3GSM: Yahoo! on the Go

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The 3GSM World Congress (mobile conference) is happening this week in Barcelona, Spain. I’m not there. But I’ll try and capture some of the developments and my thoughts this week. There is going to be a ton of news coming out of the show. Indeed, Yahoo! had three mobile announcements last night/today:

Brands on Your Phone

Y! officially launched its display ad platform and display advertising for mobile in 19 countries globally. Here’s the release and the WSJ write up. Small banner ads will appear near the top of the mobile home page. The company has signed a range of brand advertisers for the launch: including Hilton’s Embassy Suites, Infiniti, Intel, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble Asia Pacific and Singapore Airlines.

The ads combine branding with a direct-response component because “consumers will be able to click on these interactive ads to directly call the advertiser or to learn more information about the advertiser’s offer.”

Go Goes ‘Gamma’

Yahoo! Go 2.0 introduced a “gamma” (stop with the Greek already) version of its service, just recently relaunched at CES. According to the press release associated with this announcement, “Yahoo! Go 2.0 has generated more than 400,000 requests to receive the download from consumers around the world in the first month, demonstrating the strong consumer interest in this new service.”

There appear to be several enchancements since the CES relaunch. Display ads will also be integrated into Go.

Downloads are a barrier to adoption but 400K in a month (though globally) is a decent response. But Yahoo!’s strategy is to get Go pre-loaded on the phones and counts most of the handset makers as partners. Speaking of which . . .

Big LG Parternship

The third announcement is a partnership with Korean manufacturer and handset maker LG to pre-load Yahoo! Go on LG phones globally.

My phones (plural) aren’t yet supported by Yahoo! Go so I haven’t used Go/OneSearch, though I’m eager to do so.

I’ve long believed that is critical for Yahoo! to be as aggressive as possible in mobile and leverage its email user base there as well. The company appears to be doing that. I hope the user experience is as good as promises. Success in mobile will bolster Yahoo! across the board and help its online brand and usage as well.

The display ad push is also quite interesting and strategic for Yahoo! Just as the company has historically been a draw for brand advertisers — and Brand Universe is an attempt to defend that position online — Yahoo! wants to stake out that role in mobile.

I’m skeptical about the efficacy of banners in mobile without more (e.g., contextual relevance, offers, etc.) — we’ll see how they perform. The ads are CPM-based so clicks/calls aren’t necessary at this point for Yahoo! to get paid.

Even though the bulk of the US market is still using text/SMS rather than the “mobile Web” (still there are 30m + users), brand advertisers are getting hungry for access to mobile consumers.

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Changes in the look of Yahoo! mobile sites around the globe, from ResourceShelf.


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