Life which you might find useful.

And yes, I realise this *isn't* mobile but what if it were? What if you could live a parallel Second Life via your mobile? And isn't it just a matter of time before this happens? Comments on a virtual postcard please...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

October 17th is designated 'an ordinary weekday of no significance"

Well, according to the powers that be who have put together a mass blogging day to promote a history campaign. Members of the public are being invited to record their day and contribute it to a public record which will be stored at the British Library. There are some high profile supporters including Stephen Fry and Griff Rhys Jones.

Of course, regular readers of Musings of a Mobile Marketer will know that the 17th of October is *not* a weekday of no significance since it's Swedish Beers Mobile Networking 5th Birthday and we're having a party courtesy of our friends at Bango. Should be a good one, no RSVPs required just turn up and mingle, so hope to see you there!

Monday, October 09, 2006

It's true, Google has bought YouTube for

UK£1bn in stock. The story is here at Sky News.

Google's chief executive officer Eric Schmidt said: "We are natural partners to offer a compelling media entertainment service to users, content owners and advertisers."

I liked it when the internet was about young upstarts trying to make a difference to the world. Now it's all big business deals. I guess I need to nurture the capitalist in me or something to appreciate this kind of deal!

Carnival of the Mobilists No 48

How time flies. It only seems like 5 minutes since I last hosted the Carnival of the Mobilists but here I am again with Carnival Number 48.

We've had some top entries this week including a newcomer and the topics hinged around 7 key themes.

1. Mobile Events
There have been a couple of key events in mobile this week. The first was NMK's New Directions in Mobile where newcomer Deirdre over at Beers and Innovation did a marvellous roundup of the afternoon's proceedings. Meanwhile, Enrique went to the Wireless Summit in Texas and shares his thoughts on his learnings from the event with us. Which leads me on to Mobile 2.0 event being held on November 6th in San Francisco.. sounds like it will be a really useful event and it's only US$45. Bargain if you're in SFO!

2. Mobile 2.0
Talking of Mobile 2.0... What's happened with Mobile 1.0 and what is 2.0 anyway? Rudy at m-trends explains why flat rate data plans are needed to make Mobile 2.0 a reality, whilst
Anders atAbiro discusses what is actually meant by Mobile 2.0 and Daniel at Mobile Enterprise questions why we need to 2.0 it anyway.

3. Mobile friendly content
Barry at StayGoLinks believes that news feeds provide good enough mobile content for now and explains why. Meanwhile over at Mobhappy, there's an ongoing debate about repurposing content for mobile devices and mobile web standards stemming from the recent Mobile Monday event in London. Do join the discussion. It's lively.

4. Music and mobile
Yes, these two sectors are inextricably linked. Justin at MoPocket tells us how to sell your music with Textango over in the US whilst Mobile Gadgeteer Matt tells us why he's ditched the ipod and is a convert to the delights of the wireless Samsung UMPC (when are manufacturers going to come up with less geeky names please?!).

5. Technical stuff
OK, we're getting a bit more geeky now. Arjan at the Mobile Games Blog shares his journey from working in J2ME to FlashLite in a very readable diary format whilst Martin gives us some technical tips about TCP settings for HDSPA and ADSL. And Simon over at Big Picture explains the impact of Wibree - could it be the new bluetooth and the dawn of further real world digital interactivity?

6. Reviews and rants
We have a lovely history of the videophone and its role in the media from Patrick at Mad for Mobile Phones. Dennis at Wap Review does a really thorough critique of Time magazine's mobile offering, whilst Alfie, via Ewan, via New Directions in Mobile rants about mobile services from the customer's point of view. It's well worth a read!

7. Last but not least
I've written up my thoughts on 12 business models in mobile as discussed at NMK last week (warning long but possibly useful post alert!) whilst Jan at Wireless World Japan gives us a 5 minute podcast of how IC chips are being used in Japan citing two interesting case studies.

As for my favourite post of the week, it has to be Alfie's spot-on monologue over at Ewan's SMSTextNews . He gets it just right. And I'm biased, I was there and heard him deliver and it was brilliant!

That was the mobile week that was.. Next week it's Michael Mace's turn at Mobile Opportunity.

Picture from Hydra after randomly googling Carnival 48 - this was the first picture to appear! Hope they don't mind me using it.

tags: & & & & & &

12 business models in mobile

I was invited last week to speak at NMK's successful New Directions in Mobile event and I talked about business models to fund mobile content and services. And due to popular request, I'm writing up, more or less what I talked about here.

