New Data Center in Chicago plus We’re at 6 Billion Impressions a Month..

We are happy to announce that in April, we setup an additional data center in Chicago. This data center was setup so that we can have additional capacity (in ad serving and data processing) and also because we did not want to have a single point of failure at one data center.

We have been using the new data center for hosting some of our apps, the most important of which is the ZestADZ Mobile Analytics (http://analytics.zestadz.com).  We will begin ad serving from this data center shortly enabling distributed ad serving.

With this new data center – what we have is increased capacity to process more ads, redundancy and an improvement in the overall quality of service / up-times provided.

6 billion impressions a month
We are also happy to announce that we are currently delivering over 6 billion impressions a month.  We’ve grown 300% in terms of traffic compared to the same duration last year. We’re hoping to double this in the next couple of months. Hoping that we have the support of global mobile publishers.

More updates coming up
We have exciting new updates coming up, so keep watching this page.

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Technology Presentation: Memcached

At ZestADZ, we’re extremely passionate about technology and believe in using the best open source technologies to deliver a great mobile advertising experience.

Memcached is one such open source project that we believe in and have been using heavily for a while. It is one of the NoSQL solutions that can be used for a specific use case.

Please view the embedded memcached presentation to learn more about memcached and how you can use it within your apps.

Are you a passionate open source hacker? If you love using memcached and are passionate about several other open source technologies, you might be interested about career options at ZestADZ. Write to us – hr@zestadz.com to learn more about the career options available.
Please write to us if you have any questions about this presentation to engineering@zestadz.com.

Komli Media acquires ZestADZ

Dear ZestADZ Advertisers and Publishers,

We are extremely happy to announce that  we have been acquired by Komli Media – Asia Pac’s leading ad network.

It has been a long journey for us at ZestADZ. We started as mobile ad network focussed at a few regions in Asia. We eventually expanded globally with a footprint spanning US, Germany, Spain, UK, Netherlands, Italy, Russia, South Africa, India, Indonesia, and a couple of other regions.

We have grown significantly and are currently delivering about 5 billion ad impressions each month spanning all of these regions.

This growth & global presence was a result of a modest self funded operation lead by a great team at Chennai, India and in the US.

We are now very excited to be a part of Komli, a company that has demonstrated exceptional growth in the last 3 years.

This acquisition is going to help our advertisers and publishers by:

– enabling us to tap into the wealth of experience that Komli has and apply it to mobile, thereby delivering better value to advertisers.

– enabling us to leverage Komli’s leadership team lead by Prashant Mehta to accelerate growth and adoption of mobile advertising in general.

– enabling us to leverage the massive Komli’s field sales presence in over 10 countries to generate better yields for publishers.

– delivering better technology and mobile advertising with the availability of more resources.

Komli is committed to investing significantly in ZestADZ to establish market leadership. We’re hoping that we will have your continued support through this journey.

About Komli: Komli is Asia Pac’s leading ad network. Komli has over 200 employees spread across a dozen offices in New York, Redwood City, Mumbai, Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangalore, Sydney, Melbourne, Kuala Lumpur, Vietnam, London along with Chennai and Des Moines, IA which are the newest additions with this acquisition.

Thank you. Link to press release.

Leadership team @ ZestADZ – now a division of Komli

Shown in Picture from Left to right – Asif Ali, Prashant Mehta, Amit Bhartiya

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Mobile Advertising: An Insiders Guide For Publishers – The Truth About Mobile Developer Programs

Much has been talked about mobile developer programs and how many developers earn more revenue, improve cpms and how it helps them get going in launching free or fremium apps using advertising as a really sustainable business model.

Lets go a little bit deeper to understand how this really works?. Ad networks or sometimes carriers announce mobile developer programs worth millions of dollars. The promise is that you as a developer get 100% share of the advertising revenue generated or the download charge (on a carrier). Sounds great isnt it?. Yes it does but the truth is far from it and here’s why

a) It is a way to blow VC money and to raise more funds: One problem is that companies have raised more money than they should have and they should be raising. Much more money than they need. So, how do you spend it?. Simple, launch a mobile developer program and travel everywhere, including Mongolia (no offense dear Mongolians) to promote it.

b) It is not a sustainable business model? Why?. simply because VCs want to see exits with high valuations soon so the company is basically being prepped up for a sale or for an IPO to raise further money. It is not sustainable because there is no way the ad network or anyone else could operate if this was their primary business while spending 100% of the revenue that they are earning. Sure it is a great short term strategy to kill or overwhelm the competition. But assuming that the competition has survived ..it will probably take the market away from such networks through real innovation in technology and services.

c) It does not reflect your true sustainable revenue run and there is no way you are going to be comfortable if revenue falls by 40% after a few quarters of great growth.  Consider this – the revenue that you might have earned through developer programs are nothing but short term bonuses. These programs cannot and will not last forever and that means when the programs ends, the revenue is going to be falling atleast by 40% (assuming thats the share of the network).

d) Problem of transparency: Most networks might even claim that they are giving away 100% revenue share. But how sure are you as a developer that you are actually getting 100% revenue share?  How do you ascertain this, when you really dont have access to the campaign lists along with their  CPC / CPM prices?.

So what does a developer like you do?. To cut it short, I’ can only say one thing for now – make hay while the Sun shines. But even then – don’t send all your traffic to a single network. When the funds run dry (on the dev programs), move on to a network partner that is transparent, accessible, has coverage in your markets and most importantly makes payments on time.

