Mobile Advertising Bad Practices Exposed II

The last time we published a list of bad practices in the mobile advertising industry, it caused quite a flutter. The resulting consequences were bad for some companies indulging in such practices. Although, we won’t like to go into those details, here’s a round up of the Top 5 Mobile Advertising Bad Practices in 20o8.

#1 – Misleading (mostly porn) ads leading to unnecessary clicks

This is number one bad practice in mobile advertising still dominant amongst most players. Networks create a dummy porn Ad link which takes them to another page which contains several set of other actual ads. To add salt to the injury, these ads were put on adult inventory.

This practice stopped briefly after we posted the last blog entry but it has made a resurgent come back with a few smaller ad network players.

Here’s the AD screenshot taken just 3 days back.
Mobile advertising bad practices

Here’s what a user actually see’s when he clicks the ad

Mobile advertising bad practices
What is surprising is though most networks stopped this practice, several newer networks have adopted it including copying the exact ad text creative.

#2 – Advertisers getting charged for fraud clicks?

Although we’re not sure of this, there is a strong possibility that this could be happening because we’ve seen that several advertisers get very high CPA charges on a few networks. Though fraud clicks may not be the exact reason, but it could be one of them. Most advertisers don’t tend to use detailed tools to analyze their campaigns and therefore mobile ad networks can take advantage of them if they want to.  This highlights the importance of having detailed advertiser analytics – something that we will cover in another blog.

#3 – Taking user clicks directly to those pages which charge the user

Several forums were abuzz this year about another India based advertising network directly routing the users clicks to a page where they are billed for. When a user clicked on ads, content was downloaded (without the users’s permission), the money was deduced from his phone balance and a ‘thank you’ message was sent to (mock) the user! This is a classic case of misusing mobile advertising. The responsible advertiser or ad network must understand that such an event undermines the effectiveness of the medium and can have long term consequences. It is also the duty of advertising networks to check and advise an advertiser against it if he has put such a URL willingly or by mistake.

# 4- Auto Redirection to Landing Page

Another bad practice, this one by mobile publishers has come to my notice is auto redirecting the end user to an advertiser’s landing page. Recently when I was talking with a wap site publisher, he told me about this feature, some of his partner sites were using, wherein the site has a no. of ad links and if the user does not click on any of the links within a time frame, the publisher automatically takes the user to any 1 of the landing pages of the advertiser. I am not sure if such a thing is possible but if it is possible, then again advertisers and users are being taken for a ride.

#5 – Expired Ads

Some large players in the mobile ad business end up showing ads which have already expired but display “Nothing to show” when clicked. We’re not sure what is the reason why this is happening – it could be that the ads have already expired but not removed from some temp cache or it could be to create a false impression that there is inventory available where as it is not available.  This misleads publishers and leads users to a dead end.

Time to update the Mobile Marketing Association Code of Conduct?

I think it is high time that MMA take notice of such bad practices, updates its Code of Conduct, and inform all stakeholders in this ecosystem to avoid such practices.

Players in the mobile advertising ecosystem must behave responsibly otherwise the medium will loose its credibility with advertisers. Given the tough economic climate and recession in several countries, advertisers might start expecting the rates to be further commoditised or might just stop using this medium until credibility is re-established.
Publisher Team


Announcing the new ZestADZ Landing Pages Tool

ZestADZ announces the launch of a powerful new landing page tool for advertisers. Through this tool you can create amazing landing pages to enhance the success rate of your campaigns. This tool is now a part of your advertiser console.

Types of Landing Pages Supported

You can now create the following types of landing pages by clicking on the create a landing page option

  • Click-to-call pages
  • Lead generation forms
  • Mobile brochures
  • RSS feed page
  • Or a customized mobile page

Create a landing page screen

Once you select an option you will be taken to page where you can add any number of landing page elements

Adding Elements

You can now add several important components into your page including Heading, body text, image, RSS feeds, links etc. These components can be used to create your customized landing page, in line with your requirements, for your brand.

Landing page elements toolbar

Sorting Elements using Drag & Drop

You can sort the elements using drag and drop, select the colors of fonts and fix alignment or set font sizes for every text element. You will be able to add as many as elements as you want except RSS feeds and Images which is restricted to one.

Drag and droppable elements

Previewing the landing page

After you are done, the landing page is saved and you are given a permanent URL where your landing page would be available<id&gt;.This landing page can be previewed by clicking on the preview button.  The landing page is temporarily previewed in a web browser for your convenience

Device Specific Rendering

The landing page that you have created will be then rendered  based on the device and the kind of properties the target device supports.

As you can see, the landing page tool is feature rich and can be used to create full fledged mobile web sites for advertisers who do not have WAP sites.

