Archive for May, 2008

ComScore acquires M:Metrics

ComScore, the online usage measurement firm, acquired M:Metrics, the mobile specialist in usage measurements for $44.3 million. This amounts to a market consolidation in mobile measurement industry and also a convergence of mobile usage reporting with general online measurements.

This makes ComScore a top firm in mobile measurement space – an area which has seen huge growth rates in recent times with advertisers desire to track and report on user adoption of mobile data services and advertising.

The Nielsen Co. is the other top player in this space.


May 29th, 2008

Back from South Carolina Beach and Mobile happenings

Wow.. had lot of fun at Kiawah Island Beach resort, 6 hour drive from Atlanta notwithstanding, the day at the Kiawah beach and resort pool was a blast. Family and friends loved every bit of it and was totally relaxed by the end of beach day. Then…had to drive back to Atlanta on Monday and the excitement turned back to a work day morale.. Not that we don’t have fun writing to our loyal audience (you) and talking to you. Your comments and notes are the things which keep us excited and get us out of bed each morning.

well,..back to the grind. Stay tuned for some cutting edge mobile and tech posts. There is plenty of interesting activity in the world of iPhone startups and mobile revolution around the world to watch and comment on.,,,

In CellStrat, we are picking up good consulting work. Soon we will be working on our breakthrough product which will change the world of mobile media. In the meantime, feel free to let us know if we can help with mobile, technology, software, startups or related ideas.

Kleiner Perkins iFund (iPhone fund) just funded the first iPhone startup – I think it is called Pelago. Would be looking at this one more soon. iFund is the world’s first VC fund dedicated to iPhone startups. It is a $100 million fund which is a good sized VC fund. This itself indicates the potential which a new smartphone like the iPhone holds in the times to come. Even the powerful RIM has been forced to copy iPhone on many features. We hear that RIM is working on a touch sensitive screen phone similar to iPhone. RIM’s latest offering the Bold smartphone is a beautiful new device and has many of the new features which iPhone had.

On smartphones, RIM war with Apple smartphones is on. But we feel there is plenty of market in smartphone space for multiple players to thrive. Smartphones are just beginning to take over the world…


May 27th, 2008

Weekend at beautiful Kiawah Island near Charleston, SC

We are off to a weekend of beach fun and relaxation at Kiawah Island Resort near Charleston, South Carolina.

Have a good Memorial Day weekend and talk to you next week.


May 23rd, 2008

Microsoft search cashback – stroke of genius or sign of desperation ?

Microsoft is trying to buy your searches. The new program, dubbed Microsoft Live Search Cashback, sounds like some sort of cash rebate program similar to what you see in loyalty programs at retail stores or credit cards. Is it a wise move for Microsoft ? Will it turn the page for Microsoft vis-a-vis Google’s overwhelming market share in search business ?

We think the idea has some merit but for the most part it is an act of desperation. After all, searches are not for sale. People search in the hope to find good matches for their searches and advertisers go to search engines where they see consistent scalability and return on ad dollars. Microsoft has to do better on various other aspects of search like better searches, better ROI to advertisers, more relevant ads. Today, a small number of folks use Microsoft Live search – roughly 9.1% of US searches are done via Microsoft Live vs 61.6% for Google. Simply buying searches is not going to do it. This is classic Microsoft, if you can’t win on business model or innovation, use financial muscle to buy your way in. This may work but only in large partnership customers of Microsoft who will be hounded by Microsoft’s aggressive sales personnel to replace Google search box with MS Live search. For the vast majority of consumers and businesses however, their Google search box isn’t going away anytime soon.


May 22nd, 2008

Traffic Shaping in telecom networks

On the subject of Net Neutrality, the editorial team at Telephony Online ( wrote an interesting note on “traffic shaping”, or the practice by telcos to inspect packet traffic and do bandwidth prioritization. User-generated content or P2P traffic like Video (YouTubes of the world) are congesting the global network and telcos want to control this kind of traffic and police it. The telephonyonline article can be accessed at :

Editor Carol Wilson at writes “By enabling ISPs to identify P2P traffic and employ “traffic shaping” that prevented that traffic from taking over available bandwidth during times of congestion, DPI was supposed to give ISPs greater control over the quality of their networks.” DPI stands for “Deep Packet Inspection” or an ability to inspect data traffic and apply throttle control above certain loads. “Latency-sensitive traffic such as voice and video would get one level of QoS, best-effort data another, and P2P another. “, according to Wilson.

Wilson gives example of BCE, Canada which resorted to traffic shaping causing a headache for various ISPs. This has angered independent ISPs whose traffic is being policed by BCE.

