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The Advertising Buzzards Are Circling Your Cell Phone

Mon Jun 9, 2008 - 11:21 AM EDT - By Jay Gross


It’s coming, sooner or later and probably sooner. Definitely sooner than I’d like: advertising, in all its hideous, life-interrupting, superabundance, to a cell phone near you. And me.

I’m on this soapbox because of a news release that wandered my way from an Irvine, CA, company called Skweezer, Inc. They operate Skweezer.com. If you’re viewing websites on your smartphone, even on a fast network like Sprint or Verizon, you’ve probably noticed that some of them take a long time to load. They can look, well, “squonky.” Skweezer.com loads the website for you, attempting to compress it for quicker downloads. With many websites, the content also gets reformatted for the small screen.

For some sites, this works fine. It doesn’t work for mine, because of the all-graphic nature of the page. Try it on cnn.com, however, and the result is a quite readable version that entails much less side scrolling to display on the phone’s small screen. Good service, and a useful one.

The company has gleefully announced a major upgrade to their Skweezer Ads service so customers can serve ads to mobile consoles through a single ad feed. Could someone please count me out? If I want ads, I’ll read my email. I don’t want them on my mobile phone, and I particularly don’t want to wait for them to download or pay for data service to receive them.

I know I’m a meek squeak in a din of gimmes. As in: gimme that advertising, so I can promote my pizzas, my used cars, my whiz-bang what-have-yous. Maybe I’m morphing into a Luddite, but to paraphrase the famous, I’d rather be left alone. Or maybe I’m being greedy. I want my time to be mine, and I’m not willing to share it with uninvited advertisers.

According to the news release, this latest Skweezer Ads blazes new trails for advertisers, including a patent-pending algorithm that dynamically converts text-based, cost-per-click ads into mobile-friendly ads compliant with Mobile Marketing Association standards, plus cut-and-paste code that detects a visitor's device type, retrieves mobile or desktop ads accordingly, and can even reformat and compress the ad content for mobile viewing.

Yawn. It’s coming, for sure, and when it comes if it’s too annoying, I’ll save myself some money and turn off the web browser in my pocket. I already wish I could do without email.

I’m being unfair to Skweezer Ads, really. If not them, somebody else, or more probably, fifty other somebodies. The world's first internationally-consumed mobile advertising service, they’ve served mobile ads in over 175 countries, the news release brags. “Skweezer Ads provides publishers and ad networks with desktop and mobile ads through a single ad feed and includes Skweezer's optimization technology that automatically mobilizes site content for mobile visitors. Skweezer's scalable, time-tested ‘carrier grade’ content optimization and converged advertising products are relied upon by some of the largest wireless operators, search engines, ad networks, and enterprises in the world… This latest version of Skweezer Ads uses "short URL" for easier inclusion into Web sites, RSS feeds, mobile applications, and SMS messages.”

Well, there is an upside. The company’s customers can use the online mobilization technology to automatically create a mobile version of their Web sites, which can be dynamically created whenever a mobile visitor is detected.

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