Thursday, 27 March 2008

Mobile billing in the dark ages?

Add to Technorati Favorites

I was talking to an industry colleague about billing the other day. We spoke about the billing options available and the restrictions placed on both consumers and retailers. The facts are until we can create billing services that are simple for the consumer and efficient for the retailer, it will continue to be difficult for consumers to buy products on the go.

For products I mean things that you just need to purchase when you may not be on the fixed line computer (not ringtones and wallpapers). One example is a HPI Car Check that retails at £17-, I have proposed that we create a mobile version with less thrills for £5. The problem is that after billing costs there is not enough to share, so once again the consumer loses out, unless we go down the credit card booking line, which defeats the objective?

I do not have the stats handy on many people have access to pay pal or Bango at present, but i am pretty sure it is less than half of mobile owners. That is a shame because surely we need to change the consumer behaviour to drive mobile transactions, yet if the cost of doing business is too high then we will continue to adopt low penetration of transactions on mobile.

I am informed that pay4it enhance the billing process, however, will this take away the high level of cost to the retailer who wants to market his goods using mobile?

Interestingly the QR codes could be a driver to increased mobile transactions as the media and advertisers seem to be pushing this. With a changeable back end, this allows retailers to change their offering (product/price)pretty much at will.

The issue now is how do the consumers pay for it?

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Back to square 1

Add to Technorati Favorites

I hooked up with the CEO of squace recently. I have often looked at mobile widgets and thought I get it, but does the man in the street? It can be quite tough to download a widget and get it working for you if you are not technically minded and/or no one else seems to be doing so.

squace are developing a product that uses a simple square grid as a navigation tool.The grid is within the widget and operates alphabetically, so for example A would be in the top left hand corner of the square etc..

squace works as a widget i.e. you can set up feeds from your favourite sites. It also allows you to set up groups such as the kids Nursery, therefore creating useful timely secure content from your community, this could for example allow you to set up a notice board to inform that little Johnny is having a party.

Even better, if you cannot get onto the mobile internet (or don't want to) you could text in to the community with your message.

The other possibility is creating a white label version of squace. This could be pre populated with content. To make this work really well, you could focus on a consumer profile using tools such as TGI.

This allows the consumer to get the most relevant content without any hassle and would allow the relevant mobile advertising to become highly targeted. So for me, I would take generic services such as fuel locator, weather, train times and link them with location based services such as restaurants, good pub guide, hotels. The main content feeds would be based around sports, news and film. However, unlike an operator, I would have the choice of the type of content I use i.e. Golf 365 rather than Sky Sports.

squace could potentially overlay on your mobile wallpaper, meaning that mobile content will truly only be one click away.

Friday, 21 March 2008

News balls please!

Add to Technorati Favorites

So it’s a bank holiday and I am in work and just updating my bog. Why? Because there is so much going on at the moment that I don't find the time to do a lot of the things I would like to do.
So today is my 'free day'. Contact the builder (he is also working), do my accounts online, not on mobile as yet.

I have just this minute signed up to linkedin mobile, I’m impressed. The layout is good, the page allows you to scroll the entire profile and you can search potential contacts prior to meetings or calling them, which is very good. I haven’t yet worked out how to update my status as yet though, any thoughts?

I also met with the guys from brandattention yesterday. These boys seem busy and are really pushing the boundaries with QR codes as part of a mobile solution. The interesting thing for me is that QR codes are the complete opposite to commercial blue toothing. So at a show, i turn my bluetooth off as i do not want to get spammed or worse a virus.

With the QR codes I can get any info, short cuts or offers at the click of a button.

Howard Furr-Barton the MD of brandattention describes this as the 'red button' for mobiles. For me it is much more useful than the red button, which is often ignored by most viewers.

The QR codes will, with time, allow advertisers to work out which billboard poster really works, by location, thus saving them money.

It also allows the back end 'offer' to change after being published. So for example ticketmaster could advise download the QR code for half price tickets and on Monday you would get a different offer to Tuesday but it is still the same advert, or they could regionalise the offer.

Also you can download videos, maps and short cut to mobile internet sites that you had no intention of visiting. This gets around the dot mobi domain name issue and the short code numbers that no one remembers.

There are of course downsides to this, handset capability, education and low responses, however, brands such as The Sun are running massive supplements to get this message across every quarter.

They believe that the mobile internet will grow their business and I firmly believe in that principle.

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Free London paper goes mobile

Add to Technorati Favorites

So this week i noticed that Metro the free London paper has just launched on mobile.
The site offers news, sport, fame and weird. It also allows videos, sports downloads and is already carrying advertising.

Upon first impressions the site is well laid out, has plenty of content and is easy to access.

I must say for a free paper to do such a good job in its first attempt will put other publishers to shame. More interestingly it is another mobile site that will drive ad revenues. Nice one.