4INFO Expands SMS Ad Distribution

Four months after announcing a strategic partnership with mobile marketing platform provider Velti, mobile media company 4INFO is opening its AdHaven technology to publishers, mobile operators and SMS aggregators. The move could create potentially greater reach to SMS ad buyers while helping publishers that have struggled to monetize their outbound text messages.

AdHaven is a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) enabling SMS publishers or aggregators to connect with 4INFO’s ad server. Publishers that integrate with AdHaven can attach ads to their SMS content regardless of short code or aggregator, according to 4INFO. The company said AdHaven gives any publisher the ability to monetize traffic, and it extends 4INFO’s ad serving capabilities to the international market.

Additionally, publishers using AdHaven can pool their traffic with other 4INFO publishers, giving them greater reach and targeting possibilities, “resulting in greater appeal to advertisers and higher CPMs,” said a company statement. AdHaven also opens another revenue stream for carriers wanting to monetize SMS traffic being sent to other networks.

Although AdHaven is free, its use requires a revenue sharing agreement with 4INFO for ad placement on the publisher’s inventory.

“There are thousands of publications out there and we work with lot of them already,” said 4INFO VP Sales Eastern Region Patricia Clark. “Many have content they want to deliver on the handset and they want to deliver in the form of SMS alerts, pieces of news and updates.”

She said there is “a tremendous amount of content” being delivered as SMS messages, but doing so is a “cost center” for the publishers. “What we want to do with AdHaven is build on what we’ve done with 4INFO: Turn that cost center into a revenue generator. It’s a way for them to send something to consumers…and make money on it,” Clark said.

For advertisers, Clark predicted AdHaven will do for mobile SMS ads what DART and Atlas did for online advertising. “Certainly, one of the challenges with mobile is that it’s something like the early days of the Internet where the challenge is to get scale and the challenge is to get any kinds of standards,” she said. “Not only does this increase scale by bringing more publishers into the network but it also provides standardization that, up until this point, hasn’t really existed.”

4INFO said the first user of AdHaven is VeriSign’s Messaging and Mobile Media division.

In addition to ad serving, AdHaven enables ad campaign management, targeting, sales and a reporting, according to 4INFO, which noted AdHaven partners can “tap into” all 4INFO marketing solutions including Click-to-WAP, Click-to-Call and Click-to-Video. 4INFO said existing publishers on its network include NBC, USA TODAY and IAC, which have run ads for companies including JC Penney, Philips-Norelco, Toyota, Ford, GM, Amtrak, Coors, McDonalds and Marriott Hotels.

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