Network Congestion and Traffic Shaping are vexing problems with great ethical and regulatory implications. We feel telcos should be able to recoup their heavy return on investment in the core network and have a right to resort to some bandwidth control eg we disagree with the idea that a couple of apps like YouTube and others should hog the bandwidth on the internet and all other low volume apps are left hanging high and dry with regards to bandwidth availability. But a balance is needed via regulation where carriers cannot control the internet traffic to the extent that they inhibit internet from functioning and end up throttling innovation instead.


May 20th, 2008

FaceBook ignites Harvard

Success of Facebook ( started by Mark Zuckerberg, erstwhile student at Harvard) has inspired a new generation of entrepreneurs at Harvard University to drop their quest for high-pay jobs and instead try a start up model using Facebook as a role model. Many students in Harvard are starting their ventures while on campus and some of them are shifting to Silicon Valley right after school or some even while in school. Read the full report at Wall Street Journal Online at :

Some interesting startups to come up from Harvard since Facebook are : iLike (, Scribd ( and (

We hope this culture spreads to other campuses. Who better to create innovative startups than the fresh minds on campuses around the world !!


1 comment May 20th, 2008

Yahoo : Microsoft back to the negotiating table

Activist investor Carl Icahn is forcing Yahoo to re-discuss a merger with Microsoft. Mr Icahn believes that Microsoft had an attractive offer which Yahoo should take. This is classic Wall Street influence on tech-centric Valley. When firms mature, they sometimes need to submit to stock market behemoths and can’t go their own way. Microsoft is interested as Yahoo might otherwise create a search outsourcing relationship with Google which would be not too pretty for the Redmond giant. Yahoo just concluded a test launch of Google search outsourcing which was a great success. Using that as a bulwark, CEO Jerry Yang of Yahoo declined the Microsoft offer earlier this month. Yahoo remains hot property and both Google and Microsoft want to keep it in their camp. Makes sense. Whichever camp Yahoo joins would get strengthened relative to that party’s prior position. The irony is that Microsoft is fighting so hard for a No 2 spot in an area (online advertising). Historically our friends from Redmond never settle for less than no 1.


May 19th, 2008

White paper on Mobile Advertising

We just published a rich white paper on Mobile Advertising and Marketing on CellStrat website. Check it out under the link :

Let us know any comments.



May 15th, 2008

What is eCPM ?

I came across this term used to measure the revenue from ad spending. eCPM is “Effective Cost Per thousand impressions”. In layman terms, it means revenue per thousand impressions. Even more simply, it measures which ad formats or ad models lead to higher ad revenue. This metric creates a unit to measure ad revenue impact.

eCPM = (total earnings / impressions) x 1000

This metric assumes that 1000 impressions is a large enough sample to measure the impact accurately. 

Higher the eCPM, better the ad revenue from an ad format or ad model. This metric is relevant to firms developing ad platforms in print, online or mobile world. It helps them figure out what kind of ad platform, format and technology will lead to higher ad spending by advertisers for minimum no of impressions.


May 14th, 2008

Measuring impact from Mobile Advertising

Amol Sharma wrote an interesting article in The Wall Street Journal ( on the tools being used to measure the impact of Mobile Advertising and Application Usage. Mobile measurement firms M:Metrics, Nielsen and comScore are working on technology to electronically measure the mobile ad views and mobile application usage. So far these firms have relied on customer surveys to determine what applications and ads are being seen by mobile users – this has led to very imperfect scoring patterns for mobile campaign impact measurement. The issue is that mobile ad views and data usage statistics is in the domain of carriers networks and IT systems and the carriers are highly reluctant to share this information with mobile measurement firms or advertisers in fear of impinging on customer privacy, mobile spamming and customer dissatisfaction.

The traditional method of recording customer patterns are opt-in surveys which are highly subjective and depend on customer desire to share accurate data on their usage and preferences. The more sophisticated method involves electronic monitoring software running on phones or digging into the usage logs which carriers control. The monitoring software has to deal with a zillion phone styles and operating systems and needs carrier support which is always a dicey job.

Nobody has forgotten the spam and consumer privacy issues in the online world and the last thing carriers and consumers want is the same set of problems in the mobile space. But advertisers would like accurate measurements of customer usage patterns to see the return on ad-dollars. So we have the classic consumer privacy problem here.

What might make mobile advertising appealing to consumers such that they cozy up to the idea of information sharing ? Perhaps free services to go with advertising or high degree of ad personalization – all of these techniques require prospecting usage logs and customer data which carriers control and determining customer preferences and mobile web usage patterns.

Amol’s article mentions that more likely than not, customer surveys and electronic monitoring will co-exist even after another decade.


May 14th, 2008

Previous Posts