This isn’t surprising news, but what is surprising is that it didn’t come sooner. Google has introduced AdSense for Mobile Applications, which essentially lets advertisers place text and image ads with mobile applications. This isn’t limited to Android devices either. This program is now in beta and if all goes well you could be seeing the subtle ads across more mobile operating systems.
The ads are meant to be non-intrusive, and actually even with text have that sort of banner look that most of us are accustomed to seeing on Web sites already. Given that you can’t go to a major sporting event without seeing ads everywhere – or for that matter a drive down any major road – these ads are almost low key.
A recent report from mobile services firm AdMob found that the average iPhone user in AdMob’s network accessed four applications in May, so this is a good place for getting your ads seen. The ad content is further based on the geographical location of the user, and also takes advantage of context and key words.
Did a 99-cent App Kill Journalism?
To say that an app that costs less than a dollar killed the world of print journalism would be sort of like saying that those 99-cent burger offers destroyed the steak house industry. In these tough times it might bite in business, but killer app?
However, that is what Ray Richmond of TheWrap.com stated earlier this week in his post on how apps such as the New Fuse USA are part of the decline and fall of Western journalism. As he points out, the News Fuse feed supplied him with content from 27 different news outlets, including content The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, and all of the cable news network, most of the network news and various other sources. As Richmond further notes he gets all this for 99-cents thanks to the iPhone app, whereas subscriptions to these would be $150 or more… a month!
It also doesn’t help that many of the news organizations gave it away, and now want to charge. Word is that The New York Times is considering charging for an app, but how do you charge when you’re free on another app?
As a long time freelance journalist I can attest that this has been a tough year. Freelance budgets are nearly non-existent, work is tight, and early today even my wife came home after being laid from her job as an editor. But I don’t so much as see this as “journalism is dying” because of these apps, but rather a “journalism is in transition” because of technology in general.
The news filtering out of Iran right now is proof positive that the killer apps are those that allow media to get out. During the Indian Mutiny some 152 years ago, readers of the major papers were weeks behind the story because of the lag in delivery. When the city of Khartoum was overrun by fanatics in the Sudan some 30 years later it took days for the news to reach the “media” in Europe via the telegraph lines. Flash forward to the Gulf War in 1990, and the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991; it was CNN that brought the story into the living rooms as it was happening. But obviously, the leaders in Iran learnt the lesson too well, and cut off the media. Yet the story continues thanks to bloggers, Twitter and other new major technology (although it should be added that the death of pop star Michael Jackson almost brought the Internet to a standstill thanks to users twittering, blogging and rushing to news sites for information).