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Mobile Search Battle Heating Up

Business Week looks at the battle to dominate the mobile search space and its estimated $11.4 billion ad spend by 2011.

While Google has the lead, Yahoo is making a strong challenge and there are a many white-label providers out there.

Regardless of who is leading at the moment, the mobile search field is wide open. What’s more, though brand matters to mobile users, it seems that service matters even more. “To think that you have a straight line from Internet success over to mobile is missing what is happening in the marketplace,” says M:Metric senior analyst Mark Donovan. “This market is up for grabs.”

Newspapers Outperforming TV in Video Ads

It’s true: newspapers are outperforming TV in video ads. In 2006, newspapers’ websites sold $81 million in local online streaming video advertisements. Local TV broadcasters’ websites sold only $32 million. Even taken with the other $48 million spent on online video advertising, it’s not much compared to the advertising industry total of $280 billion. But look out: online video is poised to become a more and more significant portion of online ad spending.

This year, $371 million will be spent on local online video advertising—comprising about 5% of the total of $7.7 billion online ad spending according to Borrell Associates Inc’s new study, “The New Frontier: Local Online Video Advertising.” This is more than double last year’s online video spend total of $161 million.

Mobile Search Not That Hot?

A recent UK survey of mobile phone users suggests that there may be no where near the amount of people using their cell phones for search, as believed.

Just 20% of UK subscribers actually search for content on the mobile internet, despite an industry perception that 89% do, according to research released today, from the Mobile Entertainment Forum and Ovum

What’s more, they’re not searching for restaurants, or directions. Just 2% conduct a search on a daily basis and those searching less frequently, search for ringtones and music downloads.

And remember, this is a UK survey. The Brits are ahead of their US cousins, when it comes to mobile phone adoption and technology. The stats hardly send a warm and fuzzy message to those looking for a broader adoption of mobile content.

Yahoo Inks Mobile Advertising Deals in 18 Countries; Intel, Pepsi Sign-on

Ok, so unlike the Google/Vodafone announcement, news that Yahoo has signed some big name companies to deploy mobile ads to 18 countries, is significant.

Yahoo said it has signed up major advertisers including Hilton’s Embassy Suites, Infiniti, Intel Corp., Nissan, Pepsi & Co, Procter & Gamble Asia-Pacific and Singapore Airlines will be initial advertisers on Yahoo’s mobile advertising system.

While Google’s making deals to add maps to cell phones, Yahoo’s actually signing deals that will bring an immediate increase to the bottom line. Sure, you can argue that adding Google Maps to Vodafone, will bring greater exposure for Google and could lead to ads on those maps, but Yahoo’s deal will see immediate monetization of mobile content.

Vodafone Customers Getting Google Maps for Mobile

One of the world’s largest mobile phone networks, Vodafone, has just announced a deal with Google that will see Google Maps integration for European mobile phone customers.

Google Maps for mobile, a downloadable java application, is expected to offer customers in selected markets easy-to-use maps and local listings, as well as local search and navigation capabilities. Customers will be able to enjoy unlimited use of Google Maps for mobile, subject to Vodafone data tariffs.

Ok, so it’s news. I’d assume that our readers would want to know about the deals Google is making, but is it really that big of a deal? It’s starting to feel overkill to keep posting every single deal that Google makes. There’s no financial details disclosed, so we don’t even know if this is a significant partnership or not.

Cingular and Apple Dropped the SEO Ball with iPhone

There is a reason that smaller agile companies and entrepreneurs will always have a place on the web. Big corporations just don’t get it sometimes.

Take for example Apple’s iPhone launch. Both Cingular and Apple where in the perfect position to dominate the free market for the product. After all, they are the source and in the end, it all comes from them. So how is it that when I search Google for iPhone, Cingular is not anywhere on the first page and the only place you find Apple is in the sponsored results?

In fact, let’s look at the site searches on Cingular.com and Apple.com for iPhone. There is not a single page on either site that is optimized for the iPhone.

Community Driven Yahoo Local Database

Maintaining a national online local database is a daunting task. Errors are very common in local search results. In an effort to clean up their data, Yahoo is promoting user editing of local business listings.

From the Yahoo Local Blog:

It’s time to announce a new feature on Yahoo! Local which empowers you to add your favorite new local business, alert others when an old favorite has closed, and add or change business info quickly. Now you can truly be our eyes and ears in your community!

When a new business is submitted, they promise to have it live within 24 hours. With business listings that are already live, they are testing requested changes by giving future users a pop up and asking them if the requested changes are correct.