Mobile Search App Goes Ad-Supported

Mobile app provider Infospace is upgrading its Find It premium search application to operate on Research In Motion’s Blackberry smartphones and making it free for users to download and use.

After offering it under a pay-per-download model since its inception, Infospace will now provide Find It free with ads. The company, which recently restructured, is reaching out to potential advertisers with a promise to handle all the “heavy lifting” of integrating standard search ad units in the mobile environment, according to Joe Herzog, director, emerging products for Infospace.

“Starting off, we want to get the inventory in a manner that does not restrict the merchant,” said Herzog. “We’re working with current ads so that a click on the ad can be the same as a click on the mobile phone. The hooks are there but we’re working to get the inventory available.”

Find It integrates with a phone’s GPS system to provide step by step directions to looked-for establishments. Categories include Dine Out, Go Out, Shop, Travel, Health, and Services; and location services and listings are refreshed weekly.

Herzog said Infospace made the move to an ad-supported model after experiencing weak uptake with distribution on wireless carrier decks.

“The legacy of applications on mobile storefronts is that you need to pay a price to get in, and people don’t like paying a price for something without seeing it first,” said Herzog. “Getting [Find It] to free is super important, but it also has to be carrier friendly, so it has to have ads.”

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