Friday, October 24, 2008

What do you mean when you say "Open"? (or: On Verizon's 3 cents per MT SMS)

What does Open mean to you?
Whenever a US operator talks about being "Open", or the need to be more "Open", I think of a bank vault, tightly shut. I think of Harry Houdini strapped real tight.

I'm sure many of you have been following the fiasco around Verizon's raise of 3 cents per MT SMS. Today they pulled it back, after the industry stood on its back feet. (BTW- do you think it's gone? I don't!)

When I read Mobile Marketers summary of this chapter and the commentary from SumoText's CEO, I can't help but feel sorry for all of us trying to sensibly operate in the US. I feel sorry because what we're after is not going to come through evolution, we need it to come from a larger force, through revolution. someone has to change the rules of the game.

The point is that, if you want a successful mobile ecosystem you have to make it look inviting to people from the outside, who have deep pockets. and like it or not, those people are uninterested in reading 77-pager documents from each carrier about how to apply for a shortcode program. They are simply not interested, as much as mobile might look attractive. And so the real mission is to make mobile look like other models that they know, like the web, but with far better conversion rates, targeting and measurement, at a comparable cost.

Deals will not get signed if the other side is anxious about a 3rd party in this ecosystem that feels they can raise their hands and force a major change just like that, whatever they like because they control the underlying infrastructure. Millions of dollars will go to IVR technology companies (no offense) because they are rely only on voice channels that can't be touched. Imagine Comcast told Unilever that every time one of their brands show an ad over Comcast network, they need to pay $0.03? that's unacceptable and unheard of.

As long as these are the rule of the game, no serious advertiser will look at the US mobile ecosystem as a strategic investment. I was hoping Nokia would have changed that, they didn't. Then came Apple and married themselves to AT&T. and then came "Open" Google and married themselves with T-Mobile.

I am really fed up with people using the word "open" for nothing.

This morning Mobile Marketer has this post on "Ensure SMS messages comply with carrier rules".
Let me share a few quotes:
"Ensuring your SMS messages are compliant with carrier rules is not as straightforward as you would think.

The level of inconsistency and mixed interpretation is mainly due to a lack of oversight and standardization in the industry...carriers have attempted to protect themselves, which is ultimately positive for consumers, but a pain for marketers"

great piece.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Another DUH moment

Is mobile music business sluggish??
Textually posted this post titled "Mobile Music Business Sluggish?".
Firstly I'd say, although the title is a legitimate question, it proposes something that clearly ignores the reality of making business in mobile media in the US. Not to mention suggesting that the mobile music as a whole is sluggish based on US survey results...c'mon

Here's a couple of pearls from it:
"...only five percent of U.S. mobile subscribers side load tunes from their computer while less than half of that, two percent, download tracks over the air, despite the emergence of online stores from Nokia, Jamba and MusicStation..."

Why is anyone surprised that in the US, consumers aren't aware or interested in getting multimedia on their phones? that direct-to-consumer initiatives are well behind those in EU, for example (despite large marketing budgets and fantastic technologies) ? have you NOT been reading about Verizon 3 cents-per SMS cost rise stunt just a few days ago (as example)? There's a reason why even established, strong D2C players had not penetrated the US market, and we all know what that reason is.

which leads to the next quote:

"about 66 percent of respondents to a recent survey said nothing would motivate them to listen to music on a mobile."

Oh sure. Spending another $100 or more on a music player when your phone could do the same or better job playing music makes a lot of sense when you're 22 and barely paying your rent.

No. There's a reason for this survey result and it has to do with consumer awareness and expectations.
In a recent local focus group I ran, 6 out of 8 22-year old interviewees did not know they could put music on their phone and listen to it as they please, or faced infinite trouble doing it. They said: "I DIDN'T KNOW I COULD DO THAT" or "I couldn't do it"

It's incredibly difficult for D2C players to raise consumer awareness and expectations, and that's no coincidence. Second, even if the consumer knew how to load music to their phone, they would usually be blocked from doing it, unless they have 5-inch thick geek glasses to figure it out.

Close with this related comment from a different post:
"Whilst MNOs such as Vodafone carry on pushing further into mobile advertising, several major advertising agencies continue to express the significant disconnect between their wish to involve the mobile channel as part of an overall campaign and the technological hurdles involved."

Need I say more?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Why Selling Music Still Matters... and Free Means Paid (Reblogged from Digital Music News)

Go read this great article by Paul's a couple of great snippets:

"...(traditional music revenue channels plummet) This raises the question of whether artists are smarter to give away their recordings, and focus on more lucrative areas of the value chain. Instead of charging 99-cents for an MP3, why not charge $9 for a t-shirt, and $29 for a concert ticket from a stronger flow of fans?"

"Of course, from the non-diversified label perspective, the recording is an all-important component of the business model."

"... (new ways to approach music and music-related "products") Those are ingredients for a deeper, more engaged connection with fans, a critical aspect of successful marketing strategies. Some artists like Radiohead enjoy massively-connected fan relationships, while others are just starting the process. Either way, panelists agreed that artists carrying a strong connection with their fans gain more in the marketplace."

That's exactly what Adva Mobile is all about.

Text McAlister to 70734 and try it yourself.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Adva Mobile tonight @ Church Hear Now Live show

Adva Mobile at another great HearNowLive show tonight

Tonight on stage...Old Jack, Someday Rome, DPR, Tony Macsata band & Hot Knives...looking fwd to it! Another great HeaNowLive event!


The new RIM Storm: BB features+touch screen & usability...YUM!!

The new RIM Storm: BB+Touch...YUM!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

iSkoot/mSkype is OFF MY PHONE!

Recent family health issues required me to stay in touch with remote family on the go. I figured this is finally a great way to put the iSkoot app (which never really worked before, as I could never login) to work.
As soon as I launched the application I managed to login...yay! few minutes of contacts sync etc., I was a happy bunny. Sometime later, it wanted to download a new version, fair enough. download, install reboot, all's fine.
re launch the application, need to login again...ok, and I get this error message: "You're logged in on a different phone"...WHAT?? I don't have a different phone!

So I wait a few minutes and try again. logged in ok, and contacts resync, I tried calling a Skype contact. Healthy dial tone...two tones sounds and the Skype operator goes: "Could not connect your call, please try again later"...

So I try dialing through Skype out to another number, thinking "I AM WILLING TO PAY"...same error message. and so on and so on. Couldn't do anything with it.

I did get a spam chat request though from someone offering me a glipmse of her private parts.

whatever this app is called, Skype or iSkoot, it's off my phone for good.
I'm shopping for cheap international call mobile solutions, open for recommendations!