Mobile advertisement or mobile spam?

Advertisement can be an important source of revenue to Mobile telcos. And 2008 can be the year where it takes off at last. Still some of the mobile ads practices risk to be perceived as spam, specially SMS ads, where the telco should protect users with spamming filters.

While Mobile TV video ads insertion will seem justified by the user as a way to “pay” for content – following the free-to-air TV model -, I do not know anyone happy about the annoying SMS with a promotion to have a 10% discount on the purchase of a washing machine.

Starhub, one of the three mobile operators in Singapore, just launched a location-based ads service. Will location-based promotions be more successful than general promotion SMS spams by some merchants? Does the location info adds enough value to make the SMS welcome by the user? I have my doubts, but we will closely monitor the uptake of this service.

On the Mobile web advertisement, success is not yet there. While CPM, CPC and CPA show a higher value in mobile environment than in Web, the arrival of the iPhone and its Safari browser able to render regular websites, makes me wonder if mobile web ads will be any different from the web ads today. It is true that mobile operators theoretically have a lot of knowledge about their customers that could potentially make the ads more relevant, but I do not think that the current agreements of Yahoo and Google with mobile telcos are involving any customer info being offered by the operator.

GigaOM also wonders Are Personalize Mobile Ads Evil? Isn’t the screen too small to put ads?

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