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Vodafone: Focussing on Mobile web for social networking

Vodafone is aiming to refashion its mobile web business around the address book and social networking with the launch of its Vodafone 360 brand. The idea is to provide a  “truly integrated mobile internet experience” on mobiles.


The heart of the platform was a connected address book called Vodafone People. The new product suite, announced on 25th September 2009, integrates users’ diverse address books, photos and social networking updates and provides automatic synching. It will be launched in eight European markets by the end of the year, with launches in India, Turkey, South Africa, and other markets next year.
Samsung has built two dedicated Vodafone 360 handsets, using the Linux-based LiMo, with a “proximity algorithm” that will highlight the most frequently-contacted people.
At launch four Nokia Symbian smartphones will come pre-loaded with Vodafone 360, and part or all of the service will be downloadable to more than 100 handset models.
It automatically synchs all contacts from a customer’s phone, Facebook , Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk, and will soon also include Twitter, Hyves and studiVZ. It also synchs wirelessly between the phone and the PC or Mac.All the services work together and they are easy to use, Customers can stay in touch and share experiences through social networks, instant messaging, email, apps, maps, music and buying digital content on their mobile bill, with the personalized address book at its heart.

The first handsets supporting Vodafone 360 have also been announced. The 360 H1 and 360 M1 will also be the first LiMo powered handsets.360 H1 is multimedia optimized handset.Itmeasures 115.9 x 58 x 12.9 mm, weighs 134 g and has a huge 3.5-inch 16M-color AMOLED touchscreen. Its highlight features include a 5-megapixel autofocus snapper, GPS receiver and plenty of internal memory (16GB). The phone also sports HSDPA, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth support.LiMo

Nokia bets big on text message based services in India


Nokia bets on an entire series of text message-based services for India. This is a approach difference from Nokia. The idea is to be customer-driven, not just technology-driven. While it’s not flashy, but it is smart.

 Nokia Life Tools enabled “We Meet” social networking will not require the user to have any data/GPRS plans for connecting to friends and networking around. The application specifically developed for Indian markets bypasses GPRS connection, which is still a prohibitively costly option in India and allows one to chat/IM through text messages. While IM is available to users through Telcos/ Chat portals, “We Meet” differentiates itself by software “threading” the messages in chronological order, making it easy to follow the conversation. The effect is something like an instant messaging conversation, but at the fraction of the cost and on devices with no data plans. We Meet is also designed to be location-aware. But instead of pricey GPS, which is typically found only in high-end phones, it tracks people’s location via towers. The system works because, in India, operators give cell towers geographic names. even low-end phones can detect the basic vicinity of specified contacts and display the information in the form of a word or phrase. When people move, the location updates. “It’s not a digital map, but it serves the same function.Nokia Life Toolsmain_image

 Nokia is also organizing a mobile texting based marketplace. Called “MoMart” for “mobile mart,” it consists of product listings delivered by text message. Interested buyers would subscribe to the service and specify the goods they want; the program would then push matches directly to their phones. Listings could be text-only or include an image embedded into the message. They could also be targeted to particular areas using cell-tower location technology, enabling buyers and sellers to meet in person. The programs run on Nokia’s Series 40 software platform, giving them a potential audience of hundreds of millions of phones.

Nokia has some experience it can reference. Last November, the company introduced a set of mobile programs called “Life Tools” that provided agricultural information and educational material to people in rural areas. Life Tools routes information to users via text message and was tested in India before being publicly released. However MoMart and WeMeet target urban users and encourage people to communicate with each other, not just consume content pushed to their phones.

Naturally, there’s an end game to all this work. Nokia hopes users will get hooked on doing more with their phones. Consumers who sign up for his apps will be more likely to adopt data plans in the future. When data plans become mass market, these users can easily transition.

Nokia bets on Social Networking

Posted in Mobile Devices and Company Updates, Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on September 24, 2009

Acquires CELLITY


July 2009: Nokia acquired mobile software firm CELLITY.the deal promises to bolster its social networking competencies–cellity’s Address 2.0 solution enables users to import all their contact data from a wide variety of sources (e.g., cellphone address books, Outlook, Twitter and social networks) and store it in one place, simplifying voice and data connections across the mobile and web platforms.

Read more:

Acquires Micro networking site PLUM

If one were to believe Nokia Conversations, Social networking is trending to Micro Social networking and that is a trend that Nokia seems to be investing in through its acquisition of PLUM, the micro-social network startup.


