Ad supported mobile phones will never work!

Just saw an announcement that MySpace will launch an ad supported mobile phone here and here. Other initiatives are rising from Fox (Foxsport), Photobucket etc.

Forget about it. I personally don’t think it will work anytime soon. Why? Because the mobile phone has become a lifestyle object. It represents our personal individuality. It is used as a personal remote control to our lives. I doubt that there would be many people letting their private space be invaded by ads in that manner. Sure, there will be more ads when mobile Internet is introduced. But I’m not showing of my free MySpace mobile to my friends (loser!). And lets face it. Competition is so high now that the mobile phone rates are dropping fast. I don’t need or want the add scheme to get a free mobile.


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11 Responses to Ad supported mobile phones will never work!

  1. Gonzo says:

    You probably want to say
    “Ad supported mobile phones will never work!”
    Or am I missing something ?

  2. Alexander van Elsas says:

    You are right! Spell error. Sorry about that.

  3. Pingback: Markus Goebel's Tech News Comments

  4. Alexander van Elsas says:

    Hi Markus,

    thanks for your post. It clears things up nicely. sort of supports the point I’m trying to make doesn’t it? I can’t think that many people would be prepared to accept advertising with every SMS. I hope the advertisement is not outbound, that if you send an SMS to a good friend, he gets advertisement in it. That would be really awful. But I assume it is only inbound, annoying still.

  5. As always, context and relevance is key. Finally, we now find the Gmail ads pretty useful. If I SMS you for “hey, let’s meet up for drinks downtown” – and we both get a promotion code for a bar – then that wouldn’t be so bad. So dont think Ads – think promotions.

  6. Alexander van Elsas says:

    Srini, I agree that promotions might work (in a few cases). But I don’t think that it is possible to run a positive business case by providing few promotions. The ad or promotion pressure on the user will be large, and that won’t do on your mobile communication. It is the remote control of your life. Commercials don’t fit there.

  7. Brin says:

    Hello, nice site 🙂

  8. Tommy says:

    I disagree. I think that if you can provide users with relevant, location based info – and you compensate them for receiving it – they will want it.

    Google puts advertising all over the web, and you tolerate it and don’t even get anything for it. If you are compensated for relevant info – then its a value adding service.

    Check out for example. Provide income for relevant based mobile advertising. It’s opt-in but you can receive all sorts of coupons and the like. I use it and have got around $10 so far and saved probably $100 in deals and offers.

    My 2 cents 🙂

  9. Alexander van Elsas says:

    Hi Tommy. Thanks for your input. I think the reason Google gets away with advertisement is that the advertisement itself provides value to a user when he uses the Google search engine. That same advertisement when I am e-mailing a friend would not work. In the mobile space, advertisment might sometimes be useful, for example with your suggestion of location based information. But it would not always work. If you get advertisement while messaging a friend, or advertisement while interacting via a site like MySpace, the advertisement would get into the way. If your friends are hassled by advertisement because you choose a cheaper, but ad-based phone, they would consider you a spammer. Not good. So the business model for ad-based mobile phones is too thin to make it work. the ad pressure on the user would have to be too large for it to be profitable.

  10. Andrew Hanson says:

    Alexander you say

    “That same advertisement when I am e-mailing a friend would not work.”

    But google AdSense is right next to all your email if you use the web base Gmail interface. There it can be useful as well.

  11. @Andrew that is true. But honestly, I have never actually “seen” any of it. I don’t really process it because I’m e-mailing 😉

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