Most websites need financial support if they are to provide services to website visitors. That is particularly tough for cell phones, which access the mobile web, since small screens do not leave much room for advertising. If you feel that a major slice of mobile Web activity will be via sound technology, then there is an additional challenge. Who wants to wait patiently listening through a sound advertisement until they get to the information they were seeking?
Nevertheless the rewards will be high so it comes down to finding out the best way to make acceptable sound advertisements. Part of that acceptability will come from the desirability of the information being offered. An early contender in the field is 1-800-Flights. According to a NY Daily News item, this Houston, Texas company has developed a service, which will give you specific flight status information. The new service, which officially launched this month, covers 141 domestic and international airlines at all 432 U.S. commercial airports, as well as 173 international airports. Along with flight status, 1-800-Flights provides terminal and gate information.
All you do is call and give the flight number, which is picked up by voice recognition technology. You’ll then hear a short commercial while a computer checks the flight information. “The idea behind 1-800-Flights is to offer U.S. air travelers a simpler, more convenient way to check flight status while offering advertisers a one-to-one opportunity to reach these affluent, educated consumers,” said Sam Stolbun, president of the Houston-based company.
1-800-Flights is the first application of voice-recognition technology to flight information throughout the U.S. market although other Web services, including Orbitz and Google, provide flight information on your computer or as a text message to your cell phone. 1-800-Flights is currently a wholly cell-phone-based service, however clearly it could be easily extended to integrate with Web-based services.
If, as we believe, the sound-based mobile Web will be a major sector, then this type of sound advertising will be a sector to watch.