Beware Of Greedy Intentions In Interpretations On Mobile Content Data
By Mike Masnick, Mon Jun 07 20:15:00 GMT 2004

While a new study is touting the success of mobile content in the US, it doesn't mean that it's necessarily time for everyone to rush headlong into mobile content.

The problem with trend lines is that when the lines start heading in the direction you want them to go, you start assuming that they will always go in that direction. This leads many companies to pick up on a trend that looks favorable to them, and miss the important nuances hidden within those trends.

For example, there's now plenty of evidence that people are paying for certain forms of wireless content, which is exciting for an industry that has been (not-so-patiently) waiting for just such a day. However, studies like this (especially when combined with the Mako Analysis report talking about the importance of closing mobile phone platforms rather than opening them up) may lead carriers down the wrong path.

This is still an emerging market, where the emphasis needs to be on encouraging people to use and adopt the services, and not on squeezing every last dime out of users. While, there needs to be a balance in terms of setting expectations with users, carriers are mistaken if they believe that they can continue to control the platform and to charge for every bit of content that passes over it. They will create disincentives for using mobile data, and will push users towards alternatives, such as waiting until they get home or going to other providers who offer open platforms.

Users are increasingly comfortable with paying for specific types of content -- though, it really tends towards paying for services over actual content. People pay for sports scores and highlights not for the data, but for the service of being updated in a timely fashion. The carriers need to realize that they're not necessarily in the best position to determine what people will pay for, and that an open system can do much better, while also admitting that they need to spread some of the revenue around in order to make the whole pie much bigger. Unfortunately, they're more likely to focus on getting as much as they can now, by directly charging for as much as possible and keeping their platforms closed as long as possible. That's only likely to turn off users and do more damage in the long run.