The Tech of Obamamania: Online Phone Banks, Mass Texting and Blogs

We've already written (twice) about the Obama campaign's innovative use of text messaging, but this Wired piece explores the issue in greater depth:

The use of technology like blogs, mass texting and online phone banks has been key to Sen. Barack Obama's surprise sweep of recent primaries.

The Illinois senator's campaign has been making use of a range of technologies -- from ringtones to SMS -- to inspire Obamamania. And it's working. Obama's recent parade of victories in the primaries has given him a slight lead over Sen. Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"They've been using [texting] to get out the vote, which is incredibly smart because it gives people a way to take immediate political action," says Julie Germany, director of the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. "It's just what mobile technology is suited for."

There also having a bit of fun with their phones:

The campaign is even offering a ringtone mashup of Obama's speeches -- a 21st-century version of the campaign bumper sticker that is sure to be a conversation starter.

What could broadcast your hip, geeky, socially conscious status better than a phone with Barack Obama's voice ringing out to a club beat with: "We can have universal health care in this country! We can do that!"

Read the entire piece @ Wired News.

Report From OMMA Mobile: Madison Ave Not Ready For Mobile

MediaPost reports:

AGENCIES ARE GEARING UP FOR mobile advertising, but the process of mobile media planning and buying is still very much a work in progress, according to a panel of ad executives convened at the OMMA Mobile conference Wednesday

Buoyed by growing client interest in mobile ads, agencies are starting to field mobile specialists and acquire the expertise to help elevate cell phones to must-buy media. But incorporating mobile into the marketing mainstream remains a learning process for both Madison Avenue and advertisers.

Of course you could always bypass an expensive Madison Avenue shop and work directly with a company that is dedicated to mobile marketing.


The Mobile Implications Of A Microsoft-Yahoo Merger

mocoNews asks, "What could a tie-up of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) and Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) achieve in the mobile space?" Let's look at the press release:

Emerging user experiences:  Our combined ability to focus engineering resources that drive innovation in emerging scenarios such as video, mobile services, online commerce, social media, and social platforms is greatly enhanced.

As mocoNews notes, "Both have been busy the past year building out their mobile services and strategies." You can be sure that when considering this potential acquisition Microsoft isn't merely looking at search advertising (the past, and the present); they are also looking at mobile (the future). As Google CEO noted yesterday, the iPhone is just the "first of a whole generation of products" that will exploit search technology. "With those search opportunities comes ad monetization," said Schmidt. 

In-Stat: Cell Phones Will Morph Into Wallets By 2012

U.S. CONSUMERS ARE MOVING CLOSER to being able to use their cell phones as mobile wallets, according to a new study.

The report, by technology research firm In-Stat, projects that by 2012 between 8 million and 30 million customers in North America will be making contactless payments via cell phone. The key is incorporating the short-range wireless technology into handsets and payment systems that make such transactions possible.

As mobile phones morph into mobile wallets, and the mobile advertising platform expands and matures, marketers will essentially gain the ability to display targeted ads in customer's wallets...

Read the entire story about the In-Stat report at OnlineMediaDaily.

The New York Times Is Texting!

As David Utter of WebProNews says: "OMG NYT TXT 2 U!!!"

The Times took another step to meeting the demands of its readers, this time on the mobile side of the content experience. A Times by SMS feature opened today, as a complementary service to their existing mobile website.

By sending a keyword to 698698 (NYT-NYT), people can retrieve news items, and the work of columnists like tech writer David Pogue or opinion writer Maureen Dowd, via text. The arriving message contains a hyperlink, giving a person the option to view the column in the mobile browser rather than replying to the first message for the next piece of the item.

See our previous coverage of the NY Times' Mobile Real Estate Listings

A Text-To-Order Liquor Store In Texas!

Ran Pass  Liquors is more than your average liquor store. Each year, this El Paso-based liquor store donates over 10% of its income to local charities, sponsors numerous events in the El Paso market - from live bands to its very own event "UNITY JAM" – and stays ahead of the game by offering their customers drink recipes and special discounts. To further extend their reach, Ran Pass also delivers and sells to bars & nightclubs. Following an overhaul of their website, customers will be able to seek information on brands, mixers, wines, etc.

