Mobile Search Isn't Transaction-Based

Some group of mobile marketers have established a working group on mobile search, essentially hoping to come up with a system that maximimzes the opportunity to insert advertising into it. The chair of the group says “Mobile search is more than indexing web pages — it’s about marketing to customers who want to buy.” This is the kind of thinking that promises to damn mobile marketing: just because somebody has a phone doesn’t mean they always want to buy things. Too much of the interest in mobile search is about helping people find consumable content like ringtones and wallpapers, when that’s not the only thing people search for on their phones. The idea of mitigating search results with advertising on a mobile phone is problematic as well. It’s easy on a Web search to differentiate between paid-placement ads and search results, but on a tiny mobile screen, it’s much harder, and anything that comes between people and the information they’re looking for will only serve to annoy them. Too much mobile marketing is based on the premise that advertising can solve a lot of problems by pushing information — whose accuracy is irrelevant, as long as it’s been paid for by an advertiser — at people. The real problem, though, is that people don’t want push advertising on mobile.

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