Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Walls come tumbling down... now Orange follows 3's lead

The end-of-fixed-price data internet challenge is right now - not in the future.
More evidence emerged yesterday, with news that Orange is offering its 17m UK customers fixed-price data. Looks like they are setting the bar at £8 a month - but also offering by the day etc (which I think, kind of misses the point, you want it anytime you want without any hurdles to leap through). More here.
So that's 3 now offering fixed rate data charges (£5 a month) to every one of its users and o2 is reported to be offering fixed rate at the point of churn (ie when a customer says - I'm out of here 02, then you get the offer). And then there's T-mobile plugging the hell out of Web and Walk.
This ain't a trickle - this is a deluge. Expect o2 to start their land-grab any second now...
See also: 3 Tears down more of the wall;
UK mobile internet sets new records
3 Accelerates mobile web in the UK

Friday, April 20, 2007

Long tail will wag the mobile internet dog

Internet success stories have long valued the long tail. And all the predictions are that the value of the mobile internet will follow the same pattern.
What's interesting to me is the way the socialisation/democratisation of the web has set new standards for users and means they want to take that with them into the mobile web.
The result of this is that while the fixed line net was initially grown by content providers of the mass industrial age, the mobile web will explode as a direct result of User Generated Content.
And because of the social nature of 2.0 I expect the growth to be exponential - and to dominate the way the mobile web develops in a faster and more pervasive way than we saw with the original fixed-line internet.
The long tail will wag the mobile internet dog more vigorously than it has the fixed line internet.
I don't know the facts and figures - and I'd welcome hearing from anyone who does - but I suspect, where mobile internet is concerned, already content provided by mass media makes up a tiny percentage of all content on the mobile web. The vast majority must be coming from users setting up their own mobile sites, creating their own content and services and selling them.
I think of sites like mynumo.com where users can create their own ringtones, and a mobile webpage to sell them on.
I think of sites like peperonity.com where you can create your own mobile internet page in seconds - and then start charging for content and downloads from it (360,000 plus have already).
These are sites which converge the user, the buyer, the seller, the marketeer, the employee - all in the one person. This is the social nature of trade described in more detail here.
I think of Admob, which allows you to start making money from your content - if you can add its code to your mobile site.
But there's still a gap in this. I set myself up a fasterfuture.peperonity.com mobile version of this blog. But I'd have to call it a 'lite' version. There's no ability to add an rss feed (ie of latest items from this blog) and there's no way I can monetise (should I wish), beyond actually selling the content in a micro-payments model. And who pays for content?
Peperonity do ok from this model as they place ads on my content. I get a site to play with, they get a way of serving mobile ads. But wouldn't you want a cut of the earnings from the ads?
Widsets.com allows you to choose fasterfuture as a widget to download to your mobile - and that delivers every post as it's made from this blog to an organised rss feed. But there are few design options, no ad model (from a ugc perspective), no ability to add code etc etc.

For the long tail to truly go exponential I think we need something which allows all of these:
1. Really easy creation of mobile pages (on fixed line and on mobile)
2. Really easy ability to change the design to our tastes (and I'm thinking icons/desktop style as well as background colours and layout)
3. Ability to add and create rss feeds
4. Ability to add code snippets (ie YouTube video, google adsense)
5. Really easy share/ creator propogation (ie socially networked)
6. Enabled for social trade.
7. It has to be free to the site owner.
8. Option to offer as an application-based widget.

So, a lot of the things we expect from our blogsites on fixed line - and a few which don't.
If you know of anything that ticks the boxes - or is about to. Please share.

If I'm asking for the moon on a stick, let me know why!

If you want to know the future... mobile internet use in Japan

This survey just published: HERE. (at analytica.com) shows the growth of internet use on mobile in Japan. The graph shown above shows male use. The uptake among women (also shown at the site linked to) shows even faster growth.

Japan is typically up to two years ahead of the UK on the curve for this stuff.
54% of mobile users now access the internet via mobile at least once a week.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Does a straightforward transaction site need a social element?

