Monday, January 31, 2005

V CAST Starts Tomorrow

From PR Newswire V CAST from Verizon Wireless available tomorrow.

BEDMINSTER, N.J., Jan. 31 /PRNewswire/ -- When it launches tomorrow, V CAST from Verizon Wireless will break all preconceived notions about wireless multimedia services. The nation's first 3G wireless broadband multimedia service for consumers, V CAST delivers crystal clear short content on-demand, live-action 3D games, music videos, and much more to wireless phones. The quality of the service is matched only by the popularity of the content being offered: Verizon Wireless is presenting premier news and entertainment sources from the leading content providers in the nation -- and from around the globe -- making V CAST an indispensable new infotainment resource for all types of consumers.

Starting tomorrow, V CAST customers will be able to use new wireless phones for applications only dreamed of a year ago: watch video clips from "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart"; receive video news updates from NBC News and political analyses from Tim Russert of Meet the Press; view highlights from premiere sporting events like FOX NFL Sunday from Jacksonville; immerse themselves in Spider-Man 2 3D: NY Rooftops, a game inspired from scenes in the Spider-Man 2 motion picture from Sony Pictures; and also download hot music videos from Warner Music Group artists like Simple Plan, My Chemical Romance and The Used.


From Dave's Ipaq Are you watching the Super Bowl?.

THQ Wireless Inc., a subsidiary of THQ Inc. announced a new text messaging campaign with the National Football League (NFL) and PLAYERS INC for the most valuable player (MVP) during the Super Bowl XXXIX telecast on Sunday, February 6, 2005 on FOX. The cross-carrier promotion is powered by THQ Wireless' mobile messaging arm, MINICK USA, and allows fans nationwide to cast their vote for the game's MVP via their wireless device. On game day, broadcasters are expected to announce the promotion where fans can text "MVP" to 88288 to receive voting instructions.

"This announcement marks THQ Wireless' second premium messaging campaign with the NFL and PLAYERS INC and speaks to the growing trend of sports leagues utilizing cutting-edge mobile applications to interact with their fans," said Tim Walsh, president of THQ Wireless.

"We are pleased to offer our partners the opportunity to expand their wireless offerings through MINICK with its proven strength and experience hosting large-volume TV voting campaigns." MINICK, who launched its U.S. operations back in August of 2004, is a leading service provider for TV related messaging applications in Europe and its applications and infrastructure are uniquely tailored to support high volumes of messages and billing transactions. MINICK has successfully enabled Premium SMS voting campaigns for high profile TV shows such as Big Brother, Pop Idol and the MTV European Music Awards.

Mobile Operator 3 Adds Mobile Content

From NetImperative 3 adds brands to mobile content.

Mobile operator 3 has struck a deal with mobile data firm Netsize to give its UK customers to access a range of branded content services, accessed via SMS shortcodes.

So instead of using a search engine website, you can get the info from a SMS search.

Is an SMS search portal coming?

Text, ringtones, wallpapers and pictures from a range of brands will be available to more than 2.5 million video mobile customers in the UK.
Netsize's portfolio of brands includes BMW, Bosch, Danone, Nestle, Peugeot, HP, Federal Express, Nike, JC Deceaux, L'Oreal, Kellogg's, Pizza Hut and Yamaha.

The deal means 3 customers could potentially access content from all these brands, via the “Today on 3” portal.

A Shot Across The Bow Of Microsoft

From Tech Review Project Googlefox.
Project Googlefox
By Eric Hellweg January 31, 2005

As far as rumors go, the one about Google's move into the browser space is heating up. Ever since it was uncovered that the search company registered the URL last April, Web chatter has been abuzz with the prospect of Google launching a browser to compete with Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

The buzz meter ratcheted up a few ticks last week when Ben Goodger and Darin Fisher, two key players in the development of the Firefox browser, each announced on the MozillaZine blog that they were now employees of Google.

"Another pointer towards a Google browser," someone posted on "Ben Goodger was lead engineer on the Firefox project…now he's been hired by Google -- the company that owns gbrowser."

Neither Goodger nor Fisher is commenting on their new roles, and Steve Langdon, a spokesperson for the company, has also maintained a relative silence on the specifics.

"I'm not able to share any information on what Ben's going to work on," Langdon says. "Many of Google's products aim to enhance browser products, and we're interested in exploring interaction between browsers and Google's services."

For the sake of argument, let's assume that Google is in fact building a browser. The company is constantly unveiling new products, from desktop search tools to television video searches. A browser wouldn't be a tremendous departure for the company's famous tinkerers.

But a Google browser would be a major shot across the bow of Microsoft.

Right now, Microsoft doesn't make money on its Internet Explorer, although the product is lumped in with the company's lucrative Operating Systems division. The IE browser, though, plays an important defensive position for the company, a position that's expected to become more offensive when Microsoft's next operating system, Longhorn, is released in 2006.

Analysts believe the browser will feature an integrated search component, similar to a toolbar, which will return users to a Microsoft-produced search results page, with keyword and other advertisements around the search results.

The troublesome area for Microsoft, however, is that it might not maintain its browser dominance until 2006. With the release of Firefox, Microsoft is seeing that latent user frustration molts into defection, given a suitable alternative choice.

According to, IE has lost five percent of its market share directly to Firefox, a product publicized almost exclusively through word of mouth alone. Think about the user reaction -- spurred by perceived virus vulnerabilities and quality concerns -- if Google were to launch a browser and advertise it heavily.

"A Google browser could dramatically change the browser market share," says Mark Mahaney, an analyst with American Technology Research.

Microsoft is downplaying the speculation, and putting a smiling face on the prospect of a new browser war.

"While Internet Explorer is the choice of hundreds of millions because of the unique value it provides, we respect that some customers will choose an alternative," a Microsoft spokesperson says in an email interview.

For now, Microsoft isn't yet in trouble. It still controls over 90 percent of the browser market, and with the Longhorn on the way in less that two years, Google needs to act quickly if it is in fact planning on launching a browser product. A new Internet Explorer with built-in search capabilities could have a devastating effect on Google.

"If there's one thing that has the potential to dramatically switch search share now is an integrated search function in a browser," says Mahaney.

Mobile Content Upgrade


07:52 VRSN VeriSign upgraded to Strong Buy at Raymond James (25.59 )

Raymond James upgrades VRSN to Strong Buy from Outperform and reiterates their $35 tgt, as they think the pendulum has now swung too far in the negative direction. With wireless data subscriber penetration around 10% worldwide, firm believes that the mkt is in the midst of an inflection point in sub growth and usage levels. Handsets, networks, software, and content are now in place to make data the next growth engine for the wireless industry, and central to that service is content. As such, firm says the time is now for investing in leading mobile content co's.

This is probabaly due to Verisign's acquisition of Jamba!

VeriSign said Jamba! will be integrated into its Communications Services Group, which provides network, database, billing, and content services to wireless and wireline subscribers.

In a statement, VeriSign said: "By adding Jamba!'s capabilities into its existing communication services platforms, VeriSign expects to be able to offer carriers a comprehensive wireless data utility that covers all aspects of the mobile content value chain. Functionality will include content on-boarding, aggregation, formatting, mediation, and a variety of billing and payment services."

I wonder, when cameraphones become ubiquitous, will the screen saver biz then die? Why would you pay for one, when you can take a picture and leave on your screen?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Going For A Run

The mobile news world and my opinions take a pause this weekend.

I have to go for a run.

Some of the best scenery around. Cruise ships, thongs on South Beach and latte drinkers in the Gables.

To see how much snow we have to shovel today , click here.

To see what you're missing. beach cam.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Great Idea, Bad Execution

Text messaging voting for Super Bowl ads.

From RCR News Cell-phone users to vote for favorite Super Bowl ads .

DULLES, Va.-Football fans can vote for their favorite commercials with their mobile phones with a service announced this week by American Online Inc.

Users can register for the poll by texting the word "vote" to short code 46265 before the game and will receive reminders during the Feb. 6 matchup. Each vote costs users 50 cents, and results will be announced the day after the game.

This could be a great marketing tool for AOL, (and they sure do need one), but they miss the whole point of this.

So I have to pay .50 to vote for an ad? What do I get for this? Gimme a free supply of Doritos, or a free Whopper.

Why should I pay for YOUR work?

How about making a game of texting to guess how many points New England scores each quarter. Number of punts in the first half. Who wins the coin toss.

The winner gets 1 month free AOL service, or a free Whopper..maybe even a signed picture of Janet Jackson. But you have to provide an incentive.

There are endless contests, bets you can make to have a great interactive text messaging campaign. What HAS to happen is for the user to get something for his .50.

Make the texting free for the game just to get people accustomed to using the SMS process. It will be a great investment.

Here's ANOTHER example of how mobile marketing could get started in the US but the marketing guys fail to consider the end users wishes. I hope this isn't a sign of how they will treat the user once they do get permission.