Plum will compliment the Nokia’s Social Location services, with the acquired assets becoming part of Nokia’s Services unit. Plum develops and operates a cloud-based social media sharing and messaging service for private groups. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where users can collect hundreds or thousands of friends, Plum targets smaller social bodies. It is suited for families, co-workers, neighborhoods, sports, schools, faith and any other existing social group. Plum is like Facebook for families, but more private and intimate.

Nokia asks a very different question, a thought provoking one in the age of multiplying networking: Is there a fatigue filling in maintaining large networks?

Quoting Nokia Conversations: “Are we reaching a threshold now where we begin cutting back on the size of our social network contacts pool? Or do we keep collecting connections, and is the skill then in the segmenting those people and customizing the sorts of experiences we want to share with some groups and not others? Does the blurring of the lines between the personal and professional in these social spaces require more privacy customization?”

Business logic wise, this is being seen as an effort to expand the Social Location services approach central to its Ovi Store virtual app marketplace. The positioning is different from Facebook type mass networking to individual and restricted network of families. Augmented with Nokia’s impressive device penetration there may be some promise in the story. We will watch the space for more.


Nokia’s acquisition of Dopplr: Whither business sense?

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on September 24, 2009

Nokia has been on an acquisition spree lately. Celity, Bit-Side, Plum and now Dopplr. One hear’s about the acquisition of Palm a well. That’s been on air for some-time now and we still don’t seem to have any definite answer on that.

Acquisition of Dopplr


Dopplr, a travel social network site headquartered in London, owned and operated by Dopplr Ltd. in Helsinki, Finland is rumored to have been acquired by Nokia. The travel social networking service is based on the idea of “intention broadcasting” where you publish your intention to visit somewhere in the future, thus making happy coincidences in your social network less and less coincidental (and thus happier, more efficient). An year ago, Dopplr was voted by ReadWriteWeb to be one of the top ten international products of 2008. (Read Here)

The purchase price is said to be between €10 million and €15 million. The site has never grown to huge usage, but its core users are passionate about Dopplr. This is in contrast to Tripit, which has a larger audience and caters to the same socialize-while-you-travel idea.

The problem with this idea seems to be that, it belonged as part of something bigger, not as a standalone site. There is too much social capital that is required for yet another “community” website. One single purpose did not warrant another log on, another bit of data input. The idea was nicely executed, however, but not compelling enough on its own. The flip of this is that Dopplr may add up to Nokia’s world well and would get the threshold volume it always lagged.

Dopplr II

Interestingly, in 2008, Nokia purchased Plazes – another location-based service with social networking roots. Plazes offers users the opportunity to share locations and activities with friends while geotagging the sites they like. Dopplr serves a similar purpose; however, friends are meant to meet up while traveling.

If this sounds familiar it’s because services like Foursquare and most recently Gowalla have gotten iPhone users into the habit of checking in and leaving tips at their favorite haunts and watering holes.

With Plazes in 2008 and Dopplr in 2009, both serving the same purpose, I wonder how Nokia has visioned its advance in Travel social networking. Admittedly, it does seem to have little of any worth in two acquisitions of same nature without doing much on the first one.

Presenting Om Malik’s reaction to Nokia’s acquisition strategy:

“…Nokia was bereft of direction and purpose. You can also extend that argument to Nokia’s acquisition strategy. The company has been buying up tiny companies, hoping to get a bit of web services magic. Unfortunately, all these acquisitions are like Band-aids applied on a cut carotid artery — they wouldn’t do much good unless Nokia has a platform that’s developed specifically for the mobile Internet.” Ref:

Indian Telecom Story: Inching closer to half a billion subscribers

Posted in Industry updates by Manas Ganguly on September 23, 2009

August 2009

Indian mobile operators added 15.1 million users in August 2009, their second-highest monthly performance ever after 15.6 million that was recorded in March 2009. India had 456.7 million mobile subscribers at the end of August, data released by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) showed, meaning about 40 percent of India’s billion-plus population now has a phone. Total telecom subscriber base increased to 494.17 million at the end of July from 479.07 million a month before.

Tata Teleservices with its Tata CDMA and TATA DoCoMo GSM services recorded the largest number of net subscriber additions. New tariff plans such as per-second billing introduced for GSM customers helped it add a highest-ever 3.4 million subscribers in August.

Bharti Airtel, India’s top mobile operator, added 2.8 million users in August to take its base to 108 million. Second-ranked Reliance Communications added 2.1 million to increase its base to 84.1 million.

