Sunday, January 6, 2008

Cell phone privacy story misses connection to permission

The AP story from today's Journal Gazette, "Privacy fears mount as ads hit cell phones," was a good outline of some of the challenges that marketers and consumers face as ads via cell phone move closer to reality. But the story missed a crucial point: what if ads could be available to consumers on an opt-in basis only? Take this example from the story:

“It’s proceed with caution,” said Jarvis Coffin, chief executive of advertising distributor Burst Media Corp. “Are consumers going to be spooked by the idea that suddenly their phone goes beep, and it’s a Starbucks offer, and they are standing next to a Starbucks?”
Coffin seems to imply that the answer is yes. But what if you had asked Starbucks to send you that offer? And what if the only ads you received were the ones you had asked for? Advertisers and telecomm companies would be wise to realize that they'll only get one chance to do this right. And opt-in only isn't just right from a privacy standpoint: it's also the solution most likely to yield the best results.

How do you feel about ads on your cell phone? Take the poll in the right-hand column, or comment below.


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