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January 13, 2010

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Hi Matt,

Thoughtful article as ever! You mention my own application flook in the context of location-based services - I agree that location is key to our offering, but so too is our suitability as an advertising platform.

Our thesis is that most ideas on mobile ads are just plain wrong. The SMS as you pass Statbucks? Is there a person on the planet who wouldn't be annoyed at being interrupted? And any ad that takes screen space from your valuable application is also an irritation - the bigger the disjoint between the subject of the ad and the subject of the app, the bigger said irritation.

Flook is about swiping through full-screen "cards" that are attached to a place. In an upcoming release, we'll be adding the ability to home in on cards that particularly interest you, whether by category, or by author or by keywords.

Imagine you have narrowed in on the food & drink category as you look for a bar nearby - and then come across a happy hour offer. We think this combination of "pull" and "relevancy" puts us in a unique position.

Sales pitch over :-)

One of the things you have been smart about is you've integrated local advertising into the very core of your offering. Whether it's an individual advertising how smart they are in discovering an interesting thing, and sharing that, or a business advertising it's offer to people in the local area - it's the same. Advertising is the medium!

However for anyone to make money out of that there needs to be a level of education and understanding in the market that "what works on the web" doesn't necessarily work on mobile. Flook demonstrates really well that maybe the _right_ way to do location based advertising is to take your lead from billboards and posters.

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