Ran Pass was looking for an innovative way to keep current and potential customers posted on their weekly discounts, specials, events and other news, especially during slower days of the week.  With the upcoming website, they not only wanted to offer customers an online ordering option, but also a TXT-2-Order option for those customers on the go.  Ran Pass Liquors turned to Club Texting to come up with a custom program that will meet these needs.

Ran Pass chose to unveil their text messaging program in two phases. The first was a push to generate signups and send mass discounts to their subscribers. Here is a sample of tactics:

  • Offering 10% time-sensitive discounts on purchases, along with free t-shirts
  • Using MySpace bulletins to promote the program and our Widget to increase signups
  • Ordered over 1000 custom water bottles to distribute during the upcoming Mardi Gras festival with a call-to-action directly on the label
  • Hired female staff members to hand out cards at bars/clubs with Text incentives

Phase two, which will be completed shortly, will include a brand new online ordering system for deliveries. Registered customers who wish to order via SMS can simply text “LIQUOR + their order” to 25827. They will immediately receive a confirmation message, and their order will be delivered in under 30 minutes.

Using the Club Texting system, Ran Pass has started collecting a valuable database of cell phone numbers and, with a strong marketing campaign in place over the next few months, will be a pioneer in mobile spirits sales!

Visit Club Texting to supercharge your business' mobile marketing efforts.

Study: 1.1 billion mobiles sold around the world in 2007

Is the mobile phone destined to become the largest advertising platform in the world?

More than 1.1 billion mobile phones were sold around the world last year, and developing countries in Africa and elsewhere should maintain the momentum in 2008, according to a study released Thursday.

Head over to Yahoo News to see how the major phone manufacturers fared.

Study: More Firms Launch Mobile Websites

OnlineMediaDaily has information on a new JupiterResearch report on the state of the mobile web. The results are interesting:

SOME 40% OF WEB SITE operators have launched mobile sites and another 22% plan to do so in the next year, according to a new JupiterResearch study.

And what does the near future hold?

Driving the growth of mobile sites are factors such as the expansion of 3G networks and smartphones and improving prospects for deriving revenue from mobile advertising. Jupiter estimates that increasing page views and usage will push annual mobile display and search advertising revenue to $825 million by 2012.

Head over to OnlineMediaDaily to read more commentary on the Mobile Web Sites: Designing for Mobility report.

Study: Mobile Subscribers Taking Note Of Ads

ONE IN THREE U.S. MOBILE subscribers, or 78 million people, saw or listened to an ad on their cell phone during the last three months, according to a study.

That stat says it all...but here are some more of the interesting findings of a new report by GfK NOP Research:

SMS text messaging remains the dominant non-voice service used by U.S. mobile subscribers, with 56% tapping away on phones. Mobile gaming and surfing the mobile Web were both about half that percentage, while less than 10% watch mobile TV.

Of the one-third of cell customers who have seen mobile ads, most received them via SMS or MMS text messaging. "A third of mobile phone owners saying they've seen advertising on their phones is significant," said Rob Lawson, CMO at Limbo, which creates games and other mobile content. "It means the first hurdle has been crossed to reaching the mass market."



In terms of demographic data, men were found to have 20% higher advertising recall than women. Meanwhile, African-Americans had twice the recall of whites and those under 24 had twice the recall of those over 50.

When it comes to SMS texting, 82% of active users were under 24 and African-American and Hispanic consumers were 50% more likely to be SMS users than white ones. Single people were half again as likely to text as married people.



Though the finding that single people were half as likely to text as married people seems a bit suspect, the study otherwise confirms what many others have already shown--mobile advertising is growing by leaps and bounds.

Head over to OnlineMediaDaily to read the rest of the report.




The Untold Story: How the iPhone Blew Up the Wireless Industry

Wired Magazine has a must read article about the development of the iPhone and how it has already changed the entire landscape of the wireless industry in America:

It was a late morning in the fall of 2006. Almost a year earlier, Steve Jobs had tasked about 200 of Apple's top engineers with creating the iPhone. Yet here, in Apple's boardroom, it was clear that the prototype was still a disaster. It wasn't just buggy, it flat-out didn't work. The phone dropped calls constantly, the battery stopped charging before it was full, data and applications routinely became corrupted and unusable. The list of problems seemed endless. At the end of the demo, Jobs fixed the dozen or so people in the room with a level stare and said, "We don't have a product yet."

Head over to Wired to read the entire piece.

