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First mobile video ads debut on iPhones

San Francisco start-up Ad Infuse is serving up the first video advertisements for Apple's handset. An initial experience leaves a lot to be desired.

A San Francisco start-up is launching the first mobile video ads for the iPhone on Wednesday.

CNET Networks

Ad Infuse is serving up ads from Esurance and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America on several sites, including Health & Fitness Mobile for Men and

I visited the HFM mobile site ( on my brand-new iPhone and clicked on one of its portable training programs. I waited four or five minutes while the ad downloaded and then a blank, white screen came on, making me wonder what to do next. The ad finally started playing, and I was able to watch the 10- or 12-second anti-drug spot before the training video for working out abs on an exercise ball started playing.

Wow, if that's the experience, I think I'll pass.

The problem was probably a slow connection over AT&T's network, but even Ad Infuse Chief Executive Brian Cowley acknowledged that the mobile Web application market is so nascent that the experience in some ways will be closer to dial-up than broadband.

I know publishers have to monetize their content, but maybe they should wait until the mobile infrastructure can handle it better.