According to our research, here are the top ten activities conducted online. All of them would benefit from faster download speeds, but none of them require faster connection speeds. If the goal is to provide a service to the city and bridge the digital divide, 300KBPS should be enough.
Received and sent email
Used a search engine/portal (e.g., Yahoo!, MSN, Google) to search for information
Researched products and/or services
Purchased products and/or services
Gathered information on local events, restaurants, maps or traffic
Viewed a bill or statement online
Participated in contests or sweepstakes
Paid a bill online
Used the Internet to get the daily news
Conducted online personal banking (e.g., account transfer, check balances, etc.)
The marketing team also had a conversation about why we blog. Our feed subscription and site traffic have grown at a pretty decent pace and I thought it was a good point for a status check. Some of our reasons:
The propoposal from Google and Earthlink that sits on the table in front of the SF board of supervisors is a great first step towards bridging the digital divide as well as serving the needs of most San Francisco citizens.
There hasn't been much information put forth about how consumers use the Internet and whether 300 KBPS can satisfy that need. The top thing online users do is check their email. Yes, large attachments can slow things down a bit, but 300 KBPS is fine for email as well as the rest of the top ten and twenty things consumers do online - browse portals, use search, read news, shop, research products, etc.
This past Tuesday, AOL put in a 6.3 billion kronor (about $900 million) bid for Swedish ad network TradeDoubler. Although TradeDoubler's board voted to accept the bid, one of its largest share holders rejected the bid as undervalued. The take among the investment community is that this is AOL's attempt to expand advertising revenues now that it has moved away from its subscription-based business model. While I think this is certainly true, I find a few other angles of the potential acquisition more interesting:
The SF Gate posted a good piece on the SF Wi-Fi Muni debate today. There are two very good quotes in the article that sum up the situation.
The first from Gavin:
"I'm not going to take $10 million from poor people to pay for something that a private company has offered to pay for," he added, suggesting money for a system owned or part-owned by city government would take money from social programs.
The second from Don Berryman of Earthlink:
his company [Earthlink] and Google have already invested a lot of time and money negotiating with the city with no guarantee that the proposed network will be profitable.
We do a lot of research on this very topic here. What Mr. Berryman is saying is true - there are a lot of risks and really no guarantees.
I don't think that there is a better deal to "be had." Gavin got a good deal initially b/c we (San Francisco) were one of the first cities to sign on. They really don't need us so much anymore. They have Cupertino and Philly up and running. They've proven they can do this.
Lots of good advertising for the wireless industry in the new season. AT&T Wireless had commercials all ready to go with their change of brand message. Looks like Sprint is doing product placement in the show. They did last season as well.
What impressed me most when watching Sunday evening's show was the placement of an application, Telenav. Typically, it's just been the hand sets with no direct reference to the specifics of the applications. Telenav was prominently displayed on the show and then directly afterward in a commercial. I believe that contextual advertising is exactly the type of advertising that the industry needs to drive consumer adoption. Would be curious to know the terms of the integrated advertising agreement.
The one part I struggled with was Jack hot-wiring the 1982 Pontiac and finding a GPS-enabled phone in the car. (OK, not sure it's a Pontiac, but an older American model)
AdAge just announced Gino Bona, a sales exec out of Portsmouth, NH as the winner of the NFL's "create your own Super Bowl commercial" contest. And the NFL is not the only sponsor of viewer-created commercials. Chevy and Frito-Lay sponsored similar contests for their own Super Bowl spots.
Then last week the news broke about the entrepreneurial "J.P" who was seeking corporate sponsors to pay him to propose to his girlfriend during a Super Bowl commercial. The notion of using consumers to create ads isn't new and clearly consumers are actively creating their own media. But these last few stories got me to thinking: What happens now that not only are consumers creating media, but consumer actually are media? Reality TV is huge. And I would bet most of us have some fairly close connection with someone who has been on a reality TV show (my ex-boyfriend was fraternity brothers with the guy who "won" ABC's second season of "The Bachelorette.").
No discussion of the phone itself here ... please refer to my colleague, Michael Gartenberg's blog. He has a lot of posts about the iPhone. I will say though that I definitely want one. Was very cool.
My colleague David Card posted separately on the music capabilities.
I had the privilege of attending the Apple Inc.
MacWorld keynote today by Steve Jobs. As I sat there mesmerized by the amazing features, functionality, user interface (i.e., scrolling), sensors, etc., I kept asking myself, "Is Apple going to launch this as an unlocked phone? or with a carrier?" It was a very Apple-centric presentation. We knew early on it would be GSM as there was/is a slot for a SIM card (on the outside no less). Also, as soon as Jobs turned it on, we could see the "Cingular bars" at the top.
What we didn't see was Jobs boot up the phone/turn it on. Will I see the familiar "apple" logo? or will I see the orange Cingular person/jacks symbol?
I didn't see an icon on the "home" screen for Cingular.
Will iTunes begin selling games for the phone? Will glu and the rest develop games for the Apple platform? Will iTunes sell ring tones? (The demo'ed polyphonics were a bit 'yesterday' ... I was waiting for him to go into the iTunes library and convert a song into a ringtone ...ok, not happening)
What about their (Cingular's) TV/Film relationships? Will the next version of the iPhone have a MediaFLO chip? or DVB-H? If I have the iTunes phone, will I be excluded from live TV and the Sopranos?