US Consumers Want Next Gen Cellular Data Services

Fox Business has an interesting story about the average American wireless subscriber,  and the new services that he/she wants:

A survey of more than 3,300 customers of Verizon Wireless, AT&T Mobility, T-Mobile and Sprint in North America has revealed a series of new consumer attitudes about the way voicemail services are provided currently.

--  The ability to avoid dialing into voicemail to retrieve  messages

--  Not having to write down details within a voicemail

--  Being able to discreetly read messages without having to listen

--  The ability to respond to messages with a single click as a call, sms or email.

The organization that took the survey believes that the iPhone has raised the bar for consumer expectations. As the inevitable copy-cat devices come to market we can expect to see wireless subscribers who are more and more educated about data-rich applications.

Read more at Fox Business.

Papa John's Kicks Off 'TEXTra' Promo For Football Season

OnlineMediaDaily has  an interesting story today about a new text messaged-based mobile couponing campaign from Papa John's.  Here are the details:

Fans sign up at or text "POINTS" to 47272 (4Papa) ahead of the game, and can get super deals on pizza throughout the season based on the number of points scored on the field.

During the wild-card and divisional rounds, fans will get a texted promo code worth 25% off a large, three-topping pizza ordered online the following week IF the game totals 25 points or more.

For conference championship day on Jan. 20, the discount goes to 50% if the teams score a cumulative 50 points.

Finally, on Super Bowl Sunday, if the cumulative score is 75 points or more, registered fans get a 75% discount, taking the regular $15.99 price of the pizza to $3.99.

We also learn that Papa John's is quite the text-savvy business:


Papa John's is at the forefront of text-ordering, having launched it in November. Rival Pizza Hut is about to follow suit, and Quiznos, Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's, Starbucks and Subway are all investigating text-ordering.

Various industry executives as well as academic observers are predicting that text-ordering's potential is huge, and will become as commonplace as online ordering is now within a few years. Some say it could account for a quarter of all such orders within 10 years.



Read more @ OnlineMediaDaily




Betnow Scores First Funding For Mobile Text Gambling

In an interesting development in the UK--unfortunately for American card sharks--London-based mobile gambling service Betnow has scored a first round of funding from Balderton Capital and angel investors:

Betnow allows users to place bets on football, golf, horse racing, dog racing and tennis matches by sending SMS text messages to 89808. Betting instructions can be written out using English language; payment is handled via the mobile contract or via a bank account, winnings can be collected from a customer’s local Post Office branch.

Lest you think this is a niche market, consider this:

Mobile gambling was forecast to be worth $1.3 billion in 2007 and $26 billion by 2012, according to a Juniper Research white paper released in October, with the UK outlook looking particularly good thanks to recently relaxed regulations on advertising.

Read more at paidContent:UK.

Analysts Boost Mobile Ad Outlook

It seems like every day another story is published about the growing mobile advertising market. Well, here comes another one:


eMarketer projects mobile ad spending overall to cross the $1 billion threshold for the first time, jumping to $1.55 billion in 2008 from $878 million last year. The market research firm also predicts the mobile marketing industry will execute its first campaign of more than $1 million and that "local mobile search will become a huge battleground among Web giants, mobile operators and local directory publishers," according to Senior Analyst John du Pre Gauntt.

Other analysts also expect the mobile screen to become a more advertising- and e-commerce-friendly medium in 2008.

"As an ad medium, mobile is no longer a novelty and some interesting and creative mobile campaigns and promotions emerge this year," wrote Greg Sterling, principal at Sterling Market Intelligence on his blog. He also foresees mobile devices playing a more crucial role linking the Internet to brick-and-mortar stores by providing in-store price-comparison and product information.



Head over to OnlineMediaDaily for more analysis.




Student suffers from 'text messenger's thumb'

We always encourage you to text at Club Texting, but as with all good things, do so in moderation:

A medical student in New Zealand has been diagnosed with ‘text-messager’s thumb’ as a result of her excessive use of SMS.

Fleur de Vere Beavis is said to be suffering from the condition of Texting Tenosynovitis, which has seen her tendons swell up and her thumb become inflamed.

Sending up to 100 messages every day has caused her physical pain, says the New Zealand Herald, with the problem one of only a few cases in the world.

