Vertical Ad Networks Vs Horizontal – The Ongoing debate

There’s been some buzz now for a few months over Vertical ad-networks coming into the industry and the impact that they will create. It was , too obvious, that there will eventually be a confrontation between the networks already established in the Indian market ( read : Horizontal) and the new kids on the block like Webchutney’s Go-Sindbad and Divanation and it would only be a matter of time before the industry starts debating with respect to the pro’s and con’s of both , and media planners wonder which ones to go for.

For me , surprisingly i should add , it appears to be rather simple. The major driving force behind the argument for Vertical networks is that they contain sites which are similar in terms of what they are catering to i.e travel , the sites included in such a network would cater to hotels , air fares, train bookings etc etc , each with an individual objective but related to a larger singular category – the assumption being that such a vertical will thus offer the best exposure to a travel related advertiser given the relevancy which exists and since its so relevant , advertisers in turn would pay a premium which consequently would drive up eCPM’s for the publishers and everyone’s happy.

Sounds good for everyone , but unfortunately that’s not they way its necessarily going to work for a few reasons in my opinion.

1. What is so different between a vertical network and a horizontal network offering the same channel with equatable strength ? In some ways, a specialized channel for a horizontal is nothing but a vertical network in itself. All that a Horizontal needs to ensure is channel targeting and then add further targeting options.

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Iphone India – vodaphone announces prices

OH dear oh Dear…

Vodaphone has announced its costing for the Iphone 3G its plans on releasing on the 22nd Of August 2008 , and i dont think anyone who has been waiting for it is going to be very happy with the price.

Roughly around 31,000 for the 8 GB unit

Roughly around 36,000 for the 16 GB unit.

And thats not the end of it , data and voice plans are going to cost extra.

Airtel’s pricing is still due and one can hope that their rates are better than this. These price points are even higher than those found in the US when the Iphone first came out. I would consider it a sheer waste of money and nothing else to purchase either of these 2 models and stick with the Nokia N 95’s which provide excellent functionality as well.

In my last post on this i had mentioned how thrilled i would be to see the monopoly in the market by a few small time internet sellers fade away , but I am afraid that at these prices , the grey market is going to flourish even more.

Airtel ofcourse still needs to release their prices , but is this an indication of what these providers are looking at ? An opportunity exists for Airtel now , to be in the front purely basis price differentiation, assuming they price it lower, but for many its not simply going to be a case where Airtel is cheaper than Vodaphone , it needs to be a substantial difference.

What say you guys? Would you buy them at this price?

I Phone Date Announced for India

Airtel has finally given the launch date for the eagerly awaited I-Phone in India.  As of August 22nd 2008 , one will be able to purchase an I-Phone from Airtel relationship centers across India.

The price has still not been released and i concur with the reasons given by Trak.in , which suggest that the strongest possible reasons are :-

1. Street expectations for the price are around 16,000-18,000. Its possible that Airtel plans on releasing this at a higher level which would in turn affect sales. By announcing it early,it would give consumers time to look at it rationally and go in for cheaper options.

2. They have no idea on what Vodapohone plans on doing and are waiting as much as they can to get clarity on their strategy and price it accordingly.

Good news for everyone waiting for this gadget. I hope that the pricing is attractive as well.

The other parties which will get affected are all the small players who have been selling the Iphone in India , through the internet, for as much as 28 , 000 – 30,000 given the scenario. Their days of literally having a bit of a monopoly are over.

Hottest Startup’s 2008 India

Livemint published a report a few days back highlight the top 10 (hottest) startup’s to look out for in 2008 from the India perspective. These companies stood out from the others in terms of their services and products offered, business models and founder credentials.

The reference points for the research were forums such as proto.in, NASSCOM  and MoDeMo

The list included

Sloka Telecom Pvt Ltd

DimDim Inc

Ziva Software 

Novatium Solutions 

Ixigo.com 

MobME Wireless Solutions 

Anantara Solutions Pvt Ltd 

Tyroo Media Pvt Ltd

Mango Technologies

Zoho 

Read the full story here. 

