Tuesday 4 December 2007

IPTV: TV Advertising to Fall Apart

For years now, people have been predicting the demise of TV and TV advertising. But there wasn’t much substance to these predictions and they seemed somewhat far-fetched. However, when Bill Gates makes predictions and acts upon them by launching Microsoft IPTV it is hard not to take notice. Actions speak louder than words after all, and Bills actions are big actions.

What he’s saying in speeches, and predicting is also a lot more subtle and specific than the mutterings of crystal ball gazers heretofore and I think he’s absolutely right, and what he predicts is, in fact, inevitable. The time frame is the only thing that is in question.

In speeches he’s saying that the TV advertising business model, where the vast majority of traditional ad spend goes will fall apart over the next five years, when the new type of news-on-demand interactive TV formats come into their own. Google, and Yahoo! also have IPTV offerings, and services like Joost, Babelgum, 4OD stimulate this growth.

That’s the technology, and how often have you seen articles on the net telling you there is a new offering that will change everything. However, this is different! (Don’t they all say that?) I think this is different because three things are happening in tandem and when these all move together, change happens. Yes, firstly the technology has developed and advanced, but secondly society has also changed with peoples’ behaviours and media expectations shifting through YouTube, Video on demand and UGC. And finally there are necessary major economic shifts, through advertising, to pay for it all. That’s the full set of requirements for technological and social change. These are the three elements that explain why VHS succeeded where Betamax failed and then why DVD outstripped them both; why vinyl gave way to cassette, CD and then downloads changed the music industry forever; and also why IPTV will rock the world of TV advertising and change it forever. (In fact, more recently Amazon are trying the same trick for books with Kindle).

Yes, the technology is changing, but also peoples’ behaviour and the economics to pay for it all is shifting also. The technology has advanced as has the broadband speed to deliver the new formats, but also net ad spend has increased, by around 17% worldwide last year. While it’s still only a small proportion of total ad spend, in many countries it’s on a par with, or bigger than newspapers, radio and outdoor. Over perhaps 5 years, this is a tectonic shift in the world of advertising. TV ad spend however is the mother load and when this starts to come netwards you have to take notice. Bill Gates is predicting this will happen before we know it.
Traditional advertisers are therefore presented with opportunities, challenges and new paradigms to come to grips with. It must be understood that the net simply isn’t like TV, even though you can watch TV over the net. If you don’t take this on board, the TV advertising you deliver over the web simply won’t be effective. There are two reasons for me saying this:

1) The net is a 2 way active and interactive medium, while TV is a one way passive medium and consequently...

2) The net viewer is in active mode, rather than a passive one, so therefore has a totally different set of expectations and behaviours.
It’s TV, yes, but sent through a different channel, for an audience in a totally different state of mind.

TV is passive. Marshall McLuhan called it a ‘cold medium’, because you do nothing. The viewer simply sits back and video and audio wash over them, their only action being to change channel – if they can remember where they put the remote, it’s that long since they actually did anything (imagine losing your wireless mouse, or keyboard?). The modern net, with web 2.0, is not only active, it’s a super-heated hyperactive zone of multi-tasking – the opposite end of the scale, with viewer/users collaborating, communicating, sharing, viewing, reading, talking, listening and contributing to the medium all at the same time at super high speed. When you sit in front of a computer, your role, your expectations and your control is totally at odds with the TV experience. And consequently, where with TV people have to watch long tranches of boring ads because they have no choice but to watch, change channel, or put the kettle on; with IPTV they do have a choice and will ruthlessly flash to something more engaging in the blink of an eye immediately forgetting what they’ve just seen.

So, what can advertisers do to address this viewer promiscuity? Several things in fact and all of them have the IPTV web viewer firmly in mind. The IPTV viewer expects to be offered the capacity to engage with a product or brand on the Internet, (something they are never even offered on traditional TV). IPTV ads therefore need to offer some incentive to engage, like a special offer or reduction. There needs to be a URL to visit and view the product, if they have the time, or somewhere within the ad to register their interest for later, if they don’t. They might be given the capacity to leave contact information, or ring a special phone number on their mobile or work number and this number will relate to this specific ad campaign, not the whole company. In short, ads need to be tailored to the needs of the viewer. They need to have their requirements, interests and availability to the fore to ensure optimal success.