Yahoo's Local Search..Doesn't Make Sense

From Industry Standard Yahoo links local search with mobile phones.

I guess I dont get it. Or I dont get why you would Yahoo instead of Google. The whole point of mobility is being mobile isnt it?

Yahoo Inc. on Thursday rolled out a new feature in its local search service that lets users send results from their PCs to mobile phones, the company said. At Yahoo Local, which is a directory of business listings, users can search for restaurants in Denver, Colorado, or for dentists in Philadelphia. Now, they can send Yahoo Local results as a text message to their mobile phones directly from their PCs by clicking on a new "send to phone" button that accompanies every listing.

You can see for yourself Yahoo local.

But I would rather send a text to 46645 "GOOGL" and get the same results immediately. This defeats the spontaneity.

With 46645 "GOOGL", I can check prices of goods by inputting a barcode number on a product.

So I guess I dont see the value in Yahoo's new local service.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Pathetic Play On The Word Google

From PR Newswire...

3DIcon Recommends and Other 'Quality' Search Engines for TDCP Updates
Thursday January 27, 7:06 am ET

TULSA, Okla., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- 3DIcon Corporation (OTC Pink Sheets: TDCP - News), a communications development company, announced today that one of the best ways to keep abreast of 3DIcon's activities is via and similar first-class search engines.

"We're a little bit embarrassed about the current quality of our website," said 3DIcon CEO Martin Keating. "It's out of date and not even close to what we want it to look like. We're working on it. In the meantime, we recommend that shareholders and other interested parties access Google or any other quality search engine and type in '3DIcon.' That way, one can read many of our latest news releases."

IN order to find us, use GOOGLE.

This is pathetic.

A Must Read....SP's Dead Upon Arrival?

This is very big. Could the SP's be dead before they come alive?

From The Calling without cellcos.

With products in the pipeline a handful of companies are moving P2P over IP forward at breakneck speed. The outcome could rock the enterprise, and potentially wreck operators' business models.

With 52 million downloads and counting since its commercial launch in August 2004, Skype has clearly fuelled consumers' passion for free voice calls over the Internet. Estimated to carry 25% of annual VoIP traffic (as counted by TeleGeography), or the equivalent of 4% of total international traffic worldwide, the impact of Skype and other VOIP applications could put a serious dent in mobile operators' revenues.

The scenario for the mobile industry turns from bad to worse when Skype is embedded in a 3G phone or Wi-Fi-enabled device, and falling data prices offer users a much cheaper alternative to cellular voice. Indeed, one eager Taiwanese handset manufacturer recently wrote an open letter to Skype asking for the privilege to be the first to embed the technology in its 3G phones, leading many to believe such handsets will appear this year.

It could also be the ultimate nightmare for the telecoms industry, warns James Enck, a telecom analyst at Daiwa Securities SMBC Europe Ltd. Through his blog and extensive research, Enck has been following the rise of P2P and predicting the fall of telecoms vendors and operators when it catches on.

He argues that the economics of building a sustainable business case solely around voice are becoming increasingly untenable. "Already voice is becoming a weapon in the arsenal of global Internet brands. Whether it's Google or Microsoft, voice is going to become just another feature in applications aimed at some other ultimate objective, perhaps selling some premium services or generating advertising revenues -- in the same way that these same players have commoditized Webmail and storage to a certain extent."

Embed P2P in mobile phones, and the outcome could be profound -- if operators stand still. The technology will no doubt empower enterprise users and road warriors, and deliver them significant savings in roaming and long-distance charges. The choice for operators is to let any remaining revenues go to their competitors, or to adopt the services and apply them to their own networks and users.

There are simple steps operators can take, such as drastically cutting voice charges, particularly for international and roaming calls, where mobile VOIP would make its initial impact. But there's also an opportunity for carriers willing to work with upstart companies like Nimcat -- in addition to simply "locking in" the outside traffic, mobile carriers could further integrate the technology into their own networks, and potentially steal business away from fixed providers by providing enterprise PBX features such as the ability to have common directories or a call attendant.

Mobile operators are control freaks whose worst nightmare is to become dumb pipes for their users' data. They can use some of their usual tricks to resist this, like blocking VOIP traffic on their networks, though this is likely to just drive users to more friendly competitors, even data-only MVNOs (one of which could be launching on a Japanese 3G network soon). But if they offer users the technology as a way to reduce costs and improve services, they've got far more to gain.

Tiger Goes Mobile

First Ronald McDonald and now Tiger Woods. If these two dont kick start mobile content..

Sprint Hits a Hole-in-One with Exclusive Mobile Content Deal
Thursday January 27, 7:02 am ET
Fans of the golfer can access Tiger Woods-themed ringers, screen savers, up-to-the-minute information and more on their Sprint PCS Vision(SM) Phones

Beginning in February, the mobile content from Sprint PCS Vision will include:

-- Multiple voice ringers so fans can listen to Tiger Woods announce their
incoming calls with sayings such as, "Hey, this is Tiger Woods. I hope
you have a sponsor because this one is going to cost you."
-- Multiple screen savers so customers can personalize their phones with a
series of play action shots such as Tiger driving the fairway or
saluting the gallery.
-- Club Tiger Mobile, a Java application that allows customers to access
live stats and scores, breaking news, a tournament schedule, a media
gallery of photos from recent events, Tiger Woods trivia and Tiger
Woods golf tips from Golf Digest.
-- Text Alerts - fans can receive text alerts announcing the launch of new
Tiger mobile content as well as play Tiger text trivia and more, all by
sending the word "Golf" to 84437 on their Sprint PCS Phones.
-- EA Sports Tiger Woods 2005, a popular mobile golf game already
available to Sprint PCS Vision customers.

Hey Sprint, way to be a pioneer. Why not think about tapping into the real money, the advertising dollar from brands.

RFID Cell Phone Part 2

From eWeek News Verisign plans RFID security enhancements.

After making a range of moves last year toward bolstering RFID adoption, network specialist VeriSign Inc. is now working with epcGlobal on future RFID security improvements, while also consulting enterprises about which business processes to RFID-enable in the interests of quicker ROI.

VeriSign started out 2004 by announcing that it had nailed down a contract with RFID standards body epcGlobal for running root directory services that allow the use of RFID tag data on large networks.

Another approach—possibly advantageous to pharmaceutical and food manufacturing firms, for instance—calls for the use of RFID in gaining "proof of delivery" benefits.

VeriSign's RFID announcements last year also included a joint demo with Nokia around possible consumer-oriented RFID applications, along with plans in the areas of outsourcing Internet-based RFID networking for enterprise customers and support for RFID application development.

On the EPC Network, every company will ultimately have a server running its own ONS (Object Naming Services), as well as EPC-IS (EPC-Information Services) servers containing data about their own products.

The ONS servers will send lookup requests for EPC numbers to the EPC-IS servers. Companies will be permitted to either run their own EPC-IS services or to outsource these services.

Would the data that these lookup requests be valuable?

As Strzelec sees it, RFID's ONS services are similar to the DNS (Domain Naming Services) VeriSign already operates on the Internet through its data centers. "We run the intelligent infrastructure for .com and .net [Internet domains]," he said.

So this means Verisign will assign a web address to every RFID tag.

VeriSign's pilot demo with Nokia focused on futuristic scenarios that would let consumers access RFID data from cell phones. Nokia's 5140 phone already comes with an RFID reader.

The cell phone will scan an RFID tag, send the request to a server, the server says that tags domain is "", and then the cellphone displays that site.

I think theres some IP that involves a bunch of this process.

Amazons Local Search...Very Cool

Now this is cool.

Thanks John Battelle for the heads up.

Amazon's local search that allows you to see the street and move around on it. Also you can click to call the desired hotel/restaurant you're searching for.

Take a look here.

This is really good stuff.
I wonder if Google will use their satellite imagery company to do this do.

Howard Rheingold On Search

From Technology Review mag The Yahoo factor.

When I see Howard Rheingold make comments on search I pay attention. The guy is a true visionary.

If the computer hard drive is the engine for the information age, then it derives its power from the ability to search and deliver information quickly and seamlessly.

"Mobile searches are potentially revolutionary," says Howard Rheingold, who authored the book Smart Mobs and oversees the SmartMobs blog, which tracks the evolution of mobile technologies. "The speech to text for a mobile device would be really helpful -- it would be a localizing search.

Search literacy is still extremely important, due to the vast amount of information on the Web. Howard Rheingold talks about the importance of knowing how to search.

"There are two key issues here – location awareness and local resources in your search. Ideally we will be able to do a voice to text that will come along. I think that because of the rate in which technology changes – again, it is a literacy problem, how do people keep up?" said Rheingold.

"It used to be the digital divide was between the rich and the poor – now, everyone has a mobile phone, many people have access to computers…again, it’s knowing how to use it. It’s no longer the haves/have nots it’s the knows how/doesn’t know…when it comes to computer use," Rheingold says.