Top downloads of 2007

This is that time of the year where the “top”, the “best”, the “worst” lists start coming out. In keeping with the spirit of things i thought i might as well put up one here as well. Mine ofcourse matters 😛

The list i agreed with most was the one by download.com.  Here is it , in no particular order.

Flock : The social networking browser.Stay in touch without visiting a 100 sites!

Camtasia Studio 5 : A heavy duty recording studio.

Miro : A player which can subscribe and download vodcasts and managing saved media.

Pidgin : A common platform for multi chat clients. The “trillion” of 2007?

Launchy : Faster access to application through the use of hot keys.

OpenOffice : Well, a pretty decent option against MS.

Simplifymedia : Streamlining and highly organized medium for sharing music.

Crossloop :  A free tool allowing you to give relative access of your system to someone.

Audacity :  Multiplatform, open source audio editor.

Digital Editions : One of the best (?) tools for e-books?

Read the full article at download .com

Airtel’s 8 Mbps plans Dissapoint

I knew about this a week or so before it actually rolled out into the market and was talking with one of my IT guys and both of us were very kicked about the speed, more so since we are both heavy on downloading.

But more disappointment’s than excitement post the launch. While the speeds are excellent what tends to really play foul are the download limits assigned. The cheapest 8Mbps plan is priced at 2222/- per month. Take a look at the excel below where i compare it to the 256 plan i have currently.

plan.jpg

Key Things to Note

1. The GB Limit will be reached in 2.4 minutes approximately.

2. 8Gb is equal to roughly only 12 movies.

3. If you were to keep downloading for another 2.2 minutes post crossing the limit i.e another 8GB ,the additional charges which would apply would be 0.90 Paise x 8000 MB = 7200 Rupees.

4. Cost per movie is 202 rupees which is more than what original VCD’s would cost.

So all kudos to Airtel to launch such plans but they need a more competitive pricing policy. Maybe come up with top up options which would allow users to make their plans unlimited. For someone like me, and a lot many more in India where downloading is a big activity these plans tend not to appeal eventually.

Incidentally, i would also request everyone reading this to please visit the Airtel site and look at the current broadband packages. Airtel appears to be deleting a lot of the previous options which were available, if yours is one that does not appear to be there but you are still getting a net connection, they might have put you on a different plan on their own. As illogical as it may sound , Airtel’s customer care executives made it very clear that the company was under no obligation to inform customers of plan changes. I mentioned this earlier as well on a post here.

Update as on 27th Dec 2007

I got my calculations wrong. Its not 12 seconds but 12 minutes for a 700 MB file. Please key in the update while going through the above chart. Not that it makes a big difference for me. Instead of reaching the limit in 2.4 minutes , it will now be about 2.5 Hrs.

Advertisers are harsh when it comes to the internet.

While this may lead to a flood of comments picking at everything i have written , I am still going to pen the following thoughts down.

I believe that advertisers on the Internet are, comparatively,too harsh on the Internet and the online medium. Their expectations are often unfair and with respect to the larger picture, despite having proved it self as a strong , accountable , economic medium the net needs to prove it self over and over , every campaign , everytime. Why ?

The problem lies in the medium itself. One of its biggest advantage is its weakness as well. The internet offers accountability and tracking which before it , was quite frankly, a dream…. and advertisers have literally gone overboard with it.

Just to take an example lets consider a recent campaign..Maruti Swift ,lots of fanfare everywhere… lots of TVC’s , lots of half page spreads in the national dailies. Cars got sold , car sales saw a rise, people got to know about the product. Lots of articles , Autocar feature planning was done well blah blah. The marketing department at Maruti is still patting itself on the back , and the agency thrilled with the invoicing. Everyone’s happy……

….but i have a question.. i want to know which TVC , in which language, at which time spot on which channel on which day , targeting which demographics in which region , which city, did the best……. and the same for the print ads..and the same for the articles. How many cars got sold basis the review on Autocar….. yes… anyone?….. no one? cmon….!!… so many crores at not one detailed stat for me???

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