More Experimenting With Free WiFi

The Schlotzsky’s deli free WiFi story still gets a tremendous amount of press coverage, but this article points out that many others are picking up on this trend and trying to come up with business models that build off of free WiFi. They discuss HotSpotNation, which is trying to make a business out of providing the equipment to places that want to offer free WiFi – and subsidizing it with advertising revenue. I’m not convinced that type of business model will work, but it’s interesting to see companies being built around the idea of free WiFi. Addendum by Derek: Even as we know that banner ads couldn’t support the dot-bombs, ads on free WiFi Hotspots offer something different: location context. Imagine how much more effective an ad can be if the store that put it there is half a block from where you’re sipping coffee… How about an interstitial ad before the customer gets free Internet: “On your way home? 20% off flowers at Smith’s flowers, across the Street from Buck’s coffee.”

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