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SinglePoint calls for transparency in mobile ads

Wed, 08/11/2010 - 8:00am
Monica Alleven, Wireless Week

Openness and transparency might be the catch words of the day, but SinglePoint is issuing a call to make those tenets apply to mobile advertising.

The Seattle company, which specializes in messaging – SMS mainly – announced that its Ad-Junction mobile ad exchange will be transparent to publishers, meaning they can decide upfront which advertisers are associated with their content.

While that sounds like a reasonable enough ambition, SinglePoint CEO Gowri Shankar points out that's not traditionally how it's been done. That's probably due to a combination of things, but much has been made around the wired Web ad model, where blind ad networks dominate.

Blind networks are the norm for mobile advertising, as well, and by definition do not give publishers any visibility into the advertisers on their network, according to SinglePoint. Closed networks also prevent a publisher from protecting its brand from advertisements that don't align with its values or those of its audience.

SinglePoint delivers messaging-based advertising for more than 60 premium publishers, including the leading television networks and their subsidiaries, such as NBC and CBS, as well as media conglomerates, including Viacom. Its publisher-centric approach allows media partners to approve and control the ads that will run on its messaging campaigns –a strategy it says has been tremendously successful, with average response rates far exceeding those on other digital media.

Shankar calls it "conversational advertising" because it's one-to-one as opposed to one-to-many advertising like you find on broadcast TV. Stats show that 90 percent of people who receive a text message will open the message within three minutes of delivery, providing a highly effective ad medium.

SinglePoint's focus from last year to this year has shifted dramatically. It finalized the sale of its aggregation business to Ericsson earlier this year and in March launched its SMS/mobile advertising platform in India, where it acquired M2Junction. The company wants to expand into other regions of the world, as well, but not necessarily always through acquisition. The company is evaluating regions such as Southeast Asia and South America to see where it goes next.

While a lot of mobile advertising players talk about messaging as part of their offerings, Shankar says he doesn't think there's anybody in North America that has quite the same laser focus on messaging that SinglePoint offers at the moment.

SinglePoint works side by side with ad networks like Google's AdMob and Apple's iAds. It also partners with the likes of Jumptap and Millennial Media for mobile Internet advertising.

More Broadband Direct 8/11/10:

•  Google in deal to sell ads on DirecTV channels
•  In the media: Cable to get shorter VOD window
•  Companies to display new tech at CableLabs
•  Broadband adoption slows down, but blacks catch up
•  Cable Hall of Fame Class of '11 named
•  SinglePoint calls for transparency in mobile ads
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