Growth Stokes Google-Microsoft Fires">
But one vendor that shouldnt get lost in the sauce is Yahoo, of Sunnyvale, Calif., which was quick to pull the trigger on mobile search advertising in 2004.
Michael Bayle, general manager for mobile monetization at Yahoo, told eWEEK that Yahoo was the first to launch mobile-sponsored listings in Japan through Yahoo Japan and MSN Japan.
"The entire monetization from MSN in Japan for mobile comes from Yahoo," Bayle said. In 2005, Yahoo partnered with Orange to introduce sponsored listings in the U.K. market-place.
Finally, Yahoo last fall introduced paid listings for mobile search in the United States on its oneSearch product, and is targeting more countries for mobile listings. Bayle also said Yahoo is currently adapting its new Panama search platform for mobile ads.
Bayle declined to list mobile ad impression figures, but when told of Microsofts $1.5 billion mobile ad impressions through ScreenTonic, he said Yahoos numbers were "significantly higher than that."
One could argue that Yahoo is the vendor to beat with regard to mobile search advertising.
How Will the Vendors Render Mobile Search Ads?
Search vendors will be able to target three segments of mobile search sales, Booth said.
One is the market for "search-and-display" mobile Internet ads, where consumers using SMS (Short Message Service), WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) and other technologies to browse the Internet for information are presented with online ads.
Booth expects Apples iPhone to really push the envelope for online ads. For example, a user who browses Google Maps through an iPhone might see an ad and click on it, which would count as an impression for the advertiser.
Click here to read more about Apple iPhone sales topping $1 million.
Another mobile search segment is ad-sponsored directory assistance (Free DA) such as Googles 1-800-GOOG411, Microsofts Tellme, and Jingle Networks, where consumers dial for free directory assistance via a cell phone and get pitched along with the content theyre looking for.
The last segment comprises multimodal applications, which are software programs downloaded on a mobile device that allow consumers to speak into the phone and get some sort of text return, such as a search result. Companies who do this include Microsofts Tellme and V-Enable.
"We believe that a lot of carriers and directory assistance providers, rather than have their markets completely cannibalized by the Internet and by ad-sponsored directory assistance, will move to an all-you-can-eat directory assistance platform that includes maps and directions and a handful of other things," Booth said.
He said the multimodal segment is important because carriers that enjoy a 90 percent margin on their directory assistance business can use such applications on handsets to retain that margin because most of the multimodal apps are automated.
"The economics are so compelling," Booth said.
Moreover, when the devices and data plans come together, he expects a boom in mobile Internet users from 37.9 million today to 91.7 million in 2012.
Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on mobile and wireless computing.