Online, there is also the capacity to know far more about the specific viewer of an ad than on TV. National research projects, like Net Behaviour’s MIR/NB Report means we have a very clear idea of the demographics of the Irish people who visit pretty much any site or Internet software, their frequency of doing so, and a whole tranche of other activity, such as their online purchasing activity. Pre and post ad view and click tracking can tell a considerable amount about viewers interests both through the sites they visit and where they go on these sites. Registration and social networking software means you can know each viewer's age, sex, interests, friendship networks and even what they buy. Ad view capping software also means that ads aren’t wasted through several views of the same ad, but rather views can be evenly spread amongst those who would have most interest, and only shown the optimal number of times to ensure the message has got across, but not too many to irritate.

So, while there are challenges presented to IPTV advertisers, these are completely outweighed by the important new opportunities the Internet offers, and the increased the capacity to make a sale. In short: For TV, getting the viewer from the point of actually seeing the TV ad to buying a product is largely in the lap of the gods, if they even remember seeing the ad. For IPTV advertisers on the other hand, they have a much greater say in what a viewer does immediately on seeing their product advertised. The audience is offered a much greater opportunity to engage with the message on the spot. They can explore the products specifications and price, learn about the producer, and even interact with the ad message asking the advertiser to contact them at a later date, and all without interrupting their reason for being on the site hosting the ad in question. They can also much more easily take the desired action – buy the product.

So, in conclusion: in this instance I think Bill Gates must be 100% right. TV advertising will move towards an IPTV model before we know it. The technology is there, the consumer will prefer it and the advertising will be more effective and efficient. But, the ad industry must just take on board that while it is a TV message, the Internet is a totally different channel, and one much better suited to engaging with the consumer.

Monday 3 December 2007

Tuesday 3 July 2007

Irish Online Recruitment

After travel, recruitment is the most popular category of Internet use on a monthly basis by Irish Internet users. Irish jobs is the most popular Irish recruitment site, and the 6th most visited site by Irish Internet users, with 34% visiting the site at least once a month. Recruitment sites are much more likely to be visited weekly, or monthly, or less often, than on a daily basis.

This makes sense, as many will post their CV on several sites, and ‘see what comes in’. Around 20% of recruitment site users are apparently actively looking on a daily basis for a new job.

The second most popular sites is Jobs.ie, with 29%, and then comes Monster.ie, with 27%. Recruit Ireland comes in with 26%. There is then a drop off to the less mainstream and niche sites, with Publicjobs.ie with 13%, Nixers.ie 8%, Careersinhealthcare.ie 5%, Brightwater.ie 5%, Educationposts.com 5% and Salesforce.com with 1%.

Thursday 21 June 2007

The NB Report

Net Behaviour is pleased to announce the arrival of The NB Report©. In essense, this report tells us how Irish people use the web.

The NB Report© is carried out by Monitrack Internet Research (MIR), in conjunction with Amárach Consulting. It contains information on over 475 websites used by Irish consumers across all categories; from search engines and blogs to news and media sites, and even on corporate sites within key industry sectors.

The research gathers data on an ongoing basis from over 30 online sampling points and soon it will be imported into the MediaStar software where it will provide a range of coverage and frequency information for Net Behaviour clients.

The document below will give you a flavour of the research concerning the Top 20/30 websites used by Irish people, and more…

The NB Report© will further enhance our digital communications service for NB clients. If you would like to discuss The NB Report© please don't hesitate to contact us.

The Top 20 Sites

The top categories are, perhaps unsurprisingly, search, airlines, shopping, recruitment, news, chat rooms/messenger, classifieds, and entertainment. Search is used most often and Google is the most popular search engine with a whopping 82% of Irish online users visiting the site every month. Yahoo! comes in second with 51% of online users; Ryanair (47%) and Aer Lingus (47%) come in with third and forth places on our monthly table of top 20 websites and eBay is in fifth position.

An impressive 87% of Irish Google users use the site on a daily basis, compared with 42% of Yahoo! searchers, and 39% of MSN searchers.

Recruitment sites are very popular with Irish people. Most classified Internet sites, such as recruitment sites, are used weekly, or monthly, rather than daily. The most popular recruitment site is Irishjobs.ie, with 35% of Irish people who use the Internet visiting the site in a given month, and 42% of these visiting weekly, it takes position 6 on our top 20 websites. Recruitment sites are well represented accounting for four of the top 20.

Myhome.ie is the most popular property website, with 29% of Ireland’s Internet users going to the site every month; coming in 12th and the only property website to make the NB/ MIR Top 20.