No. 3 Vodafone Essar, controlled by Vodafone Plc, signed up 2.2 million customers to have 80.9 million.State-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, the fourth-largest mobile firm, signed up 1.3 million to reach 57.3 million, while fifth-ranked Idea Cellular gained 1.5 million to cross 50 million.


Profiling the Google DoubleClick Ad Exchange.

Posted in Revenues and Monetization by Manas Ganguly on September 21, 2009

Continued from earlier post:

The new DoubleClick Ad Exchange helps to open the ecosystem and establish a new marketplace for buyers and sellers. For a large publisher managing multiple sales channels and ad networks, the Ad Exchange provides real-time yield management to maximize returns. Participating ad networks and agency networks get access to a large pool of inventory and the controls they need to precisely achieve their marketing goals.


We’ve been working for some time on rebuilding the Ad Exchange on Google technology to deliver an improved platform, with new features and functionality for our customers. Both sellers (publishers) and buyers (ad networks and agency networks) stand to benefit from the new features we’ve incorporated.

Key benefits for sellers include:

  • Real-time dynamic allocation to maximize yield. Publishers can automatically generate the highest return for every impression, using real-time data and bids to allocate ad space to the sales channel that pays the most at that second.
  • Access to many more advertisers. The Ad Exchange offers publishers access to new buyers, including AdWords advertisers, bringing higher quality ads and more competition for ad space on their sites.
  • Hassle-free payments managed by Google. We manage the billing and payments from networks so publishers get one monthly payment and minimize having to manage multiple relationships.
  • Greater controls. Publishers can decide what advertisers, networks, ad formats, and bid types to allow.
  • New easy to use interface with enhanced reporting. We use the simplicity of Google’s user design principles to help publishers easily find out how their sites are performing, to help them make the right decisions about their ad space.

Key benefits for buyers include:

  • Access to more publishers and more ad space. Hundreds of thousands of AdSense publisher sites are now available on the Ad Exchange to Google-certified ad networks. And as more publishers join the Ad Exchange to take advantage of its yield management capabilities, more high quality inventory is being added all the time.
  • Real-time bidder. The Ad Exchange has a new real-time bidder feature that allows buyers to use their own data, optimization and ad serving technologies to bid on their desired inventory on an impression-by-impression basis, choosing only the sites, audiences, or particular type of ad space they want to reach.
  • New easy to use interface with enhanced buyer reporting capabilities. Redesigned reports are simple to use and understand, so buyers can easily see how their campaigns are performing to help them make the right decisions.
  • More control and precision. Buyers control where their ads appear and don’t appear. They can use frequency capping, pacing and other features to precisely control ad delivery.
  • Centralized clearing system. Google makes all payments to publishers, reducing complexity with a single billing and payment point. Buyers benefit from managing one business relationship instead of many.
  • A new API – Ad networks and agency networks will have access to an API which enables them to integrate their own functionality and systems when working with the Ad Exchange.

We’re excited about the open marketplace that the new Ad Exchange creates and believe that it will add substantial value to the display advertising ecosystem.


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Double Click AdExchange: Growing the display advertising pie for everyone

Posted in Revenues and Monetization by Manas Ganguly on September 21, 2009

A small consolidation sometimes can make a lot of difference. Google sets the ball rolling by consolidating the advertisers and space owners on the same platform: The Double click ad exchange. The Ad Exchange is a real-time marketplace to buy and sell display advertising space..By establishing an open marketplace where prices are set in a real-time auction, the Ad Exchange enables display ads and ad space to be allocated much more efficiently and easily across the web. It’s just like a stock exchange, which enables stocks to be traded in an open way. The “buyers” in the Ad Exchange are typically ad networks and agency-run networks with their own ad serving and optimization technologies, while the “sellers” are large publishers .Presenting an excerpt from Google Blog on Double click ad exchange: Google’s newest baby to consolidate the advertising pie for advertisers, providers and for itself.

Hundreds of thousands of advertisers use search advertising — short, highly relevant text ads alongside search results on Google and other search engines — to grow their businesses. Thanks to a decade of innovation, search advertising is an open platform that allows businesses to easily connect with customers.

As you browse the web today, you’ll also see “display advertising,” such as videos, images and interactive ads. Like search ads, these connect users with products, services and ideas that interest them. For advertisers, display ads are vital in boosting awareness and sales. For websites and online publishers, they help fund investments in online content and the web services that we all use.