As publishers start to work out that content (in and of itself) has little or no value outside of print, there's an increasing urge to shuffle along the supply chain.

There's also a growing willingness to understand that a disaggregated internet is best served by one trick ponies - sites/services which do one thing, but do that one thing better than anything else does.

This leads some to conclude that what they should deliver is a really good shop - a place that helps you make the transaction of your choice swiftly and efficiently.

This doesn't sound like the place for the socialised web2.0 - does it?

But a shop which ignores the attributes of 2.0 is a shop with a limited shelf life.

1. Consumers want to co-create. If your shop site doesn't allow the community of users to share their ideas about what it should sell, rate what is on sale, come together to propose improvements to what is on sale etc etc - you're locking out all the value of the network. Let members of your community pitch next year's ideas, rate them and shape them - and big up the things they love. If they score down some items - don't sell them. The community has spoken.
2. Two-way flow of communication beats the market: How do you know what your users want NEXT. The market shows you what they want now, and also what they don't want - but it can never tell you what next year's hit or miss is. Your community can - if you're engaged in a two-way flow. This is genuine 'consumer insight' based on real conversations with real people - not on generalised assumptions that "we know our market".
3. Convergence of buyer/seller/product developer/user/employee: If the employee and the user is converging in the concept of user generated content - the same can be said of communities of people trading together. eBay writes this large: The buyer and the seller converge. The buyer is also converging with the developer/designer (think BMW cars for a solid example happening now - the customer customises). This is a 3-dimensional version of a person - not a one dimensional "treat me as the customer... and only the customer" approach. In a 'shop' community environment one person can be a buyer/seller/developer/user/employee
4. Trust is communal: Trust is now created in a wiki-way. The social tools of 2.0 (eg diigo) make it ever easier for people to share what they think of a product or a supplier with their community, rapidly and in a way that is much more readily trusted by most consumers than old-style marketing messages. Sony tells you its PlayStation 3 is the dog's. The community tells them its made a heap of mistakes (1.1m views on YouTube of How to Kill a Brand 1.1m of PS3 vs Wii - apple style). How does your shop help the community decide what to trust?

4. The Social Customer manifesto (see recommended blogs, left) reads:
I can't see those boxes ticked by a shop front...

Conclusion: A shop site is just dandy - providing its a shop selling things the community rates, allows buyers to be sellers and designers, makes its offers spin free, opens doors to transparent two-way flows, and lets the community decide which products and or suppliers it is going to trust - and why. It's worth adding, that all trade has always been social. A one-to-one relationship ain't a business. A one-to-many is a trading community.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Forum Oxford: Future Technologies Conference

I attended the best conference I've ever been to, on Friday 13th - ForumOxford: Future Technologies Conference. It gathered some of the biggest brains in mobile tech, convergence, mobile internet (etc) from across the planet - at Oxford University.

Conferences can often be wasteful affairs if your thinking is anywhere close to the curve. You pay a fortune and sit listening to speakers telling you (being broadcast at) what you already knew - a year ago.

But this was something different. Not only was it fabulous value for money it was also in the 2.0 mode - sharing, interacting, challenging and igniting ideas.

It has to be the most profitable day I've spent in the last 365.

Some personal highlights: (podcasts etc are going to follow, so there may be more detail to come...)
1. Google presenting on their absolute commitment to the mobile internet - and its perfect fit with their mission statement (organising the world's information and making it accessible to all). Their promotion of the value of the long tail on mobile, too.
2. The clarification of the value of widgets/applications which mean you only update what you need when accessing the mobile internet (ie google maps for mobile). (google/symbian/Jeff Sonstein etc)
3. Google is making London its global hub for 'huge' mobile investment.
4. The emerging theme that even the mobile operators (at high levels) now 'get' the value of group forming network theory (Reed's law)- and why that means the walls not only have to come down but that they should to increase value for all parties. (3, Vodafone)
5. A stat quietly slipped in by (I think Russell Buckley at Admob) that 34% of UK mobile users now use the mobile web.
6. Prof William Webb's 'Wireless' predictions for the next 10-20 years. Brave man.
7. Vladimir Dimitroff reminding us of yet another convergence going on: in the realm of UGC the consumer and the employee are converging (expect to see this in co-creation of all kinds).
7. Personally getting name-checked three times from the stage - in a room of people of this calibre, that was a real jaw-dropper - many thanks to Tomi and Ajit.
8. Meeting some brilliant people both on the night before and at the conference itself - Hello Martin Davis, Jeremy Kloubec, Cameron Doherty, Tomi Ahonen, Ajit Joaker, Jim O'Reilly, Krzysztof Proczka, Eduardo Cruz, Jeff Sonstein, and everyone else I was lucky enough to spend time with.

