I want to start this blog with letting everyone know that I don't try to "break" services. I really, really want mobile content and marketing to do well.

Philips is paying $5 million to the Condé Nast Media Group to sponsor recommendations in cities throughout the US and Europe. See story.

Sponsoring alerts is a form of ad inventory. It's an interesting concept in many ways. There isn't much of it. There is consumer interest in these types of services according to our data.

What I like about the idea:

  • Has utility
  • Good content
  • Links to Philips section on Amazon.com (ok, a bit hard to shop for electronics on a cell phone)
  • Sponsorships make more sense at this stage then buying targeted inventory (e.g., pizza in San Francisco) b/c there simply isn't enough of it

What I find challenging:

  • I'm not sure what acronym ties into "82222"
  • At this stage, text messaging needs to be bullet-proof in terms of functionality. I did a search on San Francisco + Burmese restaurant and got the following message: "We're sorry but your text message was not understood. Please check spelling and try again or reply HELP for more info." I'm pretty sure I spelled San Francisco and restaurant correctly.

I tried again with San Francisco and Pizza – this time I got an error message telling me that the service is temporarily down.

I tried their suggestion of the HELP message. They sent me back a vocabulary of codes to use to express my search more accurately (e.g., DINE NYC rather than San Francisco Restaurant). Ok, it's not supposed to be true local search – so my bad.

Some of the suggestions I got back:

"Good Finds" = FEEL (??? no idea)
"Destinations" = SEE

They told me to look online for city codes.

My point is – these services shouldn't require an instruction manual.

Once I followed their instructions, I was given a handful of restaurants in SF along with their phone numbers. So, it worked pretty much as advertised. One can't go into the process though with a normal search paradigm.