But with a multitude of display ad formats, and thousands of websites, it often takes thousands of hours for advertisers to plan and manage their display ad campaigns. With this complexity, lots of advertisers today just don’t bother, or don’t invest as much as they would like.

On the other side of the equation, some publishers are left with up to 80% of their ad space unsold. It’s like airlines flying with their planes mostly empty. And for the ad space that they do sell, publishers also have to deal with the complexity of managing thousands of advertisers and campaigns.

We believe that a better system built on better technology can help grow the display advertising pie and benefit everyone.

Three principles underpin our approach to the display advertising field:

1. Simplify the system for buying and selling display ads: For example, our DoubleClick ad serving products help advertisers and publishers manage campaigns and ad formats across thousands of websites and from thousands of advertisers.

2. Deliver better performance that advertisers and agencies can measure: We’re building a host of new features to help advertisers to run display ad campaigns across the Google Content Network (comprising hundreds of thousands of AdSense partner sites) and on YouTube. We’re also developing better measurement and reporting technology so they can figure out what’s working and what’s not.

3. Open up the ecosystem: We want to democratize access to display advertising and make it accessible and open, like search advertising. We recently launched the Display Ad Builder to help businesses easily set up and run display ad campaigns. 80% of advertisers who use that product have never run a display ad campaign before.

We’ve been working hard to put these principles into practice, and today we’re excited to announce the new DoubleClick Ad Exchange, a step towards creating a more open display advertising ecosystem for everyone. The Ad Exchange is a real-time marketplace that helps large online publishers on one side; and ad networks and agency networks on the other, buy and sell display advertising space.

These publishers and ad networks manage and represent large volumes of ads and ad space from lots of advertisers and websites. By bringing them together in an open marketplace in which prices are set in a real-time auction, the Ad Exchange enables display ads and ad space to be allocated much more efficiently. This improves returns for advertisers and enables publishers to get the most value out of their online content.

 AdWords advertisers will be able to run ads on sites in the Ad Exchange, using their existing AdWords interface. This means more high quality sites for AdWords advertisers to run display ads on. Similarly, our AdSense publishers will benefit from more high-quality display advertisers coming through the Ad Exchange. html

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RIP:Print media?

Posted in The Technology Ecosystem by Manas Ganguly on September 19, 2009

RIP Print MediaThere are many who believe that in the days to come print media will be a dinosaur. Not in the size terms but more in the existance terms. It will be extinct. My thoughts on the subject:

The many who believe that print will be dead seem to be assuming print media to be news. Digital content is very ominously shaking the basics of the news print industry as we know it today! The  reasons why print media news appears to be failing are

  • Digital content has become increasing real time.
  • Digital content is becoming crowd sourced.
  • Digital content can be customized
  • Digital content measures its audience better and thus for the advertiser, it focusses his campaign better on the right audience. In brief, it increases efficiency.
  • The print media is not seen as environment friendly. The raw material, wood pulp requires millions of trees to be sawed off.

Thus the traditional news on print industry is facing a double whamy where users are moving to customizable news content and advertisers are reducing their marketing spends because they are unsure about the target group/audience match! Almost all large newspaper houses now have their website and lately have registered on other mediums such as,,,,, and more…

The idea is to stay relevant in the digital age and engage/interact with consumers. News is soon becoming a two way communication instead of the one way information flow that it had been so many years.

However, does this mean the end of print media?


Reasons: The theme behind the failure is target, customization and focus. Marketeers being able to target their users well and users able to see content which is customized to their requirements.

Print media is more than just news. Reading is more than an electronic habit. So there will be niche’s that the print industry will successfully cater to. The more properly defined the niche is, the better the chances of making money. Journals and Publications which are very niche focused will continue to thrive because it will be producing customized content to a select target audience  and there would be opportunities in the niche to make marketing programs viable!

Besides, there is always a thing about the reading habit and the love of reading…. the way it has been through ages!

Customer engagement: Twitter shows the way

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on September 18, 2009

Unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009, making it the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for the month. Zimbio and Facebook followed, growing 240 percent and 228 percent, respectively.


The emergence of India in Twitter land!

Twitter continues to be dominated by users from United States, its slowly gaining prominence in other countries as well. Almost half of Twitter users come from United States followed by Germany. India, till a few months back was fighting to be among the top ten Twitter users in the world; now is the land of third highest Twitter users in the world.

It is great to see Twitter expand at this rate in a country which has only 7.1% of its population using internet. The internet usage in India has grown at 1,520% from the year 2000 to 2008 and today it has the fourth highest number of internet users.

