Monthly Archives: September 2007

Congratulations to Praized Media – Based out of Montreal, Quebec

Praized Media - Montreal Based StartupI want to send out a congratulations to the team at Praized Media from their recent announcement of venture capital funding of $1M – see article from Cyberpresse.

Praized Media is a startup company working on a web-based application that will enable you to find and discover local places and merchants with help from people you can trust. It’s also a tool that will structure local conversations within blogs and a new platform for local search providers to generate leads from the untapped social media market.

The company was founded by Sebastien, Sylvain and Harry and is funded by Garage Technology Ventures.

From the group on Facebook – Fans of Praized Media“We’re hiring! We’re looking for a Ruby on Rail lead developer and a Web integrator.”

I don’t know Sylvain or Harry personally – but did have the pleasure of working with Sebastien Provencher at Yellow Pages Group for the past number of years and based on what I know they will be very successful with this venture.

Congrats guys – look forward to seeing the next Canadian Internet success story.

Google’s Mobile Ad Distribution – Free Until November 18 – Opt-Out Afterwards

Is your website enabled to be seen on a cellular phone? Are you using Google Adwords to promote your business? If you answered yes to both questions your business may already be displayed as part of Google’s Mobile Ad strategy. I came across a posting by Michael Blumenthal called Google Intros Search Ads on Google Mobile Search in which a letter was sent from Google indicating their short-term strategy for mobile ads and the criteria to be displayed. Here is a copy of that letter:

We are happy to announce a new feature that will allow you to easily reach additional qualified customers who are searching
Google from their mobile phones.

In the next few days, your search ads will be eligible to run on Google Mobile Search pages (like they currently do on Google.com).
We are offering this feature – and any resulting clicks – for free through November 18, so you can experiment with the rapidly growing mobile platform while still reaching qualified customers.

Each ad’s eligibility will be determined by its landing page and only ads with landing pages that can be adapted for viewing on mobile browsers will be shown. You can monitor each ad’s performance via a special performance tracking page within your account called “Performance Data: Search Ads on Google Mobile Search.”

Again, you will not be charged for clicks on these ads until November 19, at which time we will begin charging the usual CPC prices. And as always, you may opt-out of this feature at any time.

We hope you find this new feature helpful and profitable, and we urge you to learn more about it at our AdWords Help Center:

http://adwords.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=72226

Thank you for advertising with Google AdWords.

Sincerely,

The Google AdWords Team

If you fit the current criteria that you may already be taking advantage of this medium. Considering the growth of mobile and the mobile applications it is probably a good time to consider ensuring that your business can be viewed on a mobile phone. Not sure where to start – two suggestions; 1) find a design company that specializes in WAP, WML, and XHTML MP or 2) if you want to consider the process yourself, I suggest that you start by reading, Creating Web Content for Mobile Phone Browsers.

Here are some highlights from an article in January of this year titled – Putting 2.7 billion in context: Mobile phone users – which explores how large this industry has already become. The point to these stats, if you are a local business, is that your customers are either using or will be using mobile as a means to learn and connect with your business. Ensure that you are ready to take advantage of this opportunity.

