Chapell & Associates

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Ad-funded Mobile the Future? ABSOLUTELY!

MobileCrunch cites a study by Red Orbit which in turn notes that the "UK mobile network market has taken its first fully fledged steps towards the ad funded model." A few thoughts from yours truly:

Of COURSE mobile content will be mostly ad supported - eventually. We're just not quite there yet.

I've seen a bunch of studies on the mobile space recently that conclude that consumers would be happy to accept ads if they were relevant. Years ago there were similar studies used to espouse the benefits of behavioral targeting - I even sponsored one with Ponemon and Revenue Science. The trouble with these types of studies is they simploy ask consumers whether they'd like ads that are of interest to them. What right minded person WOULDN'T want to receive something that is of interest to them?

Many of the obstacles to moving towards ad supported content today lay with the carriers, who do not culturally understand the advertising business. (At least not the U.S. carriers.) For example, the carriers tend to view the concept of ad supported in very black and white terms. Advertising is NOT inherently good or inherently bad. Advertising can provide a GREAT consumer experience - or a HORRIBLE one.

More on this later....

posted by Alan on Thursday, May 31, 2007 | |

Apple iTunes tears down the (DRM) wall, but ads a very long string

This story came from the Digital Music News. Apparently, all those shiny new DRM-free files people are downloading form iTunes still come with strings attached - invisible strings that can potentially be used to keep track of purchases who might transfer the files to third parties.

"As users began experimenting with the premium, DRM-free downloads from EMI artists on Wednesday, an interesting discovery soon surfaced. The unprotected, higher-quality files may lack digital locks-and-keys, but they contain information identifying the purchaser. Specifically, the username and related email address are embedded into the file, and it remains unclear whether the information can easily be wiped away. "

Now, I'm going to leave aside the DRM issue for a moment - although it's somewhat disengenuous for Apple to claim that they've torn down the DRM walls while leaving open the possibility of keeping tabs on file sharing.

The LARGER issue here might be the impact on User privacy. If I purchase DRM-free music on iTunes, Apple embeds my email address and User name into that file. However, they don't disclose this anywhere in their privacy statement. In fact their privacy statement vows to protect the personal information provided to them. "Apple takes precautions — including administrative, technical, and physical measures — to safeguard your personal information against loss, theft, and misuse, as well as unauthorized access, disclosure, alteration, and destruction." If I don't know that my personal information is being embedded into their files, then I don't necessarily know that by accidentally transferring that information to someone else, I may be inadvertently compromising my personal information.

Does that rise to the level of being false and deceptive? I dunno - maybe someone should as the FTC. Either way, it strikes me as bad policy. If you're Apple, and you're collecting personal information, and storing it in a place where consumers are not likely to know its being stored, you have a responsibility tell consumers so they can take appropriate safeguards.

Otherwise, you're just being sneaky...

posted by Alan on Thursday, May 31, 2007 | |

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Social Networking

This comes from O'Reilly's discussion of Where 2.0. fatdoor is "is a Community Network that allows you to get to know your neighbors."

I agree that this service is potentially a bit disconcerting. I signed up using postal addresses in NYC and San Francisco, but fatdoor does not currently operate in either of those areas. Until they are up and running in my hood, I have no idea how they protect User privacy.

One potential byproduct of fatdoor and similar apps is that it organizes the data licensed from InfoUSA in such a way that makes that data much more digestible.

How does one opt-out from being listed on fatdoor? Do I need to go to InfoUSA or fatdoor? What if I don't know that either either company exists?

Labels: ,

posted by Alan on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | |

Privacy, Online Advertising, and Consolitation...

Yesterday the NY Times discusses the FTC's preliminary investigation into Google's proposed purchase of DoubleClick.

I don't see this investigation going anywhere. Whether there is an antitrust issue will hinge on the definition of the relevant market. If the relevant market is the ONLINE advertising market, then I think the merger may be in trouble. However, if its defined as the advertising market, (as I believe it will be) then this deal has little risk of not moving forward.

Having said that, the level of consolidation in the online advertising space has been nothing short of amazing. For the sake of comparison, think about how long it took the U.S. auto industry to consolidate into the three major U.S. automakers.

If the 2008 election ushers a Democrat into the White House, (fingers crossed) we'll likely have a significantly more active FTC on issues of privacy. Until then, we're looking at more Laissez-faire.

Labels: ,

posted by Alan on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 | |

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mobile Content and the Carriers

Jeff Jarvis points out here that "paying for content doesn't work online." (itunes and the WSJ being two on a very short list of exceptions.)

Why doesn't this rule apply in the wireless space? Is it that mobile devices enable micro-payments.... or is it that the wireless carriers just don't understand the ad business?

Labels: ,

posted by Alan on Thursday, May 24, 2007 | |

© 2005 by Alan Chapell & Associates LLC