Free mobile service.. it only gets better

Blyk a new mobile operator announced precisely this – free ad-supported mobile service. With Google bidding at the upcoming FCC spectrum auction, a free mobile serice free mobile service might not be too far. It is said it is hard to beat free… while this might make for a humorous flippant remark, it pays to remember what Milton Friedman (the guru of free markets) said in Chicago “there is no free lunch” [his precise words were a variant of this but that is besides the point]. What is not free is our personal time, our eyeball movements, our keystrokes, our mindshare and our spending appetite. These are precisely what advertisers are after and if we have to trade this for free mobile service, I would say that the carrier and advertisers are getting one hell of a deal. The industry is getting interesting by the day. The universal coverage combined with the hyper-targeting that mobile medium offers is very potent and can make for a “win… win… win… win” relationship [consumer, carrier, advertiser, publisher]. This is what we should strive for and is entirely possibly if all parties in the eco-system respect the other party’s role in the value chain. At ZestAdz this is precisely what we facilitate. Stay tuned…. Nat


Thoughts on mobile marketing..

To a number of folks, mobile marketing seems bewildering. It conjures images of “rocket science” or SMS-spam.. neither of which it is.. What most people dont realize is that this is a natural progression of the direct marketing industry. The 30-second spot ads which were the centerpiece of the US ad industry is certainly not dead, but its days are surely numbered. –

Direct Marketing
Direct marketing in the 80s were a welcome change from the “spray and pray” TV and Billboard advertisment techniques in the 70s. In India, much credit goes to R. Sridhar ( who at that time was at Oglivy to pioneer direct marketing. He proved most of his nay-sayers wrong and direct marketing is a well established approach in India. Over the years the direct marketing evolved to “one to one” marketing approaches pioneered by Martha and Peppers. While this was great in concept and companies spent $10M in expensive software like Siebel, Epiphany and 10X this amount with high fluted consultants they had at best marginal results.

Intent based marketing by Google
Google established the value of search (intent-based) marketing. However, this has not attacked the core of need in Direct Marketing.. – highly focused, targeted, contextual customer outreach. While emails, mail coupons, catalog inserts, digital radio, web banner ads play a role… none of these can match the effectivess and efficiency of mobile advertising. Most mobile marketing in India has been SMS spams which frankly does disservice to the entire human race.

However, permission based advertising based on concepts pioneered by Seth Godin ( have enormous merit. I believe Seth Godin is to marketing what Newton/Einstein is to Physics. If you have not read his writings, I would strong encourage you to do so, you can get a few chapters (free… imagine this!) at his website.

Permission based marketing
The core tenet in permission based marketing is quite simple.. customers willing cooperate with sellers to to be advertised on specific product offerings at specific times on specific channels so that
(1) they get best value for their hard earned money
(2) advertisers respect their leisure time; there by sellers acquire customers at the least possible cost.

This is an ultimate win win. ZestAdz aims to leverage the ubiquity of mobility, the targeting ability that it affords and the core tenets of permission based marketing providing Users and Advertisers with ultimate Return on investment. While the cost per contact is one of the lowest in mobile outreach, if you factor in the high conversion rates, the cost per response is one of the lowest.


The best part about mobile advertising is that it is very easy to try out new campaigns use real-time feedback to refine the campaigns to ensure that advertisers are getting best value for their marketing spend and consumers are getting the most value for their most precious commodities, their time and their hard earned money.

Nat D. Natraj

“Targeting will come in to rescue all forms of digital advertising”

A great article at Businessweek talks of shrinking click-through rates on online advertising networks. This is another reason why online advertisers need to try mobile advertising as a compelling medium. The article also clearly talks of targeted advertising as serious option to address this issue.

Targeting and relevance is an important feature of ZestADZ which enables advertisers extract the maximum bang for their buck.

ZestADZ helps advertisers to target users based on

  • location,
  • keywords,
  • device profile and
  • mobile media (SMS, WAP or J2ME).

If you would like to try mobile advertising – Simply sign up at ZestADZ, pay using any credit card and get started rightway.

Mobile (In-game and application) advertising – how it works?

ZestADZ supports mobile in-game and application advertising on the J2ME (MIDP 2.0) platform at the moment. We are looking to extend this model to other mobile platforms soon.

Here are a few things to note before you get started.

  • You need to be a registered publisher on ZestADZ to be able to start pulling advertisements.
  • Ad pulls are at real-time but they are cached and shown several times before refreshed therefore reducing network load.
  • If the user does not accept to download the ads, the application will exit. A notice is shown to the user requesting for network access.
  • After the ads are integrated, it is ideally required that the application be tested and verified so that the network access, ad pulls etc work fine.
  • After modification of source code, the code base of the application increases by around 10kb.
  • The call to action is – SAVE, FORWARD or CALL / CLICK the shown advertisement.

How it works

  • ZestADZ mobile ad marketplace supports embedding of advertising of ads within mobile games and applications without modifying the source code. Here’s how it works
  • Sign up – this is a straightforward process – ZestADZ‘s registration for publisher should take you no more than a minute. Activations for the account are automatic and you will get an email about your account activation immediately.
  • Click on Sell ADS -> Embed ADS in a new site or an application
  • Fill up information about your application (called as an AD client within ZestADZ)
  • Integration of Ads within your application either automatically or manually

Automated integration: This is the easiest and the simplest. Send us your JAR files and we will get back to you with ad embedded files in 24-48 hours. After the necessary testing, you can publish them.
Manual integration: This step will involve manual change of source code of the application / game, testing and verification. Manual integration is especially useful if you want to show advertisements at specific points within the application. E.g.: Attach an ad with every email that goes out of your mobile application or showing ads on an idle screen while your application downloads some content. Remember – you must not integrate ads at places which will irk the user.

To integrate the ADS manually, follow the steps given below

Step 1: Download the given JAR file and import it as a part of your code base.
Step 2: Follow the API to make the necessary calls and integrate the ZestADZ J2ME API with your code base
Step 3: Test on an Emulator
Step 4: Verify the binary code base on ALL emulators
Step 5: Obfuscate and release

If you would like to see a sample app where mobile advertising has been embedded, download MeghDoot Hindi SMS application from

Hope this blog post was useful. Do post your comments / suggestions to this article or write your comments to support [at] zestadz dot com.