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Thoughts on an advertisement-based model for cell phones

November 13th, 2006 by abhishta

Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt stated that he foresees a future where cell phones will be given away free to the users, so long as the users don’t mind a little advertising. An interesting concept if you ask me. I was quite skeptical about this approach but as I gave it more thought, I realised that this might actually be the “next big thing”. Here are my thoughts on the ad-based model.

For example, let’s say that in the near future, I signed into google through my cell phone and searched for restaurants in Chinatown – D.C. Based on my search queries, I could then receive targeted advertisements about restaurants in the D.C. metro area. Or for example, I want to buy a bluetooth headset and I search for bluetooth headsets on google. Based on what I search, I could get advertisements on my cell phone from sellers or manufacturers of bluetooth headsets. You get the general idea here right?

Another way in which I think advertisements could be made is for movies, music etc. through online stores. Suppose you download and/or stream music from the music store that your service provider has set up (like the new cingular service). Based on what you have downloaded so far and the kind of music you listen to, the provider can send out small snippets of songs for you to sample and then if you like them, you can download them.

How will this feature will be incorporated into the phone. Would it be better to receive these ads via sms/mms or an in-built application that displays the advertisements on the standby screen. With streaming music and podcasts becoming popular, will advertisements be embedded between songs and podcasts?

There are so many ideas that race to my mind as I think about the ad-based model and I would love to hear about what everyone else thinks about it as well.

However, having said this, I do realize that an advertisement based model is not going to succeed solely based on this kind of advertising. There will always be those random advertisements which we would never like to see, but will have to put up with, if we are to get our cell phones for free.

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