The next phase might be that the phone knows who you are and you could find, using your phone, what you need, immediately. This would go far beyond a desktop search."

Between LBS (location based services ie GPS) and physical world hyperlinks, this is all possible.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Would You Like Ringtones With That?

Oooh yeah Im lovin it. Maybe Ronald McDonald can jump start mobile marketing in the States.

From RCR News McDonald's offers wireless content as part of marketing campaign.

McDonald's restaurants in the Pacific Northwest will give away ringtones, wallpaper and coupons to wireless handsets during a Web-based promotional campaign, the fast-food chain said Wednesday.

McDonald's will use the Web site as a focal point for the campaign to offer ringtones from hip-hop artists, classic rock bands, and movie and TV show theme songs. The campaign, which is being produced by Davis Elen Advertising & Public Relations and Gamut Industries, began yesterday and runs for a limited time.

Click here to see the neat offerings.

As a leader in the food industry, McDonald's continues to pave the way for young adults by offering them a variety of choices through mobile communications, which is so much a part of their world."

The campaign is just the latest marketing initiative that integrates wireless technology. According to new research from Frost & Sullivan, the mobile marketing market is expected to reach $69.3 million by 2007. The market totaled $11.5 million in revenue last year.

RFID Cell Phone...Sure

Im not surprised. Ive been saying this is inevitable.

From Mobile Mag RFID cell phones? maybe in 2007.

Electronics and Technology Research Institute (ETRI) plans to complete development of a built in RFID reader chip that will allow cell phones to receive RFID signals. This would enable users with the device embedded into their cell phone to receive info based on their surroundings. Such as, standing in front of a movie poster and hearing the latest soundtrack from that movie, or even view a teaser trailer.

The Ministry of Information and Communication of Korea is exploring new business models combining mobile infrastructure and RFID. Their goal is to push the mobile RFID to commercial service in 2007.

Once RFID receivers are built into cell phones the possibilities are endless. For instance; buy a product off the supermarket shelf, the RFID tag will identify itself, and your phone can download the recipes associated with the product.

Now if I thought this would have legs, I would look to see who had the IP associated with scanning bar codes. It's the same principle, so I think Symbol Technologies might be the place to start. See what kind of IP they regarding RFID. The barcode and RFID tag, same principle of looking up information but now through the Internet.

Youre just swapping a barcode that is internet accessable with an RFID tag that already is.

Another Wireless Provider...But With Foresight

From Mobile Pipeline EarthLink, Korean operator creating new US wireless company.

EarthLink said Wednesday that it is partnering with Korean wireless operator SK Telecom to create a new wireless operator in the U.S. that will focus on providing advanced Internet services such as streaming multimedia.

The two companies will equally co-own the new venture, which will be called SK-EarthLink. The new company will be a virtual wireless provider, acquiring services from other mobile operators, although the companies did not say in a statement from which operator they would acquire the services from or when the service would fully launch.

Primarily, the stressed in statements and in the conference call that the goal of the joint venture is to offer services not currently available in the U.S.

"In South Korea, kids on the street are using their mobile phones to listen to music, watch TV, video conference, locate their friends and access the Internet -- as well as make voice calls -- as opposed to the U.S. where the mobile experience is primarily about talking on the phone," Dayton said in a statement. "Americans are living in the past. Utilizing emerging 3G networks and harnessing the explosive growth of Wi-Fi, SK-EarthLink will take the wireless experience in the U.S. to a new level."

70% Versus 3-6%

From Media Post's Media Daily News SMS poised to spur mobile marketing market.

Frost & Sullivan, a software industry market research firm, Tuesday released the results of a study touting the potential and effectiveness of mobile marketing as a method of reaching and engaging consumers.

The study, entitled "An Insight into the United States Mobile Marketing & Short Code SMS Markets," predicts dramatic growth in the number of short messaging service (SMS) subscribers and the number of subscribers participating in SMS campaigns, as well as touting the high response rates to SMS-based campaigns.

Frost & Sullivan predicted that the number of U.S. SMS subscribers was expected to increase to 75.5 million by the end of 2007, from 26.4 million in 2003.

The number of those subscribers participating in short-code SMS campaigns--which allow mobile marketers to use shorter, easier-to-remember numbers, rather than full 10-digit numbers as the contact numbers for their campaigns--is likely to increase from 9 million to 35.9 million over the same period, the study predicted.

Short code SMS campaigns are commonly used for online votes, quizzes, sweepstakes, and mobile coupons.

The study also found that opt-in SMS-based interactive campaigns have a much higher response rate than other channels.

The study stated that those campaigns might see response rates as high as 70 percent, compared to the average click-through rate of Internet ads of about 3 to 6 percent on average.

WOW..advertisers do you see how big this will be? Hey search engines, do you realize you MUST be a part of this? 70% versus 3-6%

Burgess agreed that mobile advertising was a quickly growing field. "What I am seeing is a lot of marketers who are starting to initiate some form of direct response campaigns that include mobile," he said.

"There's no doubt that the media world is climbing on to the mobile bandwagon." JupiterResearch Analyst Niki Scevak agreed that mobile devices are a good method for getting customers to respond and interact with ad campaigns, but warned against using them as a method to deliver advertisements.

The way to get permission to market via the phone is the toughest part of this industry. Games, quizzes, sweepstakes, coupons are some ideas, but have you ever considered that when you click on a barcode you are giving the brand the permission to market to you?

It's obvious you wouldnt be holding a can of tomato soup or an Elton John CD and clicking on it for more info if you weren't interested in the product.

Brands heres the easiest way to get permission, and create some great marketing campaigns for the next advertising industry space.

Now think what happens after you just clicked on that Elton John CD. You just created data. Who makes use of that data? What does that data include? Your cell phone number, your location, the product (Elton John CD) and the time you showed interest.

Will this info be valuable for the advertiser?

What if you had the server(s) that saw the traffic and could analyze all this data?

This is web analytics turbo charged. Who will get this first?

I have a piece coming out called "After The Click" that explains how big this will really be.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Liquid Information...Naaah Physical World Hyperlinks

From Wired magazine. Information wants to be liquid.
The web as we know it was invented by a British academic working in Switzerland. Is a Nordic academic working in Britain about to redefine it forever?

Frode Hegland, a researcher at University College London, wants to change the basic structure of information on the net.

Hegland's project, Liquid Information, is kinda like Wikipedia meets hypertext. In Hegland's web, all documents are editable, and every word is a potential hyperlink.

Engelbart refers to Hegland's project as "the next stage of the web."

It's called Phase 2.

Hegland's idea is simple -- he plans to move beyond the basic hypertext linking of the web, and change every word into a "hyperword." Instead of one or two links in a document, every single word becomes a link. Further, every link can point to more than one place, pulling up all kinds of background context from the web as a whole.

Click on a politician's name and find out who donated to his or her campaign. Click on a town name in a news story and find out what else has happened there.

The Liquid Information project's homepage proudly states, "You can think of this project as an effort to turn web 'browsers' into web 'readers.'

To see what it looks like go to CNN's site here. This is neat.

Seems a little bit cluttered. There comes a point where this is TOO mich information.

The concept can be transferred to the physical world though. Click on a barcode, or a Nike logo, or RFID tag to get more info.

Here's How Google Closes The Gates On Microsoft

Here’s how Google closes the Gates on Microsoft.

It is becoming obvious that trademark owners and brands do not like Google and search engines generating revenues from their names. The recent lawsuits, Geico, American Blind, Le Meridien, in my opinion, are just the start of a plethora of trademark suits. The keyword, pay per click revenue model will have to change.

It’s ironic that Le Meridien suit is the loss I think changes the search engine revenue model. Le Meridien is defined as “the act or process of stating a precise meaning or significance”.

This represents a significant threat to the revenues for all search engines. Trademark owners argue that the appearance of keyword ads with search results creates “initial interest confusion” on the part of the person doing the search.

According to a recent survey done by The Pew Internet and American Life Project, only one in six users of internet search engines can tell the difference between unbiased search results and paid advertisements. This is NOT what search engines want to hear with these lawsuits out there.

I would say “initial interest confusion” applies here.

Google and search engines are directing a searcher to a site based on a query using a TM and getting paid for it. The TM owner is justified in their suits because if a searcher is using a TM in the query, it is obvious they know what they want, but don’t know how to get there.

This can be solved very easily. It will also create the killer app search engine. This will solve both parties concerns and create the killer app platform of the future. By now working with trademark owners, the smart search engine that recognizes this will be the launching pad for mobile search.

Just like you have different domains for the Internet, .com, .net, and .org, there’s a registry coming that by providing a couple of identifiers will provide a number of ways (both PC or mobile) for the user thru many devices (barcode, RFID tag) to get to a specific site.

Just like Verisign and the EPC will create a registry for every RFID tag, there is a registry coming that will register every bar code, finger print, word, number. Every bar code, word, fingerprint, number will now have a targeted website by registering it.

How much is it worth for every search engine to have the power to access this database?

