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Apple, Google, Yahoo ... Everyone Wants a Mobile Ad Network [Updated]

UPDATE: As was speculated below, the iAd is now upon us.

It's been one of those days -- nay, weeks -- where I think if they were going to reshoot "The Graduate", I know what Mr. McGuire would tell young Benjamin to go into instead of "plastics." It would be "mobile ad networks." Everyone wants in on the game.

Here's the evidence:

  1. Apple may announce it is launching a mobile ad network as soon as today, that will probably plug into the platform that powers all those iPhones, iTouches and iPads. This, according to The New York Post, would allow "developers an easy way to plug ads into their apps and other content." As many apps from advertisers sit in relative isolation within the iTunes App Store, a mobile ad network would give advertisers a chance to surface what they want consumers to download. (By comparison, Facebook's ad platform allows brands with fan pages to promote them elsewhere in the site.)
  2. Yahoo is rumored to be interested in buying location-based social network Foursquare, whose ad model is about marrying locations out in the real world to digital advertising -- and that means mobile ads. Of course, the rumor might have been floated to make Yahoo look like it still knows how to sniff out hot Internet properties or to help Foursquare get more funding. Whatever: It's still all about mobile ads.
  3. GlamMedia, one of the biggest players in online advertising networks, rolled out its GlamMobile network in the U.S. yesterday, to take advantage of growing mobile usage here -- and the launch of the iPad. Previously, GlamMobile had only been available to publishers and advertisers in Japan, that most thriving of mobile markets.
  4. Lastly, Google is trying mightily to buy mobile ad network AdMob, which it announced it would acquire for $750 million a few months ago. The Federal Trade Commission may block the deal on anti-trust grounds, which is another sign that mobile ad networks are hot, and also, probably, that the FTC hasn't been reading the headlines.
Three words, people: mobile ad networks.