and so much more... If you're at all interested in mobile/internet/world2.0 you should be at the next one: Try here for more.

It's also worth noting what a fantastic job Tomi and Ajit (the co-founders) have done at creating a truly vibrant, activated community which organises itself around a shared common interest. There's many a media company which could learn a lesson or two. Brilliant work, gentlemen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

3 tears down more of the wall...

3 has extended its uncapped data package for mobile internet to all its users. More here.
Now any 3 customer can get 'unlimited' mobile internet access for £5 a month. That's the same package as has been available for the X-series (and that was just one phone initially, the Nokia N73) since November last year.
Expect to see a massive acceleration in mobile internet use and even more pressure on O2 (already offering capped rate data packages if you threaten to leave, so I hear) et al to follow 3's lead.
Another very significant milestone on the road to the mobile internet becoming the dominant mode of internet access.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Yahoo launches its mobile internet advertising model

Yahoo weighs in. More here
This is interesting, particulary given yahoo's relationships with operators (eg 3).
Makes it easy for the mobile internet publishers to get their content funded. And look what that (google adsense) did for the amount of content on the fixed line internet.
Sounds like a similar approach to that taken by Nokia with its AdService.
But the great thing is this is global and will work with any mobile internet device. It's offered across the world and to a range of publishers (there is a sub 1 million page impressions a month level to select).
Yahoo says: "The Yahoo! Mobile Ad network lets you leverage Yahoo!’s scale and expertise as a global media powerhouse. Joining the network gives you access to Yahoo!’s worldwide sales force and its relationships with top advertisers across 19 countries. In addition to these advertisers, Yahoo! welcomes those of all sizes who have relevant offers for the mobile audience – increasing further the relevancy and volume of ad inventory available to you."
And more are coming. I hear google's mobile adsense is in test mode.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The PS3 Song - how the community dominates

Great example of how the community will dominate your brand. This critique of Sony's refusal to listen re the PS3 has now scored more than 1million views and 7000+ comments on YouTube.

As noted on the Social Customer Manifesto (see recommended blogs)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Deepfish: Microsoft's mobile internet browser

Microsoft's mobile internet browser 'Deepfish' is in beta -
It allows you to surf faster, and zoom in and out of traditional fixed line websites.

The theory is that makes the internet easier to use on your mobile device.

They say: "The Deepfish Technology Preview enhances existing mobile browsing technologies by displaying content in a view that is closer to the desktop experience. Our zoom-able interface and cue map allow you to quickly access the information you care about over the web without ever losing track of where you are. "

It's currently only available to test (and to a very limited number of users) for pocket pc and smart phones.

So I can't try it. If you do - share.

However, I can't help feeling it's not really addressing the point. It's a bit like print media trying to reinvent itself in a fixed-line internet world as a digitised newspaper you can scroll around and turn the pages on.

It doesn't appear to grasp that the experience is DIFFERENT on a mobile. On first impressions - I like the zenzui approach more - which is also backed by Microsoft.

Deepfish for the legacy fixed-line sites/content - Zenzui for the mobile internet?

Monday, April 02, 2007

The fastest internet access will be on your mobile

Regulars will recall how a short while ago we saw reports of 100mbps being theoretically possible to a mobile device. Oh how the mobile internet experience suddenly looks richer.
A very good source told me this was more than theory and that his company had actually been testing at 100mbps.
Now, according to the same source, one major mobile player is testing at 200mbps in Beijing right now.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?