I've always been a free WiFi hunter, but having an iPhone has definitely heightened my hunting instincts. I am constantly seeking signals in cafes, restaurants, and stores and get a sick thrill out of finding one and getting online in unexpected places. Apparently, I'm not alone.
A California company called AnchorFree has launched a service that lets stores of any size (as in small restaurants or major chains) offer free, advertising-supported Wi-Fi to customers on store property.
According to the New York Times, people who are shopping or eating in an AnchorFree location will have to sit through onscreen banner ads or short video spots or both before they can get online and roam the web. So far, companies such as American Express, Circuit City, Clorox, Ford, Kaiser Permanente, McDonald’s, Toyota, and Major League Baseball have all signed up. While I hate commercials, I figure a short video is a small price to pay for being able to get online and check movie listings or Google maps. What do you think?