• When Outdoor Talks Back
    Walking through the typical American shopping mall this season is a bit like traversing a medieval bazaar. The salespeople at the small stands in the causeways seem to have gone rabid on us. No longer satisfied with barking their wares to some anonymous audience, they now single me out, ask personal questions about the dryness of my hands, the state of my will, what I pay for heat. The possibility of Bluetooth-enabled mobile marketing fills me with the same sense of dread.
  • Drag And Drop World
    A recent TV spot depicts a man at a desktop computer dragging and dropping media from his monitor onto his car in the driveway, his MP3 player on the desk and elsewhere in his physical world. The bad news for the agency involved is that I can't recall what the ad is selling or the brand behind the message. The good news is that the creative itself is memorable -- even to this airhead -- because it strikes a cultural chord. For those of us awash in media and playback devices, the ad accurately envisions the way we want all …
  • Gaming Week Again: When Multimedia Matters
    On Thanksgiving, it is the simple, nostalgic pleasures I turn to on my mobile phone, since the big TV is being occupied by the girlfriend's "Battlestar Galactica" marathon on the SciFi Channel. Thankfully, mobile gaming is starting to settle into a kind of nostalgia I find satisfying....
  • Gaming Week, 1: Mmm... Good, But It Tastes a Little Gamey
    New Thanksgiving entertainment tradition: look for that rare mobile game worth playing twice. The bulk of video game sales occur in the last quarter of the year, and a good hunk of that sells through in the next week. So I declare this week game week for the Mobile Insider, even if the pickings are slim.
  • Is There Anybody In Here?
    One of the most basic marketing questions about an emerging platform is whether anyone really is advertising there yet. Mobile marketing companies love to drop big brand name partners on me as if the two companies were best buds going way back. It is more likely that the high profile advertisers sloshed a few drops of R&D money the marketer's way when it was "testing mobile."
  • Sponsor The User
    At the risk of revealing too much about my media-addicted ways and permanently embarrassing my family, I will say that I'm the kind of guy who reaches for the remote in movie theaters. I am spoiled, and I admit it, but I suspect so are the rest of you. Interactivity is more than a feature of modern life. I think it is bound to become a reflex. Ultimately we start to assume that all media are or should have some back channel. This a reflex that is tailormade for mobile.
  • Wagging Our Own Long Tail
    After broaching the long tail theme last week, the off-deck mobile content leader Thumbplay contacted me with some interesting usage statistics. That site, which charges a $9.99 a month fee for access to a package of games, wallpapers, ringtones and video, lets users manage their choices mainly via the Web site. The site gets about four to five million uniques a month, says CEO Are Traasdahl, and even the WAP portal gets up to 20 million page views.
  • 'I Am Going After TV Budgets'
    Rhythm New Media CEO Ujjal Kohli was in a bold mood when I spoke with him recently about a new rollout of mobile video in the U.K. "I am going after TV budgets," he told me. Many years ago, I recall sitting in iVillage CEO Doug McCormick's office being told the exact same thing. He made the case for the Web's superiority over TV in targeting, day-parts, etc. and I recall raising an eyebrow at his audacity in hoping to steal money from network and cable as early as 2000. Now I know a little better...
  • Nice Head Kill, Sweetie
    My otherwise sweet 15-year-old daughter is an accomplished assassin -- and her father couldn't be more proud. Driving her home from school the other day, I noticed she was locked and loaded into her new Samsung phone. In the two years we have allowed her a cell phone, I never recall my daughter playing a mobile game. But here she was actually mowing down aliens in "Doom RPG." "Die, sucker, die, why don't you?" she seethed while pumping plasma pellets into something with bloody choppers. They grow up so fast.
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