The International Herald Tribune
March 11, 2009
The millions of people who use their cellphones daily to play games, download applications and browse the Web may not realize that they have an unseen companion: advertisers that can track their interests, their habits and even their location.
[efoods]Smartphones, like the iPhone and BlackBerry Curve, are the latest and potentially most extensive way for advertisers to aim ads at certain consumers. Advertisers already tailor ads for small groups of consumers on the Web based on personal information. But cellphones have a much higher potential for personalized advertising, especially when they use applications like user-review sites like Yelp or Urbanspoon with GPS to identify a person’s location, right down to the street corner where they are standing.
Advertisers will pay high rates for the ability to show, for example, ads for a nearby restaurant to someone leaving a Broadway show, especially when coupled with information about the gender, age, finances and interests of the consumer.
Eswar Priyadarshan, the chief technology officer of Quattro Wireless, which places advertising for clients like Sony on mobile sites, says he typically has 20 pieces of information about a customer who has visited a site or played with an application in his network. “The basic idea is, you go through all these channels, and you get as much data as possible,” he said.