Carriers snub search giants for mobile search

Large phone companies like Verizon and AT&T never cashed in on the proliferation of search and advertising on the Internet, because big online players like Google and Yahoo had the market cornered. That's why, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal, wireless carriers are opting to work with smaller mobile search companies over the Internet incumbents. The report has details: Verizon Wireless is close to finalizing a deal with Medio Systems, Cingular is reportedly working with JumpTap and Alltel (which recently became a wireless pureplay) has narrowed its mobile search partner down to Medio or JumpTap. The smaller players typically take a smaller cut in revenue sharing deals.

U.S. carriers say ultimately they decide which handsets they offer to their subscribers, so Google and Yahoo having integration deals with Nokia and Motorola is testament to nothing. Overseas, we see a different overall picture: Google has deals with Vodafone U.K. and Hutchison 3G U.K. The Internet giants are playing the same old fiddle: The small guys won't scale and won't be able to handle large user requests. But you have to take a close look at folks like JumpTap, which is having good success in Canada, as they aggressively work to cater to the unique requirements of mobility. Has Google or Yahoo really done that?

For more on mobile search strategies:
- read this WSJ article (sub. req.)

PLUS: The latest report from Informa predicts that personalized search will enable carriers and content providers to most effectively "monetize the long tail of hit-and-miss content." Article