Here’s an example. Coke decides to register the word Coke in this registry. By registering the word Coke, Coke will now have the spoken word coke, every bar code on every can of coke and a special 2-d code created for Coke to promote traffic to Each identifier offers a hyperlink to that site. This is Coke’s trademark; they own it and now have a few ways to market advertising to

The bar codes are easy. By registering all of the coke barcodes, every time a bar code on any can of coke is scanned via a camera phone, or the number is typed in (PC or mobile), the user will be directed to (or whatever Coke is promoting that hour, day, week). The word Coke, in many “physical” forms, becomes a physical world hyperlink and a way to direct connect to the desired site. So if I’m coke I can now reach my target audience via TV, print, Internet and now mobile.

By combining the barcodes on every can of coke, a special 2-d code and the word Coke, Coke can now advertise and allow a unique direct connect to the specified website bypassing all search engines (both PC and mobile).

This poses a threat to all search engines.

The words Coke, and all trademarks, are not just simple keywords anymore. They are now a direct link from millions/billions of items in the physical world (and online) to a directed website.

Items can be advertised and linked directly to a targeted website, avoiding the search engine completely.

Once TM owners, brands have a way to direct the user to their targeted site, what will search engines do then? Search engines must tap into this direct connect ability and work in conjunction with this unique registry.

Here’s what I would do if I was a search engine. Instead of spending the next few years in court defending the way I used TM as keywords, I would use this conflict as a launching pad for many killer apps.

I’m Google, I have a great website that provides a great service. There really is no barrier to entry, no monopoly to my business. I generate revenue from brands and companies that advertise through me. So I want to make these companies happy and give the user the desired search results. I also know that Internet traffic is going mobile.

I know that when this unique registry gets implemented, brands will be able to advertise and bypass my search engine completely both on the PC and mobile.

So what would I do if I was Google?

Would I continue to auction off keywords and realize this business is going to get transformed, or would I want to own a business that sells keywords outright.

Would I limit my revenue abilities to the PC, or would I realize that in order to continue my advertising in the mobile space, I must be a part of this unique registry.

I would somehow incorporate this registry into my search window. I would offer on my search site, the ability to go directly to the TM targeted site in addition to the other search listing suggestions. This would be a unique search window. Google could share in the fees that TM pays to register and turn on all of their barcodes.

The brand /TM will be able to direct traffic thru Google’s site. This is ultimately what the TM suits are about. Google keeps the ability to generate revenues by putting sponsored links along side the search results. The sponsored link has to agree to put this unique Google search window somewhere on their site.

With advertisers agreeing to put this unique search window on their site (and they will), Google has now created a self-replicating search universe. This is a ubiquitous search engine. The Google search window will be put on millions of websites; there will never be a reason to leave.

TM owners get what they want, a direct connect feature on Google (or any search engine) site. Searchers get the ability to go to a targeted site. Sponsored link sites still get the ability to be placed on TM site searches.

What does Google get in return? Lots.

Google gets relief from upcoming trademark suits.

Google gets a cut of the registration fees generated every year from registering TM’s and other words. There are 3 billion unique barcodes, 3 million TM’s, and endless word phrases just waiting to be “turned on”.

Combine barcodes, TM’s and word phrases and the concept of bidding on these words are no longer an issue. You can BUY them. Granted, the TM Coke would only be for sale to the Coca Cola Corporation, but a word like soda or cola can now be purchased annually. The budget for your search engine advertising is fixed based on the words you buy.

Because you’re buying the words “Chicago pizza delivery”, you know what your advertising budget will be for the year AND you will be able to promote a direct connect to your website through many vehicles and identifiers with those three words.

When brands and small companies start registering these words, what will they in turn do? They will direct traffic to the search platform that allows these words to come alive.

Wouldn’t any search engine want this traffic?

Google gets Procter Gamble, Unilever, Coke and all the other brands to pay to promote traffic through your site. Hundreds of brand managers will direct traffic through your site.

The Google enhanced search window gets put on millions of websites, keeping the Google link intact. (Better than the Google toolbar service in my opinion. No need to download anything).

Imagine a Google search window on every website. The revenue deals could be huge here. The Google search window becomes ubiquitous.

Search traffic gets directed thru Google via brand advertising, which allows Google to keep being the premier search engine and charge higher rates for other keywords.

And best of all, Google will now get traction for their entrance into the mobile space. By typing, texting, snapping a pic, saying a word, Google will have the “navigation engine” for the mobile space.

Google has to realize that Internet traffic volume will be shifting to mobile devices and must be able to penetrate this.

Once someone clicks on a barcode, or types in a desired word, they wont have to go through a search engine to get to targeted site. What do search engines do then?

Going this route, Google won’t need a mobile OS to achieve the dominance in the mobile world.

By implementing and licensing this technology, Google can now dominate the Phase 2 of the Internet. This is where the physical world gets connected. Phase 2 is connecting every physical item to the Internet.

Think of what happens next.

Once these hyperlinks get turned on, the brand can bypass the search engine completely.

Every item in the physical world now becomes a hyperlink and offers endless marketing and commerce opportunities for Google if they participate in this unique registry. Google could create the killer app platform for both PC and Mobile.

Advertising is the golden goose for search. It will take on a completely different role once Internet traffic goes mobile (very soon).

There wont be 4 billion monthly searches done on a cell phone like there is on a PC. So how will search engines generate revenues from the lil screen for if it won’t be search? Brands are now taking a direct approach to reach their consumer.

Mobile marketing through SMS bypasses the search engine completely. Once a brand gets a users cell phone number and permission to market to them, they won’t need to spend endless dollars on buying keywords from a search engine.

So if I’m a search engine, I would try to somehow get involved with the brands and jointly promote this new registry. I would find a way to implement this platform and get on board.

Once Internet traffic truly goes mobile and all these physical world hyperlinks are turned on, the killer apps that get created are endless.

Those endless killer apps that get created, they are called M-commerce. Here’s your chance to dominate that space Google.

And all of this traffic could run though Google servers. Could this be why they have interest in dark fiber?

Think of the database that gets created from all of this traffic running through your servers and what Google could do with that. Those Google servers could be the Nielsen or Arbitron of the physical world traffic. What is that worth?

Google could now tell Coke how many people clicked on a can of Coke, from what location and what their cell phone number is. How many people clicked on an Elton John CD to hear his latest songs. The data that these physical world hyperlinks generate is enormous and invaluable.

To know the data of who, when, what and where of every cell phone user is the Golden Goose for mobile marketing. Google could have all of this by incorporating this unique registry into their search window.

Would Google like to be THE web analytics company for Phase 2 of the Internet?

In my opinion this information would be bigger than the revenues they generate from advertising. Mobile advertising is what’s coming next, and having this type of info will play a key role.

Google, here’s your chance to close the Gates on Microsoft once and for all. Microsoft execs and engineers have even called this technology “the next killer app” but are muddled in their own problems.

The killer app comes from implementing the killer platform. The killer platform is when every device has the ability to link every physical item to the net

It won’t matter if you’re using a Dell, Nokia, Samsung, Kyocera or Treo. It won’t matter if you’re operating Windows XP, Linux, Apple, Symbian, Palm or Windows CE.

When you realize that the database of Phase 2 of the Internet is 1000 times greater than Phase 1, then you will know the applications that come with it will be endless and much, much more lucrative than advertising with a search engine.

The company that discovers this “platform” first will have the operating system for Phase 2 of the Internet.

Who wants to have the Windows for Phase 2 of the Internet?

Free Drinks Through SMS

From NetImperative Drinks industry cashes in on SMS vouchers.

Pub revellers will soon be able to receive complimentary drinks through their mobiles, following a deal between SMS marketing firm i-movo and entertainment network Inspired.

Using I-movo’s mobile marketing platform, drinks companies will be able to run voucher redemption schemes via text message using equipment that is already being used in bars and pubs.

Having opted in to the scheme, the customer receives a text message containing a unique voucher number for a free drink, with details of where and the time period when the voucher is valid.

The customer can then go to the itbox in the specified bar or pub and tap in the voucher number. A paper voucher is then printed out which can be exchanged for the item being promoted, eliminating the need to pay by cash or card.

The technology also tracks each coupon from issue to redemption so drinks companies overcome the problem of void or counterfeit vouchers.

The Future Is Callling

From Seattle PI The future is calling cell phones.

If you think all people are doing with those $250 cell phones are snapping photos and downloading J. Lo ringtones, you're a little out of touch.

News and entertainment companies from Maxim magazine and Sports Illustrated to CNN and the Food Network are developing content to make the screen on your cell phone look more like what you see when you surf the Internet or click on cable TV.

"The cell phone is transforming into a small, networked social computer," said Lewis Ward, analyst for IDC, the technology research firm that gathered those numbers. "What's happening is it's becoming the third screen. The first is the television screen, and the second is the screen of your PC."