The most popular news source in Ireland is RTE.ie, with 35% of Irish people visiting the site in a month for news, 38% of these daily. In fact, RTE.ie news service comes in at an impressive 9th place on our top 20 Irish Internet uses table. The next most popular news source is BBC.co.uk, with 26% of Irish Internet users per month, and position 15 on our top 20. Skynews.com is in position 17, with 25% visitors per month.

Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia is very popular indeed with Irish people, 32% using it each month. It comes in at number ten on our top 20. Golden Pages.ie is in 19th position, with 25% visitors.

Three places on our Top 20 are taken up by some of Ireland’s newest Internet uses. MSN Instant Messenger (34% and position 8), YouTube.com (28% and position 13) and iTunes (24% position 20). For those who aren’t familiar with these, Instant Messenger is one-to-one real-time chat software, very popular among younger people, and users of social networks like Bebo.

In fact, Messenger is much more popular than email for this demographic. YouTube.com is the world’s must popular video site, where anyone can upload their own video for all to see, and iTunes.com is owned by Apple, and is Ireland’s most popular space for buying music for MP3 players and iPods.

Household names from 21 to 30

From 21 to 30 we had AIB / 365 Online (24%), Bebo (23%), Daft (22%), Amazon (22%), Argos (22%), Yahoo! Messenger (21%), Ticketmaster (21%), Pigsback (21%), eircom (news) (21%) and finally Tesco (21%). These fall broadly into the categories of banking, shopping, chat and news (eircom).

Internet Categories

MIR treats the Internet as a functional entity exploring website function and use from the users’ perspective, as well as the website address. The total number of people who use a site is easily found even if that site, for example, provides such diverse services as email, news, search, music downloads and radio. However, typically advertising will be placed on a single section of a multifunction site – the business news section, the technology news, or email login and MIR data can provide this basic categorical information, from the users’ perspective.

This approach gives the advantage of providing an accurate estimate, for example, of the total popularity of business news for Irish people on the Internet, whether they visit specific business newspapers online, the business section of a web portal or bulletin boards exploring the demographic breakdown of the audience along the way. Net Behaviour can then target advertising of behalf on clients knowing a lot about the business Internet audience, where they go online and frequency.

We also measure the total popularity of multi-function portals such as RTE.ie or eircom.net regardless of their use (this is not explored in the above table).


MIR research is carried out by Monitrack Internet Research in conjunction with Amárach Consulting and is used by Net Behaviour, and Monitrack clients. The NB Report is a cut of this data. The MIR sample is gathered from over 30 websites and search engines visited by Irish people. The sample quoted above is 1,267 and was gathered between January and March 2007. MIR currently contains information on over 475 websites, search engines and web entities used by Irish people. It also explores research and purchase behaviour online, mobile phone usage, blogging, podcasting, bulletin board use and indeed all other Internet uses for Irish people. Sites are explored through a full set of standard demographic information in Media Star and Espri.

‘The Monitrack policy for MIR research is the same as that developed for the JNIR research. The data presented shows people who use the Internet, rather than ‘unique users, ‘impressions’ or ‘hits’, as the research is carried out with questionnaires, rather than with automatic technologies, like tracking software, cookies or server logs. MIR will typically show numbers which are much smaller than other methods but these are counting different things,’ according to Emmet Kelly. ‘Automated research tells a story of activity, rather than people. Researchers, marketers and media buyers need to know about the people who use a product or service online, as much as the activity surrounding that service,’ said Emmet.

In addition to the NB/MIR data, Net Behaviour employs ad-tracking software for ad campaigns, and buys advertising space with existing currencies such as CPM, CPC, CPA and sponsorship. Automated research data such as that provided by ad tracking software is ideal for optimising advertising spend, while MIR tells the story about how the Irish use the web, gives insight, and helps us make predictions.

All MIR research is carried out in-house and the research, and research methods are the property of Monitrack Internet Research

The NB/Monitrack Team

Monitrack is an Internet research specialist, and formerly carried out the JNIR research. The JNIR was originated by Emmet Kelly and Justin Cullen, who subsequently, with Sinéad Morris, also of Monitrack, founded Net Behaviour some 20 months ago. Net Behaviour is an Internet media buying agent for some of Ireland’s largest agencies and has carried out over 300 campaigns since it was founded in late 2005.

Friday 30 March 2007

Turning Up the Volume

I wanted to turn up the volume, so I did. Nothing happened. I worked for the day in relative silence, but something struck me. Volume, no longer means what it used to. It's louder and bigger than ever before. I'll explain.

