Furthering Open Source Mobile Apps With Ad Revenue
Open source mobile messaging vendor Funambol plans to add micro-banner ads to its online portal myFUNAMBOL. Calling the ads "prominent yet non-intrusive," Funambol representatives say the new advertisements will display in several areas of the email client, including the inbox and message viewing screens. Company CEO Fabrizio Capobianco, says the move "will unleash a major revenue opportunity for service providers, portals and mobile operators." What's in it for myFUNAMBOL customers? Plenty.
Though some may shun the idea of ads in the inbox, anyone who's used a free Webmail app like Hotmail or Yahoo! knows advertising is the trade-off you take for a free email account that's accessible anywhere. Though Gmail's mobile app is ad-free (at least for now), email account holders have been shown targeted ads in their Web-based inbox since the inception of the service.
Though Funambol is a large company in its own right, it's nowhere near the behemoth that is Google. In order to stay competitive, it's logical that the company would try to monetize its service through ads and, frankly, I'm all right with that. Money to fund open source vendor projects has to come from somewhere and if that means a micro-banner ad in my message viewing screen, that's fine with me. As long as myFUNAMBOL sticks around, I'll be able to recommend it to friends and colleagues as a terrific open source push email solution over Apple's MobileMe or commercial BlackBerry syncing apps.
Funambol's prepared statement pretty clearly outlines the company's reasons for pushing ads along with email. "...while an ad-funded model enables mobile email to be provided for free or very low cost, while generating significant revenue for those throughout the value chain." In other words, it's a win-win arrangement. Of course, the opportunity to carry around open source apps on your mobile phone is a great thing too.
What do you think? Are you willing to view targeted ads in your inbox if it means helping open source apps get a foothold in the mobile phone industry?