RealTime IT News

Big-Name Players Team for Location-Based Internet

Internet ad firm DoubleClick Inc. is providing the advertising piece of the puzzle in new alliance aimed at developing location-based mobile Internet applications.

The group of companies, which includes Phone.com, Amazon.com, DoubleClick, In-Fusio, and Go2Systems, is teaming to exploit Phone.com's technology, which allows the company to track a person's location when she's using a wireless device.

DoubleClick is helping create location-sensitive advertisements; Amazon.com is working to develop location-sensitive commerce applications; In-Fusion is making location-based games; and Go2Systems is looking at community and content applications.

Advertising that changes based on a user's location has been one of the much-talked-about capabilities of the wireless Internet, the idea being that an advertiser could reach a customer when he was most likely to buy. Critics, though, say such capabilities will disappoint, because a person's location may not say much about his state of mind and likelihood to purchase.

Another difficulty with this kind of service -- privacy. After all, do you really want a company to know your every move? But Phone.com says its system lets consumers control access to their personal information.

"Phone.com sets an important precedent for the management of user privacy for the wireless Internet by requiring companies to request a consumer's permission before their location may be used," said Jamie Byrne, director of emerging platforms for DoubleClick.

"By giving consumers control of the usage of their data, the mobile location server protects user privacy while providing carriers, wireless publishers and companies like DoubleClick with the tools to deliver highly targeted and relevant content, services and advertising. We look forward to working with Phone.com and privacy groups to ensure wireless advertising meets the standards of fair information practices."