First, back to the beginning. I turned up the volume, and nothing happened.

Maybe the volume button the computer wasn’t working. I went into the sound
properties on the control panel, and clicked on the tab. There was a Volume
Control, Wav, SW synch and CD player. I understood the first and the last and
thought the second one was a .wav file, short for wave. Simple. I turned them
all up. I could have clicked ‘mute all’, or muted them all
individually, if I’d wanted no sound, which was what I had… so I
didn’t want that, so I didn’t do it.

Still no sound.

I went to the speakers attached to the laptop, and turned the knob on those to
full. I checked connections, and thought… I’ll reboot,
that’ll fix it. So I did. It didn’t.

Still no music!

And do you know what I thought? I thought… this is nuts. There are so
many layers and levels between me and the music that even turning up the volume
can be a bloody trial. I can do that on old machines in a jiffy and I
didn’t even like the music that much. I’d spent 10 minutes
foostering around for no sound, and all because of layers and layers of
software, hardware and options. Would I give up? Yes I would. For the
moment. Music isn’t that important. Is it? Ironically, I thought
having some background music would make me more productive? I’d have to
work pretty hard to catch up on the time I’d lost already.

Silence… kind of. I worked away for most of the day, to the irritating
clatter of my own keyboard, busses, ambulances and fire brigades, other
peoples’ radios and the odd screech from the kids scrapping at the bus
stop. I worked away to the sound of Dublin instead of music to give me

But there was volume after all. Lots of it. Just not a lot of music, or sound.

I sent an email to 3,000 people for research purposes, spoke to several more
through boards and chat, work related emails flying back and forth, another
mail shot, the mobile phone beeped with texts, and rang with calls while the
work phone bleeped every few minutes and the doorbell rang.

The ads we post on websites and search engines must have been seen by 20,000
people to generate the 2000 or so clicks we’d tracked so far and the
online videos… hmmm. 600 views? You Tube viral views? Thousands. By
5.30pm we’d generated maybe 25,000 communications, many through the
little laptop in front of me, in only 6 hours. Thats a lot of volume.

And the moral, (if there is one)? In this new digi-world, sometimes it can be easier to
ask 25,000 strangers to pay attention and click, or let them tell you all about themselves, than it is to sit back, on your own, and listen to a good tune. :-)

Thursday 22 March 2007

The Death of the ‘Digital’ in Digital Communication

The Death of the ‘Digital’ in Digital Communication

The ‘digital’ bit, is disappearing from new digitally mediated
communication. Yes, digital communication is everywhere, will
pervade everything, but it isn’t everything. It isn’t anything in
fact. People and real life are what’s important and they are the
Internet. Its content, its chat, its life, its marketplace, its
publisher… they are just, ‘it’! Digital communication is only that…
communication, between people, that is digital in mode. I know I
sound like I’m saying really obvious stuff, but I think it needs to
be said, and I’ll tell you why I think it does.

Too often I’m asked onto radio shows to talk about something ‘on the
net’, or something that people are doing ‘online’. I perhaps have
failed to communicate clearly though that I believe there is no real
‘online’. There used to be terms like ‘virtual life’ or VL, and then
conversely ‘real life’ or RL, and these terms had a real value for
their times, and for the people who used them, (often people who were
into role playing games, or MMORPGs). The truth about many of those
people is that they were to great extent, socially inadequate
Internet addicts. Geeks, programmers and propeller heads, (and the
millionaires of today). No harm in that. The truth about those
times was that the Internet population was dominated by those people.
None of this is true today. People who use the Internet today are
normal everyday Joes and Marys and they don’t know the first thing
about how the thing actually works. Why should they. The technology
has become as everyday as the phone, or the washing machine. Its
there, you use it. If it breaks you don’t blame yourself but just
get someone to fix it. If you don’t know how to use something, you
find out.

However, this dichotomy, online vs offline (vl vs rl) still persists
in the Irish mainstream media. It may be that the journalists feel
they are speaking at what they think is the level of intelligence of
the ‘man on the street’. But the truth is, the journalists, with
notable exceptions, know less than the man on the street. And then
they say they feel the need, ‘not to get too technical’, and dumb
things down. So, the interview is reduced to stretched analogies
with little actual information and learning and I sound like I’m
trying to persuade the interviewer of the importance of the Internet,
to sell it, while I’m just trying to get an everyday context on the
everday life of everyday people for someone who is reading the next
question on the card

Most journalists and interviewers are Internet illiterates. They’re
too busy or too old to have grown up with the medium, or, they are
relying on their researchers. Relying on researchers just won’t
work, as with other ‘topics’ as the Internet isn’t a topic, but a
lived experience. It requires ‘experiental knowledge’. It’s like
talking to someone who says they know about France because they have
pictures of the Eiffel Tower and their researcher has told them how
many people live in Paris and that French eat cheese and carry onions
on their bicycles. Conversations like this are a waste of time, most
of the time, unless I can hit on a particular analogy that brings the
‘topic’ alive.

