Sunday, April 26, 2009

Even the rumor of a Verizon iPhone could be a really good thing

Rumors are circulating that with the upcoming expiration of Apple's exclusivity with AT&T, Apple could very well be in talks with Verizon.

Apple could not possibly go wrong in developing a CDMA version of the iPhone for distribution on Verizon's network. Apple would not only gain access to an additional 80 million subscribers, but also to a significantly more robust 3G network. It is also very likely that Verizon has been looking to deploy the next generation of mobile broadband, Long Term Evolution. This would provide a much improved platform for the iPhone to really demonstrate its potential. In addition Apple would also gain expertise that could be used to access other networks. While only a minority compared to GSM operators, many operators worldwide still have CDMA networks deployed.

I, for one thing, will not be holding my breath, however. Verizon has a history of completely controlling the specifications of any device that touches its network. Branding will also probably be a point of contention during negotiations between the two power houses. Not to mention the app store, which is the ultimate antithesis to Verizon's tightly controlled walled garden. Another factor will be the technology itself. CDMA is a technology that was developed by Qualcomm, to whom Apple would have to pay royalties.

Regardless of the outcome, I am very much looking forward to the pressure that this threat will place on AT&T to improve its service.

Other related links: TechCrunch, Macrumors, Engadget

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Why Gmail for mobile is so bad

Because access to your product is just as, if not more important than the product itself.

To get to Gmail on my LG phone I first I discovered via my computer browser (here) that I must go to So far this was alright, except that this is an entirely new concept to Google. Until recently their mobile URL was

After navigating to I select Gmail from the menu and boom! I am supposed to be there, right? Well, no, actually. Instead I get to a page with some confusing messaging:

The 1st message is a link that reads "Visit Now". And if I click on that link I get to the Gmail login page.

So my question is WHY not just take me there in the first place?!

The 2nd message is "The Gmail application does not work on your phone, however you can access Gmail on the go by using the web version." Hmm...

a) Then why show me the "visit now" link?
b) Then how come the "visit now" link does work for me?
c) If the mobile version does not work, then why would the web version work on my phone?
e) Why not just take me to whatever version works in the first place?!

In short I should be able to access Gmail in two simple ways:

1. By going to and selecting Gmail. That is all. Redirection works well on mobile browsers too.

2. By navigating directly to The Web site should not give out the URL like it does now. It is simply too long to type into a small mobile device.

It's all quite simple, isn't it?

Looking to advertise on your mobile site?

Here is the rundown on how different mobile advertising networks can help you monetize your mobile site.

The space is divided into the following categories:

Global ad networks with a broad footprint: with these networks one can get the widest reach possible - i.e. ads will be served for almost every market in the world but CPMs will be suboptimal. Examples are Admob, Admoda, and Mobile Google Ad Sense.

Regional networks with coverage of several countries: these networks are focused around certain geographies. Through this approach they promise access to local advertisers, and therefore to deliver higher CPM and fill-rates. Some examples are: Mkhoj (India, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia) and Quattro Wireless (US, Canada, UK).

Local networks: these providers would undoubtedly deliver the highest CPM's and very decent fill rates. Unfortunately these could have dry spells, especially during this economy, during which they may not have any campaigns whatsoever. If your property has a global footprint and you have business development resources it is definitely worth it to go after these partners. Make sure your site's ad serving platform is able to quickly shift traffic in a moment's notice if fill rates for one network fall below acceptable levels.

Network Optimizers: their value proposition is that they aggregate many of the ad networks described above and for a decent, but higher, share of the CPM they will serve ads from the providers that are likely to deliver the highest CPMs and fill rates possible. Another advantage of using these optimization networks could be a one-time versus multiple integrations. This point should be taken with caution because you do not want put all of your eggs in one basket. Examples are Nexage and AdMarvel.

Other big names mobile advertising networks are (most are limited to a few geographic markets):

Ad Infuse

Ring Ring Media (UK)
BuzzCity (US, part of Africa, part of South East Asia, and India)
Mobile-Worx (Zest Ads) - mostly India
Third Screen Media
Third Screen Media
Milennial Media

Dealing and integrating with one or, ideally, multiple of these companies can be complicated as there are very few or no standards in mobile advertising. If your inventory justifies it having a dedicated resource to manage advertising on your mobile site can really help optimize revenues.