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The ILM:07 session on cutting-edge demos was devoted to a presentation and demo by Claudia Poepperl, CMO of Copenhagen-based mobilePeople. MobilePeople is a vintage player in this nascent space, having been in business for more than five years now. It’s currently in 12 markets, comprising eight languages, with a variegated client base of mobile search publishers, including a recently inked deal with Yellow Pages Group of New Zealand.

Mobile local search is really in the spotlight now, what with Google’s Android SDK, and SDKs from Yahoo! and others. (Those third-party app developers will be burning the midnight oil soon, if they aren’t already.)

Poepperl’s material included a taxonomy of mobile search players, built on a two-by-two matrix and bubble chart (suggesting she may have been a consultant in a previous life).

Poepperl demo’d mobilePeople’s Java-based search platform, which uses SVG (scalable vector graphics) to generate maps instead of the slower-to-load tile images. (The platform is also available in WAP flavor, for the Java-challenged.) We took a tour of some popular destinations in Amsterdam (although we were told that previous audiences also got to tour the red light district).

In taking this platform through its paces (as implemented by Truvo — formerly World Directories), Poepperl underscored the importance of blending in a variety of other content with pure search functionality. She said providers that only offer pure YP type searches (on mobile devices) get an average of two queries a day, while those that provide other content with a search generate five to six per day.

Getting down to brass tacks (or guilders, or kroner), the monetization opportunities in mobile search are analogous to those in the offline world, and include:

  • Preferential listings
  • Sponsorships
  • Banner ads
  • Mobile-specific landing pages

Poepperl opined that the last option, the mobile-specific landing page, is the best for all parties concerned. Mobile-specific landing pages can be linked to from any source, are user-friendly and behave well on mobile devices, unlike their clunkier Web site cousins.

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