Do review this feature and send us your feedback to support [at] mobile-worx dot com. To use the tool, log on to

Asif Ali

You get what you pay for / Why we don’t offer a 25% signup bonus to advertisers @

Anytime any seller offers an outlandish discount to earn a client’s business I am reminded of a few age old adages – “cheap things are not good, good things are not cheap”

What does this have to do with the mobile advertising business?

We see a number of competitors who seem like perfectly fine professionals provide asinine discounts to win new business. While providing low prices to win business is in perfect keeping with Free Market economics, one should also realize that providing predatory pricing hurts the industry overall. As we have seen in a number of industries – PC industry, Memory industry, Asian Toy industry selling products/services below cost results in poor or no innovation; poor customer services, low value for customer and unstable companies (or even worse as the Asian Toy industry painfully revealed).

The only for the industry to evolve and all parties in the eco-system – ad networks, publishers, advertisers and carriers to make a living is for us as an industry to deliver superior value to advertisers and get paid for the value we deliver.

Is good quality worth paying for? Ultimately advertisers have to make their own judgment as to whether they are getting value for their ad budgets. Rather than give outlandish and non-sustainable discounts, we at  mobile-worx have been working on the following key product attributes.


While other ad networks are focused on rock bottom pricing, we at Mobile-Worx are focused on developing highly value added capabilities to give marketing executives the best value for their money.

As they say, “The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”

Nat D Natraj

Top 10 Predictions for Mobile Advertising in 2009

It is that time of the year again  and here are our Top 10 predictions for mobile advertising in 2009

1) mobile advertising spending will grow but this is not expected to completely stabilize. This has a few implications..VC funded ad players will go through a spending binge to justify their investment and to grow their base but will see lesser ROI. This also means players like Google and Yahoo who are much larger on the web will still maintain a low profile until probably the end of 2009.

2) Globally, Android devices might add to the hype, iPhone could be the global #2 or #3 on most networks & Nokia will still lead most developing countries including India.

3) More players are expected to enter mobile advertising in 2009

4) Global rates for mobile advertising will continue to grow after some brief fall due to the economic crises. This is because low rates are clearly not sustainable for anyone and an average of $0.10 – $0.20 per click will be the norm for most developed markets

5) Many advertisers will still be trying out mobile advertising through 2009. Although 2008 did see some significant activity, actual campaigns and revenues were still too low in 2008.

6) One or two players in this space might be the right targets for acquisitions so expect acquisitions especially when valuations are right now at an all time low. So expect acquisitions in 09.

7) Mobile search might add significant traction, traffic to carrier ARPUs and mobile advertising through 2009

8 ) Expect Mobile advertising services to move beyond the regular self serve model. Advertisers are expecting more and the small budget advertisers will expect 360 degree service from mobile advertisers..leading some mobile ad companies to move up the value chain.

9) Developing markets like India / Indonesia will continue to grow in terms of real volumes of traffic with carriers like Airtel / Vodafone significantly gaining on that [especially in India].

10) Carriers will continue to try to experiment with mobile search and mobile advertising but will increasingly be insignificant or probably play a much more passive role in the global mobile advertising value chain.

Some of our past predictions and those that were right and those that were wrong..Most of these were centred around India..

Social mobile marketing will be big in 08 – we were wrong on this..although social media traffic has grown…the large chunk of social media traffic is still not made a big dent on the mobile advertising space as such.

SMS will continue to generate substantial traffic. WAP traffic as always is underestimated but will continue to surge with more users expected to logon to the mobile Internet. – We  were absolutely right on this…

Major web portals will unveil their mobile portals. – we were spot on on this prediction

– Players like Vodafone could shakeout the mobile data business offering cheaper data access to consumers. Wireless data could get more affordable — we were partly right..Vodafone has got great advertisements but a lousy product portfolio in India..Innovation is not a part of their strategy yet and they’re loosing to Airtel. Though the bright side is wireless data plans are now more affordable.

Many innovative mobile VAS applications will be launched free of cost to the consumer powered through mobile advertising. Mobile publishers will begin to take mobile advertising as a serious alternative business model – we were quite correct with this prediction, a number of mobile services (free sms, alerts etc) and apps have been launched last year especially in India and these have significantly increased users traffic usage / ARPUs etc..

More and more advertisers will begin to test mobile as a medium for marketing. Mobile will get acceptance as the third and more powerful medium than the web. Despite that, we don’t really expect to see drastic shift in the allocation of marketing budgets just yet – we were spot on on advertising has taken off but on the overall spending has been slow.

Premium rates for mobile content and mobile services will continue to drop – 10/10 for this prediction…again…premium content rates are continuing to drop across the world.

Several small and medium VAS players will move into mobile advertising – we were spot on with this prediction., several new smaller players have moved into mobile advertising and the herd mentality will continue to exist until there is a shakeout..