Category Archives: Mobile

Bay Area Mobile Networks Can’t Handle an Earthquake

Yesterday (October 20th), we here in the South end of the San Francisco Bay Area had a moderate 5.6 earthquake (officially designated by the USGS as event nc40204628). We were fine, even if the kids were a little rattled. (I had to explain to them that earthquakes are part of living in California.)

I tried to call my parents to see if they felt it, but got the dreaded “all circuits are busy” on our standard AT&T line. Not too surprising. What surprised me was that my Sprint mobile was also not working, but rather than a decent message, it would simply hang up after trying to connect for a few seconds.

Today on I finally found some confirmation: Quake calls jammed cell phone networks. I’m sure that mobile networks use the same sort of modeling as traditional phone lines to predict and handle peak loads, but it’s starting to look like their maximum loads are much lower. My AT&T line was useful again in about 10 minutes and I was able to get on a conference call with India for an hour without any dropouts. My Sprint phone, on the other hand, was still dead an hour later. Not a good sign for anyone counting on their mobile in case of an emergency.

AdMob Publishes Mobile Ads Metrics

AdMob is an up and coming mobile advertising platform, supporting both the advertisers and publishers (including my Mobile Website list). AdMob is in a unique position given they serve millions of ads to mobile devices each day. Today they published a summary report of some metrics from September 2007:

AdMob Mobile Metrics is a new report with market level data. This initial report covers the month of September and includes manufacturer, device and country-specific data on AdMob’s top four markets by impressions served: US, UK, India and South Africa. In the future, we plan to add operator data and incremental data on devices. AdMob plans to release new reports on a monthly basis.

It’s great that AdMob is being this transparent with their data. Granted, they aren’t revealing anything too proprietary like advertising or click-through rates, but the data shown gives a great sense of the actual mobile phones in use today (at least, those that are browsing websites featuring AdMob ads).

A couple years ago I summarized mobile device user agent types accessing my mobile website list. Now I need to update that data and compare to what AdMob is seeing.

See the image below for a snapshot of the worldwide market share, or visit the AdMob Metrics page for all the details.

AdMob Ad Data Graph

Success with Admob for Mobile Advertising

Admob LogoI’ve been running Google AdSense on both my main blog and my mobile website list for almost 4 years now. I don’t get enough traffic to earn anything significant, but it does cover my hosting costs each year.

With the recent increase in traffic to my mobile site, I decided to give Admob a try and so far it’s going great. Two weeks into the switch, everything is up, including clicks, click rate and revenue.

Previously I was using traditional Google Adsense with the 125×125 button. Because it was so big (for a mobile page), I positioned it at the bottom, after all the content. Now with Admob I’m using just a simple text link ad, so it’s positioned right at the top (but still clearly shown as an ad). The position change itself is probably the biggest help on the click rate.

I did run into one problem installing the Admob PHP code. Their standard boilerplate code uses an fopen() call to fetch the ad contents, but on my hosting provider, the allow_url_fopen setting is turned off for security reasons. I modified the code to use curl instead and it works fine now.

Top 20 Mobile Websites

Update: For the most current data (all of 2008), please see Top Mobile Websites for 2008.

With a recent spike in interest in my mobile website list, I wanted to take a
look at the most popular links. For the past 8 months, I’ve been using MyBlogLog
to help capture not just page views, but keeping track of which links are the
most popular.

I haven’t had a chance to dig deeper into the community aspects of MyBlogLog,
but the Javascript click tracking is very helpful. It won’t track any mobile
browsers for which Javascript is disabled or not present, but the overall trend
should still be accurate.

Based on about eight months’ of data, here are the top 20 sites:

  1. Google Maps
  2. Amazon Anywhere
  3. PDA Animated Weather
  4. The Weather Channel
  5. Google
  6. Fandango
  7. Traffic
  8. StreetIQ Mobile
  9. Wapedia (encyclopedia)
  10. Mobile MapQuest
  11. GameGeek
  12. Mobile DrinkBoy
  13. TV Guide
  14. Netflix Mobile
  15. AccuWeather
  16. Business Week
  17. Flickr Mobile
  19. My PDA Site
  20. New York Post

Looking at the popular sites, most are what you’d expect (Google, Amazon,
Fandango, etc.). Surprises included PDA Animated Weather and Mobile
. It’s quite interesting to see what mobile users have found useful.

If you take a closer look at the full list of outgoing links, there is a bit of
the “long tail” effect. (See the full chart below.) The top 20 sites account for
about a third of the total.