They're beginning to see their cell phone as both a way to define their tastes and to pass time when they're on the bus, in the waiting room of the doctor's office or between flights on a business trip.

Wine Spectator magazine has introduced a subscription to a review database of 130,000 bottles of wine that cellular users can tap when they're in the grocery store or at a restaurant.

Driven in part by that expanding demographic, the North American market for mobile content will likely reach $14 billion by 2008, according to technology research group Strategy Analytics.

This is something that will go mass market," IDC's Ward said. "It's just a question of how long it will take. It's not a fad. It's not the Hula Hoop. It's already become an aspect of American culture."

Monday, January 24, 2005

Search Users Are Confused

Combine last weeks lawsuit that Le Meridien won over Google and this news today, I think search engine advertising revenue model is in for a major overhaul.

From Wired News Users confuse search results, ads.

NEW YORK -- Only one in six users of internet search engines can tell the difference between unbiased search results and paid advertisements, a new survey finds.

The Pew Internet and American Life Project reported Sunday that adults online in the United States are generally naive when it comes to how search engines work.

The major search engines all return a mix of regular results, based solely on relevance to the search terms entered, and sponsored links, for which a website had paid money to get displayed more prominently.

But only 38 percent of web searchers even know of the distinction, and of those, not even half --47 percent -- say they can always tell which are paid. That comes out to only 18 percent of all web searchers knowing when a link is paid.

I will have a piece out soon entitled "How Google closes the Gates to Microsoft". There is a way everybody wins in this scenario. Google could dominate search (as well as other apps) in the mobile space.

Pill Reminder Via SMS

From iTWeb Medication reminders via SMS.

Johannesburg, 24 January 2005] - Cape Town-based company SIMpill and telecoms partner Tellumat Communications have developed a solution for the wireless monitoring and support of patients on chronic medication.

“The SIMpill incorporates wireless technology to monitor and remind patients with chronic conditions to take their medication as prescribed, as well as enable health organisations to be more efficient and cost-effective in their patient care,” says SIMpill inventor Dr David Green.

“When a pill bottle is opened, it delivers an SMS to the central server. Immediately the server receives the incoming SMS, and if this is within the appointed time tolerance set for the patient, this message is stored for statistical purposes.

“Should no message be received, the server can produce a number of responses such as sending a reminder to the patient's handset, a family member, or a healthcare professional.”

Auction By SMS

What a great idea.

From 160 GSM launches SMS charity auction for UNICEF.

The first ever world wide charity auction by SMS has been launched by the GSM Association in aid of UNICEF. The auction runs until the GSM event in Cannes and includes a collection of items from the worlds of sport, the arts and entertainment

Donated by members and partners of the Association, the majority of the lots will be sold in a unique global text message auction - believed to be the first of its kind in the world. Contributors include: Fortune; KTF; Motorola; Nokia; NTTDoCoMo Inc.; O2; Orange Group; Orascom; Siemens; Telefonica Moviles; T-Mobile International; TIM; Turkcell; UNICEF; Virgin Mobile; Vodafone Group; CNBC Europe, Turisme De Barcelona and the GSMA’s auction messaging partner Netsize.

Among the highlights are weekend VIP packages at the Cannes Film Festival, the Tour de France and the British Grand Prix, along with signed football, rugby, golf, tennis, cricket, motorcycling, sailing, American football, television and music memorabilia from global stars, across the world.

While The GSM Association would have liked to have used premium rate SMS for the bids, the logistics of managing premium rate short codes for so many countries proved impossible.

Bids for the auction are sent to a standard UK based mobile number. For example to bid for the British Grand Prix VIP hospitality tickets, text: BID GRANDPRIX followed by your bid amount in Euros and send to +44 7786 201000 having first sent a registration message text by sending the word “register” followed by your “name” and “company name”.

International Convergence

From Irish messaging firm snaps up China company.

Irish Púca Technologies is to acquire Beijing based Mobile-Factor who provide a similar range of mobile messaging, data and mobile marketing services to Púca

Mobile-Factor, headquartered in Beijing, China, is a rapidly growing Chinese provider of mobile solutions including marketing applications, employee communications solutions and business-to-business messaging applications. Its clients include Nokia, GlaxoSmithKline, Total, as well as global advertising agencies such as Saatchi, Ogilvy and Grey.

Púca managing director, Eamon Hession comments, "Our strategy is to continue Púca’s growth by developing and expanding strong and profitable mobile applications businesses in high growth markets. Mobile-Factor’s business in China is a perfect strategic fit, as it is has access to the largest and one of the fastest growing mobile services markets in the world. Every month in China, mobile subscribers increase at a rate in excess of Ireland’s entire population! This merger gives Púca access to this exciting market."

By the end of 2005 it is expected that there will be over 400 million mobile users in China, making it by far the largest mobile market in the world. Hession believes that the newly enlarged company has a significant opportunity in China. "Mobile-Factor is one of the few companies with a national capability, combined with the experience, insight and focus needed to stake a claim on market leadership in the mobile business and marketing applications arena."

Google VOIP...This Could Be Huge

From Times Online UK Google gears up for a free phone challenge.

GOOGLE revolutionised the internet. Now it is hoping to do the same with our phones.
The company behind the US-based internet search engine looks set to launch a free telephone service that links users via a broadband internet connection using a headset and home computer.

The technology that will enable Google to move in on the market has been around for some time. Software by the London-based company, Skype, has been downloaded nearly 54 million times around the world but no large telecommunication firms have properly exploited it.

BT, which connects seven out of ten British households, has developed its own internet-telephone service. However, the telephone giant, which has the most to lose if the new technology takes off, has been reluctant to promote it heavily.

Julian Hewitt, senior partner at Ovum, a telecoms consultancy, said: “From a telecoms perspective there is a big appeal in the fact that Google is a search operation — and of course the Google brand is a huge draw.”

Mr Hewitt said that a Google telephone service could be made to link with the Google search engine, which already conducts half of all internet inquiries made around the world. A surfer looking for a clothes retailer could simply find the web site and click on the screen to speak to the shop.

By investing in capacity, Google could circumvent the problems of quality and reliability and guarantee better service.

Although Google is reluctant to talk about its plans, the logical use of such a network would be to help to support a new telephone service. The company would buy capacity cheaply, by taking up slack capacity left behind when the internet bubble collapsed in 2001.

Around the world, thousands of miles of fibre-optic cable remain unused because the amount of speculative development vastly exceeded demand. Such capacity would be available at rock-bottom prices today.

Google is right they aren't a portal. They could be the WWW part 2.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Top 10 Tech Trends..Text Messaging

From Always-On Text messaging to take over.

At a November 2004 Churchill Club event, AwaysOn creator and editor-in-chief Tony Perkins led a panel of tech and financial visionaries as they debated the top technology trends for the coming year. This is the seventh excerpt from that discussion.

Perkins: OK, No. 7, Esther [Dyson]: Americans will use cell phone text messaging for a variety of tasks, and vendor service providers will jump into the game for everything from personalized marketing to drug compliance.

Esther Dyson: (Ms. Dyson is chairman of EDventure Holdings.) To some extent, this is already happening (in the sense that vendors are jumping in), but we're way behind Europe and China in this. I think what's really happening here is that the Internet changes geography. Now, it's changing geography in the link between physical and virtual; it's getting more ubiquitous. It's not just the person sitting in front of you; people are linked to the internet as they move around—in their cars, wherever they go.

The other thing that's happening is time: Suddenly, the way you time things has changed dramatically. If you watch your kids, they don't schedule in advance. They say, 'I'll text you Friday night. I'll let you know where I am. Come find me.' The way people make appointments—I was sitting in the car coming down here with somebody who was doing his schedule with his wife by text—you no longer need to plan as much in advance, so that changes. Some [of this scheduling is done by] cell phone, but a lot of it's text, and as we get better calendaring systems, there's going to be more text stuff.

I also think there's going to be a huge number of text-based applications. For example, why can't you get a text message every time you or someone else tries to use your credit card? If somebody else is using it, you'd like to know. And if it's you, you just say so, no problem. I think in everything from fraud detection to being reminded to take your meds, finding out where your kid is, and knowing when the school bus is coming, these local mobile applications are going to grow dramatically.

Esther are you reading my blog?

Second, I think you're going to see a lot of photo blogging; multimedia messaging is going to grow as well.

Roger McNamee: (Mr. McNamee is the co-founder and managing director of Silver Lake Partners and Integral Capital Partners.) I'm going to need to get another three or four more things on my belt for all the things that were said.

Dyson: Can I ask the audience how many of you send text messages?

John Doerr: (Mr. Doerr is a partner with Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers.)

I think this is going on if you go to Google Mobile and type in send text message: pizza94025; this gets you a list of pizza parlors close to Palo Alto, Calif. But it's also possible that we might leap beyond this to richer applications in text.