So just how do you get paid to do mobile stuff? Historically, media (TV, magazines, newspapers) has been paid for bya combination of advertising (who then pass the costs on to the consumer in terms of product pricing), licence fees (in the case of the BBC) and paid-for product (subscriptions or one-offs e.g. pay per view TV or your monthly cable TV or magazine subscription).

But the 'free' nature of the internet has changed consumers perceptions. The youth of today don't understand the economics behind making a TV programme or a videogame or a piece of music or a web service and do expect it to be free. A case in point, a teenage friend of mine was having trouble with her MSN spaces account - she couldn't upload her pictures. She emailed MSN several times and got no response. And she just couldn't understand why. I tried to explain to her that it was a free service so why would they prioritise her and that they had millions of customers worldwide and if there was a technical glitch, the chances are it was affecting a big chunk of their audience. She still didn't really get it. She felt that if they offered a service they should do it right. She has a point. But it still has to be paid for. So how do you do it...

1. Ad funded content

Recent Jupiter research on behalf of PitchTV tells us that:
  • Mobile advertising is set to reach £2bn in the UK by 2010. (Good news for Admob I'm sure but I'm not convinced by that figure. Analysts are often wrong.)
  • Almost half of the 16 to 25 y/os vs 32% of the over 25s were happy to accept adverts in return for free content
  • 30% of those then said they would be likely to respond to marketing messages
  • 25% of customers said they'd respond to mobile marketing - and this was equally split between the sexes.
A good example of ad-funded content in use is PitchTV. You get free ringtones, games, graphics and videos for life. I signed up when it launched a few weeks ago by texting PITCH to 87000 (UK only). In return you agree to accept up to 3 marketing SMS per week.

For this to work, you have to match your advertiser closely with the end user and the service you are offering. So I don't think this would work for pushing messages out about Persil as there's not much of a link between Persil and mobile content (well not that I can think of anyway). I hear it's doing well for mobile content advertisers anecdotally. That said, I've been signed up a while now and have never received any marketing messages from them at all. I guess I'm too old and female when they're more than likely looking for young men. It's early days though so watch this space as they say.

2. Mobile Advertising
Using a service like Admob (there are others out there - Admob's probably the biggest though), wapsite owners can generate income from offering pay per click advertising from their sites without having to search for the advertisers themselves.

If you're an advertiser, you can target by country, handset capability, genre of wapsite and set a budget and a maximum bid per click. Ads only get served 3 times to the same user and the ads are very simple - just a few words with a click thru to a landing page.

I've used it to support the distribution of a free java application during the World Cup. It worked better than any other media we tried including newspaper ads and editorial. We also found out that India and South Africa are mad for Wap!

3. Sponsored SMS
An example of this is 118118 who offers space at the end of their directory enquiries text messages at a low cpm (cost per thousand).

One of my clients tried this method (before they were a client of mine) and were disappointed with the results. I think there are some obvious reasons why this isn't quite working yet...
  • There was no click-thru to a wapsite so you couldn't act on impulse
  • No obvious targeting - you're just a 118118 customer who accepts text messages
  • There's not a lot you can get into the 40 or so characters you have to play with
  • When you've paid to receive the text message, do you also want a marketing message? Possibly not.
I don't know the 118118 team or any more details to the service, so if there's anyone out there reading this, please feel free to comment on any more insight regarding the service.

4. Selling your list
A lot of database owners I've met, when they're struggling for cash, cotton on to the idea of selling their database to any willing buyer. It's a mucky business. Rates for your data will vary from less than 1p per name to about 12p. But you'll be *very* lucky to get to the upper end of that range. Branded lists (Kiss, FHM, MTV) fare better when it comes to pricing and can attract cpm rates of £250. But the chances are you're not Emap or MTV.

If you are thinking of selling your list, there are lots of data protection hoops to jump through - and rightly so. It's unlikely that you'll be able to sell your list and just hand it over to a third party. The chances are, if you've structured your terms and conditions properly you'll have permission to send messages on behalf of third parties, but that the data can't leave your hands.

For this to work, there needs to be a close association with the brands of the list owner and the brand advertiser which isn't easy to achieve. And in my opinion, third party lists have been so badly abused in the past that they are suffering from the law of diminishing returns.

An example is that I still get text messages from Lakeside Shopping Centre. I signed up to ZagMe back in 2000 (I was working for them). When ZagMe went under, the database was sold to a third party who re-opted me in at the end of 2001. That company then changed its business model and the data, AFAIK, is now in the hands of Lakeside itself. Has anyone asked me to re opt-in? Am I able to unsubscribe? Do they send me anything remotely relevant to my interests and lifestyle? It's a resounding No to all three. Yet it would be so easy to get it right but that would suggest resource to do that when there are so many other things that they need to do. Mobile marketing is at the bottom of their priority list I suspect.