Read the entire story @

Report: Text Messages Sent To Grow To 2.3 Trillion In 2008

Think Text Messaging isn't an important marketing platform? Think again:

Gartner estimates that about 1.9 trillion messages were sent this year and next year will see 20 percent growth to reach the 2.3 trillion mark.

Now before you say, 'wait a minute, you're talking about Europe, not the States,' consider this:

Gartner notes that the least amount of growth will come from Europe, where use is leveling off and may even reach its zenith this year. North America, on the other hand, will see significant growth. We're expected to send more than 300 billion messages, up from 189 billion in 2007. That means North America alone will account for roughly 25 percent of the growth in message use in 2008.

Are you communicating with your customers through SMS Text Messaging yet? If not, it's time to get in touch with Club Texting.

Read more at Information Week.

Nokia Ad Chief: "Why retailers need a mobile edge"

iMedia Connection recently ran a piece by Mike Baker, the VP of Nokia Ad Business, on the importance of mobile marketing to the retail industry.

First, he succinctly defines the medium:

Mobile advertising is the opportunity to serve potential customers with a relevant, appealing offer on which they can easily act. For instance, a consumer is browsing mobile content or viewing a mobile map when an opportunity is presented to click through a banner ad to receive a mobile coupon that can easily be redeemed at a store, or to schedule a test drive of a new vehicle model or to find the nearest retailer of a certain product, with useful directions to the nearest point of sale.

He also provides some informative examples of how retailers might utilize the mobile platform:

  • Mobile alerts update customers of sales, new products and shipments or extended hours.
  • Mobile coupons drive customers to the store with special deals they don't need to worry about clipping from the newspaper and remembering at a later date.
  • Mobile coupons sent on a card member's birthday enhance loyalty.
  • Text notifications of coupon expiration dates drive store visits.
  • Mechanics like birthday reminders, mobile access to wish lists, recipes or shopping lists stored on or sent to the phone encourage in-store shopping.

Head over to iMedia Connection to read the entire piece--it's worth your time.

The Wall Street Journal's SMS Christmas Cartoon

The Wall Street Journal recently ran a Christmas cartoon that really reflects our  SMS-obsessed culture:
Happy Holidays from Club Texting.

FCC Asked to Stop Telecom Censorship of Text Messages

A COALITION OF ADVOCACY GROUPS Tuesday asked the Federal Communications Commission to prohibit wireless companies from censoring text messages. "Discriminating in providing mobile services is contrary to the principles which have governed both wired and wireless carriers for decades," the organizations argued in a petition filed Tuesday.

Why is this so important?

With more and more consumers relying on text messaging, advocates say it's critical to stop telecoms from blocking messages. "There's a lot at stake because this is the way people are communicating now," said Gigi Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge. The groups argued to the FCC that declining to transmit messages from certain senders violates common carrier rules, which prohibit telephone companies from picking and choosing which conversations to allow.

If you think the advocacy groups are overreacting, then consider this:

On at least two occasions this year, wireless companies refused to send certain text messages. In September, Verizon barred the abortion rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America from sending messages to supporters, even though they had signed up to receive them. The company reversed its decision after an article about the situation ran in The New York Times. And earlier this year, several carriers refused to run text messages from a rival, Rebtel, that offers Voice over Internet Protocol service.

Read more at OnlineMediaDaily.


Asia's Wireless Operators Eye The U.S. Market.

Business Week has posted an interesting story about the potential for Asian wireless firms to jump into the US Market:

The renewed interest in U.S. wireless assets might seem puzzling with average monthly phone bills holding steady and the supply of potential first-time customers dwindling fast in a nation where more than a quarter-billion of the population already carries mobile phones.

The answer may lie in mobile Internet access and data services. "We have more opportunity in terms of data [services] growth than any other developed country," says Gene Frantz, a partner at Texas Pacific Group, which, along with another private equity firm, purchased No. 5 U.S. wireless carrier Alltel for $27.5 billion in November.

What is at stake?

While most North American wireless users currently pay less than $10 a month for data services, that spending may rise to nearly $38 a month by 2012, according to Insight Research. Over that same period, the consultancy says, wireless data spending by Europeans, Asians, and Latin Americans is only expected to roughly double, to about $20 a month. Overall, North American data revenues are projected to grow 36.4% a year—faster than in any other region of the world—to reach $132 billion by 2012, up from $28 billion this year, according to Insight Research.

Head over to Business Week to read the rest of this article.


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