Sprint and InfoSpace Make Mobile Friendly

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Sprint and InfoSpace are to offer mobile friendly local business directories which allow consumers to find things by leveraging the position aware capabilities of mobile phones:

Sprint Nextel Corp. said it plans on Monday to kick off a local directory cellphone service with information such as driving directions and movie times as it aims to boost revenue by having customers use their phones for more than just talking.

The $2.99 a month service, called "Find It", combines location aware phones and directory information from InfoSpace Inc. that lets users search out locations without having to enter a postal code or even know where they are.

Initially Sprint and InfoSpace do not plan to charge businesses for being listed in the directory but such services are eventually expected to create advertising revenue.

I see the mobile market quickly growing rather fragmented, inefficient, and piece-meal like, with most of the telecoms being too greedy to work together, which IMHO will likely eventually force mobile ad consolidation similarly to how PPC marketing has heavily consolidated. I think charging consumers extra to access what will eventually be an ad stream is at best silly. Why not make it free and create a viral marketing opportunity for your company - which operates in a hyper-saturated commodity space? Metcalfe's Law anyone?

Google is already trying ads on maps. I don't think businesses get much value listing against themselves where they are already listed free, so the ads on the web for Google maps will not be a big deal unless Google can tie it in at the product level with retail inventory system integration.

I think the general category type ads provide much greater value on mobile devices. Since there is so little screen space to work with, there is a limited amount of information that can be displayed, and value of being highlighted is much greater.