The Search Engine of the Future: Mobility Has a Pricetag

Mobile phones are taking over the world. There will be 1.7 billion wireless subscribers by 2006 according to Strategy Analytics. Interestingly, among the so-called "first world" countries, Europe has the most wireless customers and the United States the fewest. Not even in consideration is China and her billions--yet! Your company webmaster might be advised to take a closer look at fee-based advertising, because there is likely to be extreme competition for the key slots in any search result in the very near future.

In many parts of the world, a fixed line telephone is still a luxury. That is not the case with mobile phones, which are getting cheaper by the day. Add to this, access to the world wide web from a PC requires a great deal of hardware, most of which is costly. Conversely, access from a cell phone can be facilitated by a variety of different technologies and the target market for your company will soon be available to the tiniest of villages in the remotest part of the globe! The only constraint will be whether your website is correctly positioned on the web's search engines.

This is a fascinating time for increased communication, but you must seen to be heard. That is not as odd a statement as it sounds. As access to the search engines from cell phones, PDA's, car telematics, and pagers continues to increase, so will competition heat up for the key spots on search engine listings. Your company must target the parameters of the search engines to gain the advantageous top spots or it will be ignored. Or, you must pay for the privilege of the 'top dog' slot.

Facts are that portables are being used for everything and that the young are the most plugged in of the age groups. They will talk and drive. They will text message and drive! They are strung with ear pieces and voice activated microphones and can barely get through a meal without being in communication with someone elsewhere than at the dinner table. In the very few years that it takes them to grow into your boardroom executives, they will have determined your future. Cater to them and you shall be rich--but they must know you are there.

Things change quickly. When text messaging and ads first started coming to cell phones, the response rate was stupendous. All you had to do was offer a poll, a free chance on something or even a free newsletter on an interactive screen and your response rate was as much as 11%! That is down to 2% if you have a really good offer. And the spam cops are out there, ready to close you down if you are not thoroughly permission-based. Likely, search engines will have to change to accommodate the every increasing need for information from an increasing mass of people. The competition will be fierce. Your ideas, products and services must be piercingly targeted for your customer or your message will never be heard.

Chris Palau is CEO of the software development company , which offers custom wireless development.

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