The big mobile phone companies are apparently in a snit because ring-tone services like Jamster are marketing directly to consumers, bypassing the carriers' portals. What the phone companies must realize, of course, is that they are facing a larger tide that is being driven by the changing dynamics of the Internet, where a combination of new technologies and evolving consumer behavior is obviating the need for the middleman where content is concerned.
Already, we have seen unprecedented moves in the as content providers market their shows directly to viewers, forgoing the traditional route of the broadcast networks and cable operators. The shift is somewhat analogous to the way direct computer marketers like Dell, online travel agencies like Expedia and large e-tailers like Amazon forced middlemen out of the equation in previous years.
Our advice to the phone carriers: Get used to it.
Blog community response:
"The more flexible and frictionless are the transactions between producers and consumers, the more control both will have in terms of maximizing the value they extract from these transactions, which I guess is what free markets are supposed to be about. The role of pipe owners in the equation is less clear."
"What kind of business can a person start for $25, $50, $100? Well, with $10 to register a domain, $2/month for 6 months hosting, you still have $1 to call a friend and tell them about your new Web based business...A $10 domain can be making $15 a day selling cell phone ring tones. How's that for a return on investment?"
--1, 2, Free: Entrepreneurship by the Numbers
"Don't get me wrong, I love all the technology, and the potential it will bring, but by fragmenting the means of access, and the means of delivery, it could make it confusing for the customer, more difficult for the developer (how many platforms do you support exactly--over 200 mobile phones already + psp + pda + ipod + Gizmondo?)"
--Musings of a mobile marketer