• Death By Mobile Coupon
    My heart sank as I came to the head of the line at Borders this weekend. Methuselah was my check-out person and I had a mobile coupon. The 30% off promotion wasn't even directly from Borders. As some veterans of this column may recall, I have a longstanding bone to pick with that bookstore chain. It had a perfectly reasonable SMS couponing service more than a year ago that it unceremoniously yanked from its customers. Now I have to rely on third-party coupon scrapers like the MobiQpons, which seem to aggregate Web coupons -- nicely, I might add. But I …
  • Who's Clicking Where, From What?
    Mobilistas with semi-long memories will recall the first wave of Apple iPhone ads that featured the landing page of NYTimes.com. The "Full Web Browser" seemed to be a key selling point for the device. Now you can browse the "real Web," said the iPhone apostles. It seems revealing that we don't see that feature touted much anymore in the iPhone ads. My hunch is that Apple soon recognized what many people already knew: browsing the full Web on a handheld device is not optimal.
  • Cold-Calling The Brands
    There are some encounters with consumer brands that leave me wondering how disconnected corporate culture is with everyday Americans. Exactly how hard do some of these companies think we as consumers should work in order to satisfy their marketing goals? Who is working for whom?
  • Noted with Begrudging Pleasure... Dammit
    I have been officially advised I am getting grumpy and need to lighten up. "Remember to eat and then sleep and breathe... you need those," my teen daughter advises her father by SMS. The permission Post-Its have evolved into life coach messages from my own kid. I've got my own little Deepak Chopra texting in life lessons. So what makes me smile? What makes me find bliss? Well, good mobile content, of course. Time for a brain dump.
  • Mobile TV Goes To App School
    The application economy has many things to offer the mobile content world. Not only is there a different distribution and monetization model here. The emerging app stores/worlds/markets also constitute a large media lab where the barrier to entry is low and the learnings can be high. We've already seen the application environment single-handedly reinvigorate the tired and struggling mobile game industry. The effect of the application environment on gaming has been so profound that even handheld giants Sony and Nintendo have started shifting their own models to digital downloads and smaller snackable titles. The other genre that desperately needs a …
  • Apple Disappoints Gadget Geeks. Good!
    Despite all of the usual weird scrutiny that accompanies any Apple presentation, there were a few pieces from Wednesday's event that slipped under most radar. When I fired up the on-deck App Store yesterday, I was surprised to find a new tab in the Top 25 directory listing for "Top Grossing" apps. From an industry insider's perspective, this is a nice addition. Developers, market watchers, marketers, et al now can get a handle on which apps and development houses actually make money in this ecosystem. Steve Jobs boasted yesterday that there are 75,000 apps in the store now, which reflects …
  • Mobile And Retail: Calling In Air Support
    It is my understanding that we have raised the most consumer-conscious, marketing-averse, hard-to-reach generation in American history. So much tortured thinking goes into marketing to my daughter's generation, it is shocking to see her sheer gullibility when staring at a store shelf wall of video games. "Ooh, that looks good," she says as she grabs the most colorful, cartoonish Xbox 360 game box." She's never heard of the title. I have never heard of the title. But the box looks cool. I literally call in air support. Luckily, the video games media publisher IGN has a great iPhone app that …
  • Portability Is NOT Mobility
    My iPhone home pages are now ballooning with branded media apps, and I am starting to pay closer attention to personal news usage patterns on mobile. Is it enough to say that all of these apps really are just akin to Web browser bookmarks? Are any of these news sources able to distinguish themselves within the limitations that even the broader application canvas allows on a phone? I am sure there are rigorous market researchers hot on the trail of these questions, all armed with focus group samples and panel extrapolation algorithms. But until we start seeing the results of …
  • Nyah! Nyah! Made Ya Look!
    "What is it?" my partner asked as we stood this weekend before a large puke-green movie poster with only a single graphic, a big honkin' 2D scan code. That was it. No title for the film, just a fugly code that was supposed to engage our curiosity. >"It's a 2D code for your phone. It wants us to scan it." I already knew where this was going to go, but being the "mobile guinea pig" that I have become, there was no alternative but to chase yet another misguided campaign down its marketing rabbit hole
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