Monday, May 11, 2009

New Ad-supported MVNO: Tomato Plus

I'm reading this morning about Tomato Plus, a new Ad-supported MVNO in Croatia. Those of you reading my posts know that I'm a believer in a change of the business model to have advertisers pay for targeting information happily provided by subscribers, who get value in return.

"The basic consumer offering is getting 50 free sms and 50 free minutes of calling every month, “in return” for receiving 5 or 6 sms or mms ads per day. I say “in return” because it doesn’t seem as if the consumer feels as if they’re putting up with unwanted ads, as this might imply. Quite the opposite in fact, with research showing that 92% of subscribers are very happy and most ads having high response rates - even higher than Blyk claim, which is already impressive."

Read more here.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

our first partnership: ArtistData

I'm more than excited to announce our first partnership, with ArtistData. Not only because it's big news for Adva Mobile, but also because ArtistData's service is so spot-on: giving musicians a service that enables them to enter shows, news, blogs and other assets once, and automatically aggregate that information to other sites. It's the right approach for musicians, who are already sufferring from lack of time to deal with self-promotion on multiple sites.

This integration will allow musicians to bring their assets from ArtistData automatically to their mobile fan club on Adva Mobile. It will happen automatically daily (you need to set it up on both sites). 

I think it's very cool and hope a lot of musicians will benefit from it. Certainly a step in the right direction, for everyone.

You can read more details here.

Reporting content downloads: geeks area

Hi everyone,
here's a little contribution to the world from yours truly. This time, highly geeky (beware!).

I had a problem where I needed to report content downloads by mobile phones. Most mobile browsers I know do not allow download and redirect, or vice versa, which would have been nice, as I'd report on the download into the database before or after the actual download happens.

Then I turned to the generic reporting service that my hosting provider has. They have two services they use for reporting. One's a fancy service (smartstats), but in my host environment, their API wasn't installed.
The second option was to go to the raw log files. Easy peasy. Well, not that easy:
- The log files live in a hidden system folder
- The logs are zipped, and host (which is shared) doesn't have an unzipping solution installed in their GAC. You need a 3rd party (ideally free) unzipping utility (I'm using .Net) that can live in the bin folder.

Locating the unzip utility was easy, and I found a great one (kudos!) here. I didn't deal with the documentation and went right for the 'reduced' dll version since I figured if I'm only unzipping a file, that would be sufficient. looks like it worked.

The next piece was to grab the zip files somehow. That was a pain and a waste of time. I tried to go for FTP, but counldn't figure it out. Eventually I found this 3-line piece which did the trick.

Here's a snippet of the relevant pieces of the code for your convenience (below). It's missing one important thing: clean up the files once you're done.

Enjoy! (Hope this will save you some time if you're having similar challenges)
public static processZipFile()
        string zipFileName = "ex"+ t.AddDays(-1).ToString("yyMMdd"),
        // temporary folder the zip file has been saved at
tempPath = AppDomain.CurrentDomain.BaseDirectory + "templog\\";
        // get the zip file from the hidden folder on the server    
// open the file for unzipping
            Ionic.Zip.ZipFile zip = ZipFile.Read(tempPath + zipFileName + ".zip");
            foreach (ZipEntry e in zip)
// unzip the file
                e.Extract(tempPath, true);
// do what you need to do with the file

// get the zip file from the remote server and copy it to a temporary folder

    public static void copyOver(string fileName)
        WebClient wc = new WebClient();
        wc.Credentials = new NetworkCredential("username", "password");
        wc.DownloadFile(""+fileName+".zip", AppDomain.CurrentDomain.BaseDirectory + "templog/"+fileName+".zip");

Monday, May 4, 2009

Trent (NIN) head butting Apple over iPhone app rejected: Can he make a dent?

(read hereTrent head butting with Apple over rejected iphone app
Finally someone with enough marketing power and following goes through what we've been seeing for at least half a decade: the senseless censorship that is mandated in the mobile world. It's unheard of and unbelievable for traditional web marketers. I've seen this for a while now, specifically in the independant music world: almost every band has some content that doesn't match exactly the rules. is the answer not to serve them, or even worse, their audience?!. As Rich Miner said recently: "Nobody protects me when I'm browsing on my PC, why are they protecting me when I'm mobile-browsing?".

The answer is that this is a problem that operators, specifically US ones, have created themselves. The notion of educating subscribers that they can, and should call in whenever something goes wrong and they're just unhappy and want to bang someone, led to a gigantic and hungry support system that sucks the budgets underneath the carriers legs. (When was the last time you called Microsoft or Intel because you got the blue screen?!). The next piece for the carriers, then, is to restrict things that could go wrong on phones, resulting with subscribers either hacking phones or unaware of their phones capabilities. In other words, "buy a better monthly subscription, but please don't use it".

The reason I'm relating this Apple story to the operators is that I'm guessing these guidelines came from their marriage to AT&T (I already wrote about how healthy it would have been if Apple went operator-independant and sold unlocked phones. Here again, they would have freedom to do what's right, not what's mandated). What's even more infuriating, and it explains the inconsistency in apple's approval process, is that the guidelines change frequently. And I mean, weekly. Who has the time to read a 100-page "new operator guidelines", adn then implement them every time?

It'd be great if Trent could make a dent in how things work in the mobile space. Make decision makers think about the realities out there and growing volume of diverse content available on mobile, and how to best present it (enable parental controls on phones?). The reality, though, is that this is geat publicity for both sides, NIN & Apple. When the app comes out, there's gonna be more interest and demand. Apple will figure a way to work with NIN, it's worth bringing them through the VIP backdoor. The rest of the musicians will need to see their art scrubbed. clarify, I'm not a fan of any of that language or visual, which is why I haven't posted the link to Mashable, where you could see the language in the comments. I think sometimes musicians use it to express themselves, and that's ok, but I'm unsure it's needed outside that world. Just my 2 cents.

I've just come across Sue Marek's (Fierce Wireless) post on "Why do distasteful apps sell?". It's well worth reading, she makes very good points. I'd say there's no write or wrong in this push-pull economy. Who keeps creating nuclear weapons, despite the knowledge these are overall bad news for everyone? Why they do it? because there's demand.
I think Sue is just slightly off in her conclusion "I'd like to think that most app developers are more interested in creating clever solutions to practical problems rather than selling distasteful apps". While the statement is true, IMO, developers are after making money, primarily. Everything else follows. Which is why the iFarts of the world will proliferate and drive more buzz than any genuinely useful app will.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Mobile Shopping Taking Off In US

Mobile Shopping Taking Off In US: A survey of 3,305 online consumers in the US by has found that nearly 58 percent of them own a mobile phone capable of connecting to the web (8 percent own an iPhone). "One in 10 online consumers said they purchase online from their mobile device, 16 percent compare prices and another 16 percent research product details/specifications," writes FierceWireless. Of those in the survey who did makes purchases from their mobile phoens, 58 percent have purchased digital content for their phone, 51 percent have purchased consumer electronics, 37 percent have purchased computers, 36 percent have purchased books, and 31 percent have purchased clothing.

Source: MocoNews

It's coming, finally.