Mobile Advertising: An Inside “Guide for Publishers” on Fill Rates, eCPMs etc

Many new  publishers get stuck trying to understand what kind of eCPMs and Fill Rates that they will get in order to firm up a reasonable business case. Unfortunately, it is not a very easy thing to understand for new publishers. I thought this would be a great topic to write about it to throw some light into the industry for prospective new publishers.

Here are some thoughts on this industry in general, from an insider.

The biggest brand may not necessarily mean the best fill rates. Even by people who claim that mobile advertising sucks and they’re here to fix it. Recent news indicated that one prominent network was giving 6% fill rates – so good luck with that.

The largest network may have 100% fill rate but good luck with that. Be prepared to deal with CPC bids that are as low as $0.005 a click or even lower. Why so?. Most remnant inventory deals are signed up for Cost Per Lead (CPL) or Cost Per Action / Acquisition (CPA). Ad networks lower the bid prices heavily to make these campaigns work.

Most networks are “blind” and don’t show you the ads they run or the bid prices for each ad.

There is no such thing as free lunch, or free beer or 100% revenue forever. Yeah – some have short term developer programs that can be great to throw away those millions they just raised. Sure – most VCs will still throw more money at them..but the bottom line is, it is not sustainable for either parties in the long term. Ad networks can’t make money like this and publishers do not get any guarantee of 100% revenue all the time.  But still – you should make hay while the sun shines!

– Fast, hassle free integration again doesn’t mean great revenue. Look around the credibility of the ad network in the developer community and see the horror stories before you release your app.

– Some networks claim high CPM – but what is really eCPM?. Is it earnings per thousand on ads delivered …what about the impressions that were not filled?..remember – no one is counting them.

– Exclusive deals for your “premium” inventory don’t exist: If you’re one of them touting that you’re inventory is “premium”..get real fast or run the risk of not getting any ad inventory. From my experience, many publishers who touted premium inventory, premium network etc have all either run out of business or accepted the reality of the market place and moved on.

– Analytics don’t always show you everything: Remember – ad networks gather a lot of data. But they don’t necessarily show what you really want to know. Check with the network to see if they provide ALL fill rate data, unique user data, application (iPhone / Android) specific data and more. It would be great to find out which ads are performing and which ads aren’t, so that you can block non performing ads. Does your ad network do this?

Most ad networks are closed: Check how transparent is your ad network and how much of data are they willing to share at real time. Having a closed ecosystem means you will have to adjust the traffic to the network according to their available campaigns after looking at reports through other data scraping tools or by looking it up manually.

I will add more thoughts to this blog shortly.

 

 

 

 

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Meet us at Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas – Jan 9-10, 2011

ZestADZ will be at the Affiliate Summit this weekend in Las Vegas. Affiliate Summit West, the premier affiliate marketing conference, is taking place January 9-11, 2011 at Wynn Las Vegas.

This three day conference includes an exhibit hall with affiliate merchants, vendors, and networks, as well as multiple tracks of educational sessions covering the latest trends and information from affiliate marketing experts.

We will be available on Jan 9th and Jan 10th. Please do write to dinesh@zestadz.com to schedule a meeting.

Mobile advertising is a powerful medium and ZestADZ can help advertisers and affiliate marketers to drive lead generation through powerful analytics and self service tools.

For more information on ZestADZ, please visit http://zestadz.com.

Privacy concerns and what could be done by the mobile app & advertising industry

Mobile Apps, Advertising and Privacy in 2011 Consumer Privacy is going to be very important. This year there were major concerns raised by consumer groups with lawsuits and massive coverage by well known publications such as the WSJ about privacy issues related to advertising and tracking of consumer data through mobile applications.

Online advertising is behavioral users being tracked using cookies their profiles being generated with browsing and searching patterns. Data about the user is also being mined across the internet to create a in-depth profile, which happens to have too much of personal information. This information is being shared with prospective advertisers. The other concern was the sharing of mobile application data user including user location in mobile apps to third party ad networks. This information may include phone number and unique user ids identifying each user.

Consumer Privacy at Risk

As mobile devices are becoming more common and more ubiquitous, mobile apps and services such as search, advertising etc, get access to more and more consumer information.  Customer privacy is at risk and in both web and mobile applications. With the respect to the online advertising industry, the industry has started self regulation mechanism which we believe has had some effect in protecting consumer privacy, unfortunately FTC and consumer privacy advocates don’t seem to agree.

FTC’s Do Not Track

The Federal Trade Commission has proposed a universal “do not track” mechanism that would allow people to choose whether they want Internet companies to collect information on their browsing habits. The idea is that users would be able to choose to have their browser not to track them for advertising purposes. It is not clear whether this proposal includes mobile services and mobile advertising but we believe that this should serve as a wakeup call for mobile ad networks, app developers, advertiser, agencies and mobile ad networks.

Mobile App and Advertising Ecosystem

What could be done by the mobile apps and advertising ecosystem so that the consumers don’t feel spooked?.  There are various choices on the table

a) Self regulation with choices to the consumer to opt out is one great option that should be immediately initiated. This could be done with a common website or this could be offered as a choice in every application like the way browsers today have choices to reject cookies being saved.

b) Standards could be set where industry players agree to to limiting information collected, users tracked or the way information is shared or restrict the quantum of information being shared.

c) Key information must never be tracked or shared: Key identifying information about the user (ids, phone numbers etc) should be completely left untracked.  This could be a part of a standard or an adhoc initiative that could be immediately implemented.

Some of these steps may lead to some stifling of ad revenue dollars or tech companies may feel that innovation is being throttled but in long term this could have obvious benefits as more consumers would openly adopt newer services without the fear of being tracked.  This could also help the industry avoid expensive lawsuits.