Where I had a bit of difficulty and then derived some comfort was when you start adding photos and downloaded applications, because I think it's certainly true that if there is a next big thing we can find now, [it would be] these things that surround Roger's belt. What do you call that radiation belt? Van Allan Radiation? I really regret that Joe [Schoendorf] and Esther are sitting next to Roger ...

Joe Schoendorf: (Mr. Schoendorf is a partner with Accel Partners.) About half of you raised your hands when Esther asked how many of you send text messages. How many of you have kids? They're doing it all the time.

Doerr: The ones that have a lot of devices on their belt.

The Ask Jeeves Butler Leaves The Mansion

From The Standard Ask Jeeves developing wireless search service.

Looking to provide yet another way for users to tap its search capabilities, Ask Jeeves Inc. is developing new wireless search services to be launched this year, according to a company executive. Unlike competitors such as Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., Ask Jeeves currently doesn't offer a way for users to access its search engine via mobile devices, but that will change at some point before the end of 2005, said Daniel Read, Ask Jeeves' vice president of product management.

Although Google, Yahoo and others have rolled out wireless search services, Ask Jeeves believes this segment of the search market is still in its early days, Read said. In developing its wireless search services, Ask Jeeves will focus on providing very specific information to queries and not try to replicate the conventional Web searching experience, given the nature of wireless communications and devices, he said.

"A lot of search players have put traditional Web search on to wireless devices, but most of the Web pages you want to go to aren't rendered properly on a wireless device screen. So we're looking at rolling out specific search services for the wireless device," he said. For example, likely information Ask Jeeves could make available from its search arsenal to wireless devices includes local business listings and maps, Read said.

Wireless search wont really be search at all. It will involve interaction with the physical world. Nobody will want 10,000 listings for italian restaurants in Manhattan.

Try to think that search on the phone more like navigation. A navigation engine

After The Sale

From Keeping it it simple for users.

In all the hoo-hah last year about the 10th anniversary of the commercial Internet, one of the recurring themes was the fact that technology had developed to such a point that many of the initial promises of the Internet could now be fulfilled. One of the most exciting - as one of the guests at our advertising roundtable last summer pointed out - is being able to communicate with customers beyond the point of purchase.

It's long been known that it's far more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. It should also be true that your existing customers are among your hottest prospects for more sales. And while direct marketers will argue that this has always been territory that they've exploited, the Internet has provided us with a toolset that's far more economical to use and can be employed on a far greater scale.

Fortunately, we're not the only people with this problem. Offline retailers have been dealing with this in the physical world of shelves and aisles for years. But one of the issues surrounding the 'newness' of new media is that this industry often feels that it's too new to find solutions to its problems elsewhere. Online has seemed happy to reinvent the wheel, rather than look for advice from someone with experience offline. Part of the process of growing up will be changing that attitude.

Hey brands, turn on your barcodes. Those physical world hyperlinks will allow you to keep contact after the sale.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

The Frog(s) Beat Google

Great catch from John Battelle Google setback in France on trademarks.

From C/Net news Google loses trademark dispute in France.

A French court has ruled that Google must refrain from using the trademarks of European resort chain Le Meridian Hotels and Resorts to trigger keyword ads.

On Dec. 16, a Nanterre court in France ruled that Google infringed on the trademarks of Le Meridien by allowing the hotel chain's rivals to bid on keywords of its name and appear prominently in related search results. Le Meridien had sued Google's French subsidiary on Oct. 25 after failing to reach an amicable agreement, according to court documents.

In a blow to Google's keyword-bidding engine, the French court ordered the company to stop linking ads to Le Meridien-trademarked terms by Monday or face a daily fine of $194 (150 euros). The company must also cease linking ads related to Le Meridien brands within 72 hours of whenever Le Meridien notifies it of listings in violation, or face a daily fine of 150 euros. Finally, Google must pay all court fees and a fine of $2,592 (2,000 euros).

A representative of Mountain View, Calif.-based Google said the company will appeal the decision. "We will continue to defend against this suit, which we believe is without merit," the representative said.

The decision casts a shadow on Google's billion-dollar money engine, keyword-based advertising, and potentially on the company's financial prospects in Europe.

The company makes about 98 percent of its revenue from keyword advertising linked to search technology, and many such ads are tied to branded or trademarked names of products and services. The technique has been effective because Web search is one of the primary ways that people find products and services.

But as the company has grown precipitously and has planted seeds of expansion in markets around the world, more companies have sought control over their brand names and trademarked terms in paid search.

There soon will be a way that brands and trademark owners will have direct control.

In Europe, some courts have been favorable to trademark owners. Louis Vuitton sued Google and its French subsidiary for similar alleged trademark infringement, and a French court ordered Google to cease the practice and pay a fine.

In the United States, however, the company recently won a favorable ruling in a case brought by Geico, the car insurance company. In December, a judge in Virginia ruled that as a matter of law, Google's use of Geico trademarks to trigger ads did not constitute trademark infringement and that Geico had not proven its case for dilution sufficiently. Google still faces other copyright disputes, including one brought by American Blind and Wallpaper Factory.

Google there's a way you can make nice with trademark owners and share in a very lucrative market as well...are ya interested?

What if trademark owners could not only "control" the way their brand was being advertised but also direct the interested query to a specific site. Let's say Parker Meridien could direct the searcher (with a deal w/ Google) that would allow a "parker meridien" query to go to the hotel site, in the city of their choice, and offer them a free night with a purchase of two.

Or if by using a cell phone, parker was typed (Parker Meridien would have to register this word) and by location based system (gps), Parker sees a tourist in Manhattan and would like them to stay at the 56th street location.

Send a text to cell "buy one night get second free" and respond within 2 hours. Would Parker Meridien find this info useful? How much would they pay for it?

I know when do a search for ANY hotel I am bombarded with travel agencies leading me to deals. Some of these hotels I give up trying to find their site because Google gives me everything BUT the hotel site.

If I'm willing to pay retail (instead of the Expedias and Pricelines) I want to go right to the main site of the hotel, not these travel sites.

I see a big future for hotel chains wanting to register their "name" in a registry for a direct connect feature.

Because after all, I was searching for the hotel not travel sites that could offer me deals wasnt I?

Jessica Simpson On My Cell


Story released in Mass High Tech Chaoticom to supply EMI Music songs to European cell phones.

Chaoticom, an Andover-based mobile music provider, has announced a deal providing its carrier partners access to EMI Music's audio catalogue of full-length audio tracks for download to mobile handsets.

Chaoticom will have access to approximately 200,000 tracks in EMI Music's catalogue to make available over time to its carrier. No financial terms of the deal were disclosed.

"We are thrilled to offer EMI's rich music catalogue to our customers," said Adam Sexton, vice president, marketing and product management for Chaoticom, in a statement. "This deal builds on our commitment to deploying the strongest mobile music download platform in the industry and enable consumers to discover new music and download music over the air directly to their mobile phones."

From their mobile phones, Chaoticom users have the ability to conveniently browse for selected music favorites from current charts and catalogue selections. The service enables users to preview songs prior to purchasing them and downloading them over the air directly to their mobile handsets.

Chaoticom’s mobile music download services are available in five countries through providers including Orange (United Kingdom), Telenor (Norway), Eurotel (Czech Republic), Pannon (Hungary) and SingTel (Singapore).

Do It Right Simon,Paula And The Guy That Thinks Hes Skinny Now

From Ad American Idol draws record audience.

American Idol started Americans with the concept of texting, now heres their chance to create a great mobilemarketing campaign to get SMS accepted in the States.

NEW YORK ( -- A jazz-dancing janitor, a 17-year-old female boxer and a woman who pawned her wedding ring all helped the Fox Network draw its largest audience ever for a season premiere episode of American Idol.

According to early metered market data, the premiere of the fourth season of American Idol last night drew 33.45 million viewers and gained a 14 rating and a 33 share. By comparison, last week's highest rated show was CBS' CSI, which drew 27.5 million viewers.

Now when AI invites you to text in your favorite candidate, turn this info into an exciting campaign. It could be the catalyst for mobile marketing in the States.

Fox ran a total of 64 spots in the two-hour broadcast, not including promotions for Fox's own shows. The major advertisers included Burger King, Wal-Mart, H&R Block, Mitsubishi and a public service announcement for the government's anti-drug campaign.

I can think of dozens of ways Burger King could alone turn this data into a huge bonanza. Will the creative minds at BK "grill" this one or will they "fry"?

The Start Of Service Provider And Financial Convergence

From Wireless Week Boost launches prepaid Visa card.

I envision the service providers getting into the credit/lending business as soon as they figure out how to make impulse buying through the phone easy..Text to win, text to buy, click to buy, wave to's coming

Nextel Communications' youth lifestyle brand Boost Mobile is hoping to entice teens to load additional prepaid minutes onto their phones, and maybe even teach a little financial responsibility, with the introduction of the Boost Mobile Prepaid Visa Card.