The truth about people, then, rather than ‘digital communication’ is
that they are exactly the same as they are in RL. Many people will
do exactly what the can get away with, what gets them the most
notice, the most money, or the most sexual gratification. They are
shallow and greedy who live a ‘get and survive’ existence and take
advantage of the privacy, anonymity, or more appropriately, the
secrecy that the Internet affords. Along with this semi-deviant
class in society, are those who are perhaps more privileged, (though
not necessarily) who try to be ‘civilised’. These may be more mature
or civic minded people. They share information, have civilized
discussions, and grow such wonderful entities as the Wikipedia. Then
there are those with a particular transaction to make. They are the
click-and-go doers. They bank, buy tickets, photos, software,
hardware, look for jobs, cars.. the lot. They click, they transact
and they are gone. They don’t have the time, or the inclination to
socialize or communicate. These are the faceless millions of the
net, who are key to its economics, but not to its society.

Then there are the kids, many of whom are shameless nutters. Oozing
hormones and emotionally un-disciplined. Often they are totally out
of control and uncontrollable. Bullying, flirting, exaggerating and
boasting… or being good. So, nothing new there except for one
important point. The advantage they have over the rest of us is they
take the digital out of digital communication. They just call it
chat. ‘I was talking to…’ could mean email, blog, instant messenger
(or IM), sms, mms, telephone, or just actually… talking to,
physically and face to face. (When they say ‘met’ it can mean
something totally different). The mode of communication, whether
digital, analogue or physical, is irrelevant.

In a short amount of time, perhaps a few years, there will be no
digital, because everything will be digital. The word will simply be
taken for granted, it will have lost its value, like the word
‘electric’. Digital TV, Radio, phone, Internet, alarms, car GPSs and
diagnostic systems, even the fridge, the kid locators, and so much
more… all digital. You will be able to communication through each
and every gadget you can imagine, and analogue communication will be
turned off. This is happening England at the moment. Digital
switchover they call it. The BBC are turning off the analogue TV and
radio signals and the country will require DAB radios and set top
boxes for TV, through Freeview, or satellite dishes for Sky. The
urban landscape will change as all the TV aerials on all the roofs of
all the towns will simply disappear. Defunct, literally, and
metaphorically. The pictures that accompany the theme tune to the
soap Coronation Street will need to be remade with satellite dishes
on the roofs, or nothing at all, as people use their Freeview instead.

How will this change people? Society? Not at all. People will be
exactly the same as they were twenty years ago. They’ll just go
beep more often.

Thursday 4 January 2007

NB: The Power of Chat for Sean Blogs

I predict that chat will be the biggest change in human communication in the next few years. I’m not gambling there, as lots of people are predicting that, because it’s a safe bet. Permitting online, realtime, chat, phone and video for free, is obviously going to work with people in general. It is just too obviously efficient to ignore. Chat, blog posting and VOIP enabled phones will mean that this mechanic for communication is set to explode. Those, like my good self, who’ve been using pretty expensive XDA, and PDAs for the last few years, have seen this functionality creeping steadily onto our mobile handset, but phones like a new Sony Ericsson K800i model I was told about, are expensive, but, with them, users online life, offline life, work and home life is seamlessly integrated into the one small window to the personal world you life in. That statement does require some clarification. I know.

I’m going to describe a typical member of net society. Sean Blogs. Mobile/iPod on the way to work, with music downloaded from friends n colleagues and online, at work and at home. Login to work broadband connection, with work and personal email, VOIP, chat and conferencing software, for work. He’s getting texts and personal calls on his mobile, along with access to personal mail accounts, MSN messenger, his favourite blogs and RSS newsfeeds, his dating profile news and up-dates and his MySpace community page. Sean is busy with work mind, very busy. But, he takes all this other stuff in his stride, and believes in work life balance. The only difference between Sean 10 years ago, and now, is that now he has his finger on the pulse of his personal life, and work life at the same time, in real time. And, he can deal with any and all eventualities immediately. He also logs into 2nd Life, but that’s for another blog. His mobile phone handset provides access to exactly these same services for personal use, though the line between personal, private, work and home has become so blurred, the line isn’t really the point any more. Its all about access, wherever you may be.

