Matt Marshall over at VentureBeat has an excellent article on AdMob, a top company in the mobile advertising space. Marshall does some back-of-the-envelope calculations to come up with some revenue figures and notes that AdMob is poised to start "minting" money
as the mobile web takes off. It may happen, but I wonder if the mobile ad market will really be as big a deal as some make it out to be -- for a few reasons. First, it seems incredibly unlikely that mobile ads get anywhere near the clickthrough rate of web-based ads. Given the scenarios under which mobile content is usually called up (on the go, looking for something specific), it seems likely that mobile ads would get significantly less attention. Second, and more importantly, the concept of "the mobile web" still seems like a temporary invention that is destined to go away. As the iPhone has shown, it is possible to design a rather competent browser that can show "the full web" on a mobile phone. With mobile network speeds increasing, and more handsets bound to offer similar browsing functionality in the not-too-distant future, the distinction between the mobile web and the regular web seem destined to go away. At that point, specifically mobile ads will make even less sense, and the market will simply return to the existing market for web ads.