Boston-based Quattro Wireless plans to announce today that it is providing location-based advertising for uLocate’s WHERE application on the iPhone. Now when users look for restaurants or other places that are close to them, results will include sponsored links. A search for Advil may turn up a Walgreens ad. A search for cocktails may turn up a restaurant, which provides a landing page, where users can find out about happy hour details. In addition to keyword searches and banner ads, the Where application also has widgets. In the case of the Gas Buddy widget, which provides information on the nearest gas station, there may be a banner for a hybrid car, which could link to a local hybrid enthusiasts using Where. “In talking to brand advertisers, we’ve heard the holy grail for them is to take the richness of the iPhone and mix in location with some kind of search capability, and that will be the home run many of our ad partners are looking for,” said Eswar Priyadarshan, Quattro’s CTO.
— On Volume: Currently, the reason why location-based ads aren’t perceived as popular is because the volume is too low. How many people using the iPhone Where app will be searching for Advil or cocktails on any particular street corner at a time? Steven Rosenblatt, Quattro’s VP of Advertising Sales, said: “Right now, some of it is an awareness issue and some of it is a coverage issue. The local pizza store in a specific location won’t be on board today…it will start first and foremost with big national brands that have local franchises before it gets to the true local advertisers.” Priyadarshan added: “Advertisers are all about ROI. If we can give them great targeting precision, vs. a mass reach, I think there