Right now, advertising is it. Billions upon billions of dollars are spent on and earned by advertising every year. With the expansion of Internet advertising, and now mobile advertising, we’re seeing plenty more opportunities. Problem is, in the wireless realm there seems to be an ongoing power struggle. While Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo are looking to further entrench themselves in the mobile realm, they’re being met with resistance from — guess who — the cell carriers.
“The carriers are too busy trying to protect the money they are making now to look at the next way to make money,” said Chad Stoller, who heads the mobile practice at Organic, a San Francisco ad agency. Phone companies “want to control every aspect of the relationship between the consumer and the phone.”
The cause of this is kind of strange if you live in a metro area. Apparently, the price of a data plan is keeping many Americans away from the service. Only 13 percent of U.S. cell phone subscribers used the Web last quarter. This is in contrast to Japanese cell phone users, more than half of whom use the web regularly. The problem is that carriers don’t want to lose the market share. They’re constantly thinking up new ways to profit from mobile phones, and advertising is certainly up there. So while they’re open to the platform, they want to ensure that they’re firmly in the loop before they allow for the means of expansion by Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. We’re not going to cry foul on this one. The cell carriers have a right to implement advertising on their network in a manner that benefits them. They’re providing the platform, so they certainly should get their cut. Until then, though, they’re going to be resistant, and that comes off poorly in the minds of consumers. Thankfully, it appears temporary. [Bloomberg]