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Verizon: Mobile Ads, Pay Twice?

Verizon Wireless plans to cash in on the current craze over ads on mobile web sites, reports the New York Times, which says Verizon will allow on-deck mobile web ads early next year. After Sprint started a similar campaign a couple months ago, there have been constant rumors that Verizon would start slowly doing the same. At CTIA last September Verizon Wireless COO Lowell McAdam commented, “More than the PC the cell phone is a personal space. If customers get an ad they don’t like, we are going to hear about it. We are moving slowly on this.”

We all know mobile ads will be a big business some day, though we can debate how fast the market will grow. An interesting question that the report doesn’t address is: will mobile ads lead to any kind of discounted service or lowered costs for the customer? If the company is helping monetize its services with mobile ads, shouldn’t the customer see some savings — or do we have to pay Verizon twice, once on our hefty bills, and a second time for our eyeballs on the mobile web?

We asked Verizon about this issue and they didn’t get back to us on that. Google certainly seems to think that mobile ads can offer free or discounted phones. But that’s Google. Not a carrier that is desperately looking to add new revenue streams.

6 Responses to “Verizon: Mobile Ads, Pay Twice?”

  1. This is absolute crap. First I got conned into getting a Blackberry from them and adding the web service for an additional $50 a month. I realized I wasn’t using it at all, so I decided to cancel it. I don’t remember the conversation exactly, but something about Blackberry requiring that I keep some sort of web access, so I reduced my usage to $25 a month for something I hardly ever use. Now they want me to sit through advertisements AND pay for a service that I don’t use? Crap, I tell you.

  2. Yup, it IS evil and it DOES suck. So does getting your credit card bill (or other regular bill) in the mail and having to wade through countless advertisements in order to see what the current charges are! Unfortunately it’s only going to get worse!

  3. I am not so pessimistic about this – i can see free wireless services/phones emerging some day if the user is willing to put up with some advertisements. But if there is no discount for the user, this is NOT going to fly.

  4. This really sucks! I already pay enough on my exorbitantly high Verizon phone bill each month … and now I get to be “spammed” with ads on a screen – precious real estate – that is already too small to display the content that I’m really after.

    I suppose “spamming” me with ads is fine if I in turn get a “huge discount / subsidy” on my already overpriced cell bill, but if Verizon thinks they are going to keep all this filthy lucre for themselves … does “EVIL” come to mind??? (I’ll stay with them for now because I have no other choice, but once another option comes along, I’ll drop them in a second.)

  5. This is nothing but lock-in on steroids. Imagine if the old land-line telephone were run under these condition.

    The one remarkable thing about the article was the complete absence of any consumer or privacy advocate.

    I mean, if the only thing holding Verizon back is the sensitivity of its own Wireless COO, we’re really in trouble.