Someone asked me a question in my comments section and, rather than just answer him there, I figured it merited its own post. Here's the comment from Sammy James:
Thanks for the response. What are your thoughts on moblogs? I don't know what the usage is like for audioblogs but I was recently introduced to a new platform that enables you to post pictures, video and text directly from a camera phone. ( http://www.textamerica.com ) I have not thought the b2c or b2b applications but this looks powerful. And at the very least, this looks like a natural fit for phone manufacturers and carriers to advertise at a premium rate.
I have many thoughts on moblogs. As a consumer, I think mobile platforms will accelerate us toward the Age of the Citizen-Journalist even faster than weblogs alone. Seriously, I have dreams about people or groups of people capturing news and human interest stories in their daily travels, simply by carrying a camera phone and having an account set up with a mobile blogging platform. Can you imagine what it would be like if the myriad Iraqi bloggers were to show us what it's really like on the ground in Iraq - not only with words, but with pictures?
Personally, I've run into a number of situations where my trusty Treo 600 has enabled me to make blog posts I ordinarily wouldn't have been able to make, not only with its camera phone, but with its web browser and teensy-weensy keyboard. But not everyone has a Treo, so clearly either prices need to drop or providers have to cram more features into lower-cost phones so that adoption will accelerate.
As an agency guy, I see the wireless category as something that had great potential, but never really took off. (Keep in mind that I'm speaking of the narrower wireless category - things that reach mobile phones in the U.S. - not the wider category that would include things like PDA advertising with Vindigo and AvantGo.)
When wireless advertising first really started getting onto agency radar screens, we were basically talking about two things - WAP and text messaging. With WAP, I think many potential advertisers walked away because there simply wasn't enough screen real estate in which to deliver a compelling message. Text messaging fell victim to typical advertiser ham-handedness. Too many advertisers looked at it as simply a broadcast medium in which they could pummel consumers over the head with message after message. Thankfully, advertisers realized this had great potential to piss consumers off and they backed away.
I think wireless advertising is waiting for its "killer app," and moblogs could be just the thing. Quite a few advertising execs see kids in Japan (and other countries that are a year or two ahead of the U.S.) running around with their mobile phones, constantly text messaging one another and keeping their noses buried in their phones as they go through their day. If this behavior was widespread in the U.S., you can bet marketers would be salivating and looking for ways to reach these consumers. Right now, though, wireless consumption seems to be too fragmented to reach mass audiences.
I think that's changing now. Phones are moving toward full-featured web browsing. Many are coming with QWERTY keyboards. I think once these features become mainstream, we'll see wireless content consumption explode.
In the background, many companies are gearing up to provide mobile blogging platforms. You may have noticed that this blog has a WINKsite. Right now, the WINKsite simply picks up my RSS feed and publishes my posts in a wireless-friendly way. I could do much more with it, but I probably won't because I think consumer behavior has to catch up to the technology. My WINKsite gets very few visits, but if I notice more people coming in through the wireless channel, maybe I'll beef up my presence there.
To succeed, I think blogging platforms need to be multi-channel. That is, people should be able to view a blog both on the web and on a majority of phones. Also, blog authors should be able to post from a phone just as easily as they do from the web.
Getting back to the question, I do think that moblogs are a natural fit for wireless carrier advertising. I also think they're a great fit for phone manufacturers or anyone who makes mobile access devices. If my agency were to land a client like Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile or any other carriers, you can bet that I'd be pitching the client on locking in a multi-year sponsorship deal with platform providers like Text America and Wireless Ink (the folks behind WINKsite). I'd aim to have a persistent presence all over their communities - and I'd use that space to show that the advertiser's camera phones are ideal for getting a moblog going.
I can't decide whether I'm more excited about this as an advertiser, a consumer, or a news freak.