* Worldwide there are about 800 million registered automobiles
* Today there are 1.3 billion fixed landline phones in the world
* Today there are about 1.5 billion TV sets in use in the world . (TV is often shared, especially in Asia where families are also large. So you might easily have 6 or even 10 watching the same TV show. The reach of TV is much beyond the 1.5 billion sets in use.)
* Today 1.4 Billion people carry at least one credit card.
* In most countries it is illegal for under 18 year olds to have credit cards
* There are about 850 million PCs
* In total over 750 million people access internet content via a mobile phone today
* About the total PC population or about 850 million people, access the web via a computer.
* During 2007 the first cross-over from PC to Mobile phones will happen, with more users accessing via phone than PC.
* The total shipped PDA population is about 85 million, most which are replacements.
* Thre are 85 Million iPod in use
* DVD recorders/ PVR shipments are under 100 million.
* Camcorders, are under 100 million total shipped (many as replacements).
* Gaming consoles have shipped near 200 million units, out of which 150 million are second generation (PS2/Xbox) or newer.
* The (stand-alone) digital camera has achieved shipments of near 300 million.
* There are 2.7 billion Mobile phones shipped (technically 2.7 billion in January, not December). They sold 950 million phones last year and the total worldwide mobile subscriber base grew from 2.1 billion to 2.7 billion.
* Phones are replaced every 18 months (and this is still shrinking)
* USA has reached 75% penetration for mobile phones
* The Western European average per capita penetration for mobile phones is already 110%
* Italy, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Israel have penetration rates at about 140%
* China adds 6 million phones every month, India adds 7 million phones every month.
* Finland, Norway, Denmark and Portugal – each countries with 120% or more penetration rates – Mobilephones are less than 6 million units total.
* SMS Messaging Is Biggest Data App On Planet
* On the internet there are about 1.5 billion e-mail boxes, maintained by about 800 million people.
* 1.8 billion people are doing SMS texting.
* Last year over 42% of Americans were active in SMS already
* E-mail is opened in 24 hours and replied to in 48 hours.
* SMS is read within 15 minutes on average and responded within 60 minutes.
* 65% of e-mail is spam, less than 10% of SMS is spam.
* In South Korea five separate credit card services are available on the three mobile networks
* In South Korea almost 100% of credit card based point-of-purchase sites accept payment via mobile phone credit (and charge) cards
* Two years from launch almost 10% of South Korean phone users watch digital broadcast TV on their phones
* The Pop Idol formats have earned a windfall of over 700 million dollars out of text messaging votes
* In 2005 already half of all phones sold were cameraphones so cameraphones outsell digital cameras by more than 4 to 1 .
* There are 3.2 Billion to 3.8 Billion radio users.
* 73% of the population now uses the mobile phone as their portable clock.
* 2.7 Billion phones in active use. There is a subscription for 40% of the planet’s population.
* The mobile telecoms industry earned 725 Billion dollars last year.
* Global music industry earns 16% of its revenues from mobile phones (mostly ringing tones);
* Videogaming earns 14% of its global revenues from mobile.
* Mobile telecom growth in dollar terms, from 2005 to 2006, was 105 billion dollars.

Mobile Search Platforms in Canada

I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss some of the mobile platforms that are available for users in Canada.

Although mobile search is not main stream yet, I think this is definitely one mode of search that has potential to expand and will become important for any local businesses to ensure they have placement within these mediums. There are 2 major barriers that I see to the mass adoption of mobile search in Canada:

1) Cell Phone Data Plans – in Canada we are not in a fortunate position with our cell phone carries in terms of competition. Meaning that as of this blog posting there are no unlimited data plans available, like our US counterparts or in Asia. This is a major barrier to the adoption of local search, but as the cell carries start to open up their data streams, I see growth.

2) User Interfaces – if you have ever tried to use a cell phone to surf the web, you have probably been frustrated by the experience. Although the interfaces today are much better than previous – I would still say that there is a long way to go yet. As a side note, I have had the opportunity to view and play with the Apple iPhone – very nice.

On the user interface front, I wanted to share with you the local search interface from the Nokia Mobile Search Platform. Nokia has signed a number of deals with local providers around the world to include in this application – in Canada, Yellow Pages Group is the partner using data from yellowpages.ca.

YellowPages.ca on the Nokia Mobile Search Platform

The Yellowpages.ca local search plug-in enables you to find local businesses and services from your Nokia mobile phone. You can search by business name, business type, or location. As well as a company’s address and phone number, you can get useful additional information and detailed color maps showing you how to find them.

Another platform that is working checking is the Yahoo Canada Mobile Platform. If you visit their site and enter your cell phone number, it will text you a link to install the application. This platform consists of a lot of different features – of interest for local business is their local search platform – btw, the data for this platform is provided by yellowpages.ca as well.

Above are just two examples of good user interfaces that are taking the right steps to bring local mobile search into the mainstream. As I play with more, I will blog about them as well.