An important point of clarification. These services do not exist on the work PC, or on the phone, they exist online. The PC/laptop screen at work, his home laptop screen, and his phone/mobile screen, are only windows to the same world. The software that makes them work, and the information and data they contain, are on the Internet. The information is world of Sean Blogs, in all its complexity and simplicity. The modes through which he accesses the world may seem complex to the un-initiated, but once you get past the mechanism(s) of communication, and satisfying the basic needs of Sean’s life, it’s pretty simple.

What does Sean need? He needs to be able to reach his friends and family, and that girl he met at the weekend, oh, and the ex, and the mates from Bebo, and the girl he’s flirting with in an adjoining office. There are many of these people in Sean’s life, its true, but most aren’t that important, the messages they send or short and can be ignored, and very few require a reply. So, his down time from work is minimal, and can easily be managed along with his workload.

Sean is able to do work with an efficiency level impossible even a few years previously. Sean worked out that many of his work pressures came from people needing something from him; people who were not being able to reach him in time, and then they themselves were under pressure and became anxious. Communication then became impatient, and minty, and went down hill. Poorly connected managers who weren’t good at managing their own time were the worst. However, this new connectivity means that that doesn’t happen, and that expectations can be managed with ease. Sean knows what emails have come in after he left work, because he gets them on his phone, so there is no anxiety. No one has a chance to get worked up through mis-communication, or the pressures of time, because most ‘issues’ can be dealt with immediately. He can mail straight back and say. ‘Sure, no problem, first thing tomorrow,’ or ‘The way to solve this problem is by doing X and Y. OK?’, or ‘That is no problem, but it can’t be done till next week, so tell so and so to call me if there’s a problem with that.’ No one gets worked up, so his work life is just a productive as ever. Moreso in fact, and without the pressures. This takes a lot of the stress out of work, and makes it seem less like ‘work’ in the old sense of the word, and more like just doing lots of stuff every day; some interesting, some fun, some boring and yes, some drudgery… but nothing you can’t cope with.

Chat software like AIM, MSN, Y! and others bring this all a step further. Again, these will explode in popularity in the coming years, because they are just so efficient. A full and rich conversation can be had, while having several others at the same time through chat. You can be chatting through MSN, and on the phone, working on another document, sending files and a hundred other things at the same time. Being able to do this from your desktop is a really amazing experience. Being able to do it from your mobile phone handset, is even one step beyond.

OK. We’ve got that established to some degree I hope. Now the question for NB. Where do we fit in? Well, being able to advertise to people during their personal and work chats is something that has never been possible before. You are not ‘interrupting’ them, in the traditional ad-land sense, but you are accompanying them through their software. It’s a sponsorship opportunity, with other possibilities of click through, purchase, downloads, view video trailer, listen…. rich media… all the good stuff of net advertising at the same time. How will this work? Well, chatters will have a fair idea already as they’ll have seen the ads on their chat software, many of which were placed by NB. But for the non-chatters among you…. Think of someone making a phone call in their hall and as they talk to whomever, there are ads that always sit in front of them. The ads don’t bother them… they’ve always been there. Like the old stickers on the phone with the number of the local taxi company: − you don’t know when you might need it, but you reckon you will do sometime, and it saves you from putting the number somewhere you won’t be able to find it. (Hopefully, whoever is doodling on it will stop, so the number can be bloody read!) But more: while chatting for work or home, (it’s the same phone used for both because its online), you are also able to offer the chatter videos, offers of flights, competitions, trailers and anything they’d like to buy, at the same time. In fact, it’s only a short time away that the ads offered in chat software will relate to what the chatters are actually talking about. So, I say to you… ‘I wonder should we just hop on a plan to London… for the weekend?’ And the chat software advertises flights to London. It’s a creepy extreme I know, but it is going that way. Another example. I say to you, ‘what did happen with Saddam? What were they shouting. Did you see it on the news?’ And the software offers the latest news and video with subtitles from Ireland.com, CNN and Al Jazeera, all relevant to our conversation. I then say. ‘Ah, I’ll take a look. Wow.’ Google on the mobile has already put an end to the pub argument, but this will solve information shortages in so many more conversations.

So, in short, I reckon the advertising opportunities are endless, tremendous and exciting. And, NB, we’re there as it happens.