The Visa card, made possible through a partnership with Next Estate Communications, can be used like a debit card to purchase Re-Boost airtime, as well as other goods and services where Visa is accepted. To entice cardholders to use the Visa to buy airtime minutes, customers will receive 10 percent in Boost Mobile bonus dollars applied to their prepaid wireless service account for each time airtime is purchased.

The Domain Race..But What Do You Really Win???

From Washington Race is on for control of key Internet domain.

The search for the next operator of "dot-net" -- the world's fourth largest Internet domain -- is officially underway, as bidders from around the world had until late last night to submit their applications to the group that oversees the Internet's global addressing system.

The Marina del Rey, Calif.-based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) will review the bids with the help of a soon-to-be-named third-party evaluator and choose the next operator for the ".net" registry sometime in March, subject to aproval by the federal government.

Whoever controls the registry controls the global master list of Internet addresses ending in ".net." It is home to roughly 5 million addresses (a fraction of the 35 million registered under ".com") but plays a critical role in a vast amount of important Internet traffic. ICANN's decision has far-reaching implications for the Internet, and the world's largest high-tech firms are watching the competition closely.

One of the most vocal bidders has been VeriSign itself. In 1999, VeriSign inked deals with ICANN and the federal government that effectively ensured that the company would maintain control of .com in perpetuity. In return, VeriSign -- which once held a government-approved monopoly over the entire domain-name market -- agreed to relinquish exclusive control over ".org" (the world's fifth largest domain) and .net.

Maybe I dont get it but what is the prize if you win? Access to revenue from a commodity like product? Dot net, dot org, dot com, dot mobi, dot whatever.

If im really interested in winning the "race" I want to have access to the registry that will register every barcode, every RFID tag, every spoken word, every sound.

There are over 3 billion unique barcodes out there now ready to be registered, and estimates say more than 10 billion RFID tags will have been sold by year end.
Each RFID tag will have its own domain too as well as a barcode.
Those figures make the current website population seem miniscule. Thats the race I would want to win

Point-N-Buy Devices

From The Mobile phones turned into point'n'buy devices.

A CONSORTIUM of technology companies is about to turn mobile phones into high-tech wallets.
The technology will let people make cash payments from their phones simply by pointing them at the object they want to buy.

Known as Near Field Communication, it has been jointly developed by Philips and Sony s expected to be available for use early next year.

The system, which is being introduced by Philips, Sony, Nokia, Samsung and the credit card company Visa, exploits a new development in the retail industry supply chain called Radio Frequency ID which is replacing bar codes.

Implementing this will happen with bar codes being "turned on" first though. It will take years before RFID tags are in every fast moving good. To start though, users will click on a barcode, or type in a specific word to be directed to a specific site of the manufacturer. Then a simple one-click and purchase is made.

The RFID tag is kind of already there w/ a bar code now. It is universal (same number has the same info everywhere) and each code will be used as a hyperlink soon. So instead of building a better mousetrap, use the one (cameraphone) that works now. The camera on the phone acts as an optical character recognition like an RFID tag reader will.

RFID allows companies to place tiny computer chips in individual items so they can be tracked and also opens a host of new high tech applications such as packages that can tell your fridge when they are about to go off.

By putting a tiny reader for the RFID chips in a mobile phone that uses the NFC radio system the phones can 'see' the RFID chips when they are placed close to them.

By working with Visa, Philips and Sony have been able to also build the 'chip and pin' computer chips now issued as standard on credit cards so that the phone can buy any object it is placed against.

Pressing a button on the phone will authorise the purchase potentially making cash tills a thing of the past

Home Shopping Network Goes Interactive

From St Petersburg Times. HSN to introduce shopping by remote.
Subscribers to premium cable TV can push a button and order a movie. So when will they be able to click their remote and buy some gemstones on Home Shopping Network?

The ultimate in impulse shopping would be quite simple.

"If you see something you want on HSN, just click your remote," McInerney said.

Customers would have to register in advance with their credit or debit card numbers, mailing address and other shipping particulars. The cable company would provide a specially programmed set-top box that would carry safeguards to prevent misuse. The financial and operational details are being worked out. (HSN pays for its presence on cable and satellite TV.)

The promise of interactive TV - where the customer can talk back electronically to the TV - was supposed to be "the next big thing" back in the early 1990s. Many cable executives used the vision of a TV viewer watching sitcoms and clicking "buy it" on any piece of apparel the star was wearing or any piece of decor on the set as part of their pitch to raise billions to upgrade the nation's cable infrastructure.

While some customers only buy from the Web site, the network has found that most HSN customers shop through the TV programs and the Web site. Some buy while watching TV, but use the Web site for product research or to buy products not sold on TV. Some watch HSN with a computer on their lap tuned to Others stick only to, which broadcasts HSN live in streaming video.

How about this, have users register thru their phone. The database can be used for promotion ideas on other items.

"HSN Buy Parties". Im sure women can think of ways to gather to watch HSN and now each could bring their phone and buy separately while watching HSN.

I think its just a matter of time where companies use the 1-click buy method (made famous by Amazon) to incorporate interactive buying through TV. You wont need a special cable box, just register with the company or credit card, and send a text to buy through the TV ad.

Heres how I think the service providers will expand into the credit biz. Register your cell phone w/ your credit card and now the impulse buying will even be greater. Either text to buy or scan a bar code to buy, or wave your phone over an interactive tag (RFID).

The easier you make it for people to purchase, and this would sure be easy, the more sales you can generate with a creative advertising campaign.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Mercedes Tops Em All

BMW, Corvette used a toll free number to get the permission to market their new models to cell phone users, but Daimler Chrysler is doing it better.

From Just Smart claims a first for text message response system to TV advertising.

DaimlerChrysler's Smart has become the first car manufacturer in the UK, and possibly the world, to use SMS responses in its TV advertising, allowing viewers to arrange test drives, request brochures or locate dealers by sending text messages from their mobile phones.

Following a successful trial in print media, Smart UK is using SMS response for its latest TV advertising campaign for the ForFour. Consumers text ‘Join in’ to an on-screen five-digit number to request a test drive.

Its really called "opt-in" by advertisers.

They then text their name, house number and postcode to receive details of their nearest dealer, and can request a brochure and a phone call to arrange the test drive. The data is validated by supplier TXT4 and sent to Smart’s contact centre for action.

TXT 4 said new research indicates that SMS is consumers’ preferred method of responding to TV advertising, as it takes seconds and does not interrupting viewing.

Not only did they get the user to include his address and name but by using their cell phone the advertiser has an immediate way to reach this person..anytime, anywhere.

I Want My ITV !!

From PR Web First cell phone driven interactive TV programming in US market.

Hollywood, CA (PRWEB) January 19, 2005 -- Travertine Entertainment, an interactive television production company, announced today that it will introduce its innovative SMS-TV at the 2005 NATPE Conference & Exhibition, January 25 through 27, 2005, at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The announcement was made today by Alan Toman, president of Travertine Entertainment.

Interactive SMS-TV programming gives broadcast TV viewers the ability to chat, vote or even control the outcome of a show and see it all on the television screen in real time.

“We’re very excited to be introducing this breakthrough television experience to the U.S. at NATPE,” said Toman. “Now that anyone with a text-enabled cell phone can participate in interactive broadcast programming, there really is unlimited potential for success, both for interactive television and for reaching the 18-34 yr old U.S. market, that segment that absolutely embraces text messaging.”

And what happens when every 18-34 yr old texts the the TV show for input? Travertine gets an instant database that they can advertise to..anytime, anywhere.
Now do you see how this opt-in thingie will work and what type of data you get?

Sending the text is considered the PULL part of advertising and with that comes the opt-in.

For example, let's say The Apprentice uses this SMS text idea to determine who will get fired this week. "Send a text to 1111 and vote for Bill or Kwami"...Now Donald Trump the self congratulating man that he is, will then use this data to market his bobble head doll. He now knows the cell phone number of every person that provided input to his show.

The PUSH part comes by advertising the bobble head doll to the phone.

See how valuable this will be?

This is how mobile advertising starts. Before you click on a barcode and go to a website, you need to start the SMS text messaging campaign.

It's Push Vs. Pull...Push Won't Work

An interesting article today from Techdirt on Circuit City's new advertising within the store concept.

Brick and mortar retailers are waking up to the fact that they're competing against online retailers, and are now doing plenty of things to try to make the in-store shopping experience better or to merge the two, in yet another example of how the analog and digital worlds are merging.

The latest can be seen in plans by Circuit City to really change the way they handle selling products to customers. On the web side, they want to go beyond "buy online, pickup at the store" (which they already offer) to "buy online, have a Circuit City employee, wearing Circuit City clothes in a Circuit City van deliver the product to you."

Even more interesting, though, is the idea of handing out a set of headphones to every customers who walks in the store that tracks their locations and feeds them additional info about products, offers special promotions and can connect users to a live sales representative.

You're invading their space already, dont expect them to wear a headset too.

