It's increasingly clear that the big wireless carriers intend to get into the advertising business.

Despite these aggressive moves by the carriers, it's by no means clear how their subscribers will respond to advertising on their phones, especially in light of a Forrester Research study reporting that an overwhelming 79 percent of users polled find the concept of cell phone advertising annoying. To many, the prospect of advertising creeping into their screens seems almost insulting, given that subscribers are already paying big bills each month. Many are probably wondering how much extra they'll have to pay the carriers to keep ads away from their phones.

Assuring that mobile advertising is delivered in a way that is relevant is a big challenge. As several observers have noted, the mere fact that my phone is passing within 100 feet of a local car wash doesn't mean that I am at all interested in having my car washed. If, however, the system is smart enough to know that I have submitted a query within the last 24 hours relating to a car wash service, I would probably regard such a message as an opportunity, rather than an intrusion. Delivering relevance in the mobile context means tying together my search query behavior, location, and other profile data in a sophisticated way.

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