Twitter Country

Twitter has already become the third most popular social networking site in India. The first and second being Orkut and Facebook respectively. According to the top sites by Alexa in India, Twitter is already the 13th most popular site in the country. The social networking scene in India has increased by leaps and bounds and the followership can be a telling factor in a lot of marketing and branding initiatives. No wonder then, that brands in India are increasingly using Blogs, Micro Blogs and other avenues to reach out and engage their consumers and one can see trend taking over in India.

1 in 5 tweets contain an expression of brand sentiment

A fresh new study done at Penn State by Jim Jansen, Mimi Zhang, Kate Sobel and Twitter chief scientist Abdur Chowdhury talks about how consumers use Twitter to talk about brands. This is being published in an upcoming issue of “The Journal of American Society for Information Science and Technology,” shedding some light on how many people are Tweeting about brands and what they’re saying.

The study analyzed half a million Tweets analyzed in a 13-week period. 19% tweets talked about a brand of some manner.Although the positive tweets represented the largest quantity, there were a substantial percentage of negative tweets. Prior research in the impression formulation literature has shown that negative comments have a greater impact than positive ones.” This re-enforces the popular anecdote that an angry customer has a greater affect on a company than a positive one.

The Impact on Brands and Marketing

There is a trend when it comes to micro-communication and what it is used for. Businesses use micro-communication for brand awareness, brand knowledge and customer relationship. Personal use is all over the board.

In effect the consumer say about the brand has now magnified and brands are finding newer methods to connect and engage with their users. A brief sample of efforts made by mobile companies in India and globally: ,, and discusses Samsung/Nokia/LG technologies and products and is a means to disseminate information and educate the consumers on Samsung/Nokia and its products/services.

A few days back, Samsung_mobile was launched in Twitter to tweet about its new releases in India

Even the home grown Micromax has as a means to talk about their products.

Facebook profiles of company initiatives are not unusual anymore. Fan Following helps! 

Tweets have an impressive ability to reach consumers and are about as close as one can get to the customer point of purchase for products and services. From a consumer perspective, it gives them the power to tap into the experience and collective of other users and peers. From a brand perspective, it gives access to “active” consumers and “interested” targets. It is also an active means to seek feedback and study competition ills and plusses. On a higher level, crowd sourcing can be a very dynamic design approach to new products, technologies, delivery mechanisms and services. Check Wikipedia for an example! Never before have consumers had access to so many opinions at all stages of the buying and decision making process than today and the actions that companies take both in the marketplace and on social networks will prove to be an incredibly important factor in purchases for the foreseeable future.

Facebook:300 million and counting; cash flow positive

Posted in Social context, media and advertising by Manas Ganguly on September 16, 2009

As of 15th September 2009, Facebook announced it has reached 300 million monthly active users around the world. The company has added 50 million users in just the 75 days, which counts upto 670,000 users per day. In 15th July, Facebook announced that it had reached 250 million.

Facebook 300

Facebook’s global audience has doubled since the beginning of the year, adding 150 million new users since January. Notably, over 71% of Facebook’s userbase resides outside the United States – as of today, the company reports 85 million active American users. Interestingly the userbase of Facebook (300 million) is roughly the size of the America.

Perhaps even more impressive is that the company also says it is now “free cash flow positive.” From the company blog post on the news, from founder Mark Zuckerberg:

We’re also succeeding at building Facebook in a sustainable way. Earlier this year, we said we expected to be cash flow positive sometime in 2010, and I’m pleased to share that we achieved this milestone last quarter. This is important to us because it sets Facebook up to be a strong independent service for the long term

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had indicated that the company was expecting to see “70% growth in revenue year over year” in 2009 and that Facebook will be “cash flow positive in 2010.″ For all its detractors and critics, Facebook turned cash positive in Q2,2009. Facebook board member Marc Andreessen also recently said Facebook would do $500 million in revenues in 2009, up from an estimated $280-$300 million in 2008.

What’s driving Facebook’s revenue growth?

1. A combination of revenue streams

2. Facebook’s self-service ad business has been very strong lately

3. it continues to invest heavily in brand advertising efforts

4.and it also continues to release many experimental expansions to its virtual goods and virtual currency business, Facebook Credits.

5.The company is also still deriving revenue from its advertising deal with Microsoft, signed when Microsoft invested in Facebook in 2007.


Profiling Facebook: The Google of social networking.;;

How will facebook become the most influential company on internet?

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