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iPhone buzz at ad:tech Miami

While covering ad:tech Miami yesterday, some panelists brought up the iPhone and how advertisers are holding their breath to see if it will mark a new day in adversing on mobile phones.

Advertisers are salivating over the mobile frontier, realizing the potential of how many people they can reach on the small-small screen. What's holding them back is the fact that accessing media or the Internet on a phone just isn't very affordable, so not everyone uses it.

But if the iPhone can inspire a new generation of phones (and phone plans) that make viewing media, GPS and accessing Internet on cellphones more cool and commonplace, then it won't be long before advertisers hit a larger audience on the mobile screen.

I realize there are already SMS feeds and signing up for text messages for mobile advertising. While I was at the University of Florida, there was a program that students could sign up with their phone and get text messages of coupons and promotions of Gainesville stores. But I hated it because it was sending me so many texts that it started to become distracting. I also didn't have an unlimited text plan so the costs (although they were minimal) were adding up. But that was a couple years ago...

But can you imagine the ad possibilities when accessing information on a phone becomes cheaper? When we drive by a Starbucks, we'll get a picture message of a $1 off iced coffee coupon at that Starbucks for the next hour. And we won't mind, because text messages, video, Internet, GPS and other mobile content will be so affordable that it won't feel like we're wasting minutes or being charged to view or find these things.

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