5. Branded content
Get a big name to put its name to your work. Examples include Coca Cola, Land Rover, Max Power, MTV, Disney. Using a trusted brand would imply greater sales potential but it's not necessarily so. Some of these content deals had the content creators paying the big brand a big licensing fee and or promise a minimum revenue for the privilege of using their brand name. There was supposed to be co-marketing going on, but it never happened because the brand's core business is not mobile content, it's selling drinks or cars or whatever and that's where their focus is. They also made their money on the licensing deal so have no need to do further marketing as they've made their cash from you already. So make sure you know what you're getting into when dealing with a big brand.

6. Sponsored content
Create useful/entertaining/must-have mobile media such as an application, game, mobile TV loop, news, gosspi, messaging or whatever. Then get access to a loyal customer base and get a big brand sponsor in to fund it. The World Cup Match Centre I worked on in the summer for The Sun, News of the World and The Times did just this. The application was your World Cup companion and meant that you could keep up with all the scores and news around the World Cup as it happened. It was promoted in the newspapers in print and online. And the sponsors' l0ogos, Betfair and Three, appeared in all the media promotion so the whole was greater than the sum of its parts in terms of media coverage.

I know it's a long post, but we're halfway there now. Bear with me!

7. Off the page promotion
This could be a revenue share deal or a bounty deal (where the content company pays the publisher for each customer acquired - pay per acquisition). A good example of this was the promotion that 82ASK did with IPC's Pick Me Up magazine. The promotion was co-branded. It was reinforced throughout the magazine in the following weeks and generated a high response rate.

8. Subscription model
This is where you offer customers either an all you can eat package or a limited weekly use package for a fixed fee per week or per month. These services are still advertised on television and were a big part of Crazy Frog's success - the adverts shown at the time didn't just advertise Crazy Frog. To get the Frog ringtone, you had to subscribe to a weekly or monthly service. This type of service has got itself a bad name with unscrupulous providers not being clear about costs and how to opt-out. If you're interested to find out more, just spend 10 minutes browsing Grumbletext which I co-founded back in 2003.

That said, if you get it right, it's a very profitable way to run a business - LoveFilm, BCA book club and many others find it a very successful model. But for it to work, you need a trusted brand image, squeaky clean operations, great customer service and strong customer focus.

Don't do this though.

advert for animated screensaver 4 ur mobi on C4

another dodgy subscription ad on C4

Both of these were seen advertised on weekend mornings on Channel 4's T4 programming strand. £9 a week for 3 animated screensavers or sounds. What *are* they thinking?!

9. User generated content
This is a neat model - get your customers to create their own content. Give them the ability to market, buy and download each others content. Reward the creators with a percentage of sales and only payout when they reach a certain amount (say £25). Examples of this are SeeMeTv, PeekabooTV (NSFW), LookAtMeTV (spot any similarities?!)

10. Wholesale
Syndicate your content to a network operator, media owner or content aggregator/s. There is a protracted value chain - not least the big chunk of money that the network operator takes for premium SMS payments - and this means limited margin. So what you're aiming for is multiple niche deals rather than one big deal, going for global makes sense, if you can. Some revenue may well be better than no revenue at all and if you do start selling content, it all adds to your sponsorship story and credibility for creating things that customers actually want.

Don't expect miracles though. There are 1000s of content providers out there and the chances of you hitting the jackpot will be slim. Don't rely solely on your partner's marketing - you may well need to do your own as well.

11. Retail
Go direct to consumer or d2c as it's called in the digital world. This means you have to build your brand and trust. You have to put effort into your own marketing and distribution.

The 5ps of mobile marketing are important here - product - what is it, easy to use/understand/download; place - where will customers find it? On some dodgy back of beyond website or your own branded lovely place to be?; price - you may need to play around with pricing models; promotion - how are you going to promote? You'll need to look at the whole marketing mix, online, offline, mobile; partnerships - getting revenue share deals with publishers will be really helpful so you share the risk and don't have to pay out advertising costs up front.

12. Don't have a business model
Hope you'll be the next big thing in mobile and someone will buy you for loadsa money... it could happen! I know it sounds mad, but there are plenty of internet business out there who didn't have a business model when they started up. So it could happen in mobile. I suspect, like the online world, the successes will be very few and the failures will be many.

Have I missed anything? Do you have any other examples to contribute? Comments and discussion very welcome.

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