That's right, rather than having an in-store employee tapping you on the shoulder to see if you found everything you were looking for, that sales person may be completely virtual or possibly based in a call center halfway around the world. Obviously, if you don't want that, it's pretty simple to agree not to put the headphones on at all. What's more interesting, though, is to take this concept one step further.

Why do you need Circuit City's headphones?

Why not do it over your mobile phone, and have it be sales people at a different store with offers to entice you to buy from them instead.

It's already being done now.

Or, even, a comparison shopping service that can tell you that if you leave the Circuit City right now and go to Best Buy down the street, they'll promise you a 10% discount on that TV you're looking at. Obviously, the store owners won't like the idea of a "competitive" sales person in the store with them, but it's hard to see how they'll ban all mobile phones in their stores without losing a lot of customers.

Circuit City is trying to push too much advertising to the consumer. Instead, allow the consumer to pull info from selected products. How do you pull info from products? Yes, you use a mobile phone to retrieve the desired info based on a physical world hyperlink.

I purposely avoid Sound Advice just because I see the salesmen drool inside the front door waiting to hound the consumer. Too much Push not even Pull.

More Physical World Hyperlinking

From Mobile Weblog.

I wrote a feature for Net Imperative last year that proposed that an important aspect of location based services will be real world hyperlinks that you "click" on with your camera phone to explore the virtual world behind it. This works in much the same way as if you click here you can read my original article.

Clicking in that instance was done with a camera phone reading a bar code. But there are clearly other ways of tackling this. It could be with a virtual hypertext graffito, like I wrote about yesterday. Or, if Hartmut Neven of The Information Sciences Institute is to be believed, it could be done with a fiendishly clever photo recognition service that he describes as a "visual Google".

I appreciate it's very early days and Mr Neven openly admits the problem with scale. But we do need to be asking some of these questions if the real world hyperlinking concept can take off. Maybe, in the short term, bar codes are a useful work around, before the visual Google concept takes over.

Real world hyperlinks will take off but in order to do so , they must be universal in nature. The same number, word, image must be recognizable by all, not just some with a certain service. Take a universal database (ie barcodes, fingerprints, rfid tags) and assign a website to them. The barcode on a can of Coke is the same in NY as it is in Florida. The guy clicking on the barcode will be directed to the same place.

The idea that all images will have their own database is a great one, but very futuristic. There are still way too many variables involved to get the universal aspect down on an image...light, distance, clarity.

Great idea though and im sure it will be done eventually. I think by the time they create the database for every image, there will already be an rfid tag on that image and it will be much easier to wave your phone near it instead of taking a picture and looking it up in a database. It will be more reliable and quicker.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Corvette Was First But Will BMW Market Better?

From PR Newswire BMW offers sneak peak of New 3 Series using mobile phone technology.

Corvette did something similar to this with their Z car a few weeks back.

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- BMW is offering consumers an
innovative first-look at its new 3 Series model via their mobile phones.
The new BMW 3 Series is set to launch this Spring, however those eager to
enjoy a preview of BMW's upcoming offering can call 703-286-BMW3 on mobile
phones equipped with internet access
to see, hear and experience the new car.

The micro-website includes new photos, graphics and product information on the
new car and consumers may also choose to receive future updates on the 3
Series via their cellular phone as the car nears its launch.

"By marketing via cellular phones, BMW is taking the lead in building
deeper and more satisfying relationships with their customers," said Lou
Schultz, chairman, Boomerang Mobile Media.

Now what happens to all of those people that call for this info on their mobile phone. They are indirectly giving BMW permission to market their products. This is the equivalent to getting those mail-in cards, or call-in biz for telemarketers.

What does BMW do w/ this data? Will they use discretion when marketing? Either way BMW just got one huge databank of interested customers w/ an 800 number.

The Future Of The Internet

In a survey, technology experts and scholars evaluate where the network is headed in the next ten years.

Interesting read Future of the Internet.

Some tidbits I found of interest.

"Connections across media, entertainment, advertising and commerce will become stronger with future margins going to a new breed of 'digital media titans'..Well branded innovators such as Google and Strabucks have a chance to build all-new distribution models tied to ad revenue and retail sales"

"Health care is apporxiamately 10 years behind other endeavors in being transfromed and will experience its boom in the next 10 years".

"Digitization and the Internet make for a potent brew"

"The 'always-on' internet combined with computers talking to computers will be a more profound transformation of society than what we've seen so far"

Monday, January 17, 2005

What Happens When You Combine 6 of Top 10 Innovations?

Thanks to Mobile Weblog for the alert.

CNN listed the top 25 innovations for the past 25 years.

Heres the list.
The Top 10 I thought was eye=opening.

1. The Internet
2. Cell phone
3. Personal computers
4. Fiber optics
5. E-mail
6. Commercialized GPS
7. Portable computers
8. Memory storage discs
9. Consumer level digital camera
10. Radio frequency ID tags

What happens when you can combine 1,2,3,5,6,9,10... I would think that would be a pretty powerful device.

Chances are you'll have one in your pocket within the next 2 years.

Tags or Bar Codes?

From Business wire. PSC's 5500-B RFID reader enables attendees on-site to fully experience RFID applications in the "X05 smart store".

PSC, Inc., an international data-collection technology and services provider, will participate with IconNicholson in the National Retail Federation's 2005 EXPO to enable attendees to fully experience the RFID applications developed by IconNicholson for the "X05 smart store".

PSC's Falcon 5500-B is currently in selected alpha trials will be used to commission attendee badges at the EXPO so they can experience X05 to its full potential. The Falcon 5500-B emerged from PSC's popular Falcon line, a durable, mobile computing family of products.

This mobile hybrid computer handheld has the ability to read both barcodes and EPCGlobal standard UHF RFID tags.

The handhelds are being used in IconNicholson's RFID Center of Excellence in New York City and reflect the next step in PSC's "generational" approach to emerging trends in the dynamic retail industry.

Symbian's Best Apps?

From SymbianOne Nokia, Sendo, Siemens and Symbian Challenge Finalists announced.

The Series 60 Challenge, sponsored by Nokia, Sendo, Siemens and Symbian, generated 138 registrations in total from all over the world. Finalists have been announced with winners to be selected and announced next month at Series 60 Gala to be held in Nice
The Series 60 Challenge team, with the support of a team of experts, spent the first two weeks of January testing and analyzing the submissions. On Thursday, January 13, 2005, the Series 60 Challenge Jury selected the finalists.

The Series 60 Challenge team would like to thank everyone who took part in the competition. The majority of the submitted entries were innovative concepts and professionally done. It was an exciting and rewarding time to review the entries.

Best Media/Music App

Scanbuy Inc. - scanZOOM: scanZOOM is a solution that allows customers to access multiple content with their camera phone. By pointing at a bar-code with their camera, consumers capture and decode that information, then transmit it to the scanZOOM middleware platform that will obtain and reformat multiple content related to the product bar-code.

It's nice to see a mobile OS recognize this application.

"Now Turn And Cough"...

From DM Europe Cough tones advertising.

Millions of people in the UK can expect to be struck down with colds or flu at some point this winter - with the average person catching cold between two and five times a year. But next time you're on the train and hear that irritating cough, it may actually be a phone ringing!

Buongiorno Vitaminic, the Italy-based mobile aggregator, has devised an unusual mobile advertising campaign for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer's Benelyn cough medicine that turns a mobile phone's ring-tone into a coughing sound.

The campaign's so-called Cough Tones are an attention-grabbing part of a Benylin campaign to encourage people to identify the type of cough they have and choose the appropriate remedy

Visitors to the site can select one of three free Cough Tones - dry and tickly, loud and chesty or a mixture of both - which is then sent to their mobile.

The site itself is designed to educate customers about coughs and remedies and also includes a free SMS service to send "stop coughing" messages to cough-afflicted friends or colleagues.

Seek And Ye Shall Find

From Vodfone 3G customers get find and seek.

Europe : Mobile Commerce announced that it has updated and extended the Vodafone Live! `Find and Seek` service as well as launching a 3G version, which features Multimap``s content rich maps.

The updates allow Vodafone customers to organise activities from cosying up to Tom Cruise in their preferred cinema, to locating a sports bar to watch the world cup qualifiers in - all direct from their mobile phone. In total, Mobile Commerce has enhanced the ``Find and Seek`` offering with an additional 31 services ranging from clubbing information to hotel reservations.

The service, available to 3G customers, is a very visual experience. Users who select ``Find and Seek`` from the Live! menu are presented with a map based on their current location. Users are then presented with a list of five service types in the vicinity.

The selection of services presented to users is dependent upon the time of day so, in the evening services include bars, restaurants and cinemas, whereas services promoted during the day include services like coffee shops. From this screen, users select the service they require and are then provided with more details. So, for example, if they wish to see a film, they select ``cinema.`` The service then locates the nearest cinema and advises the user of show times and prices for the latest release. To help users who are having trouble choosing between films, the service also provides access to reviews and even trailers, bringing 3G customers closer than ever before to their favourite stars of the big screen.