L90 Strikes SMS Ad Deal

Ad network and technology firm L90 said a new partnership with wireless infrastructure firm Zondigo will enhance its ad serving to deliver SMS messages to wireless phones.

L90 president and chief executive John Bohan said the partnership “will offer marketers cutting-edge solutions that can connect them with customers … by sending relevant messages in a timely fashion, L90 clients have yet another platform to help them build and maintain trusted relationships with customers.”

But the deal with Zondigo gives L90 an additional feature to offer publishers besides SMS messaging, already used by cross-media marketing firms and networks. When phone users receive an SMS message from an L90 site, they can press a button to be connected to Zondigo’s servers, where they can request more information or begin a purchase, using voice commands.

For example, a sports Web site can send out scores to registered SMS users. A recipient could then press a button to be connected to Zondigo, which then could provide more in-depth game information or m-commerce opportunities (like ticket sales).

The firms, both based out of Los Angeles, also said they would look into integrating additional technologies into L90’s adMonitor ad serving software: Zondigo’s technology also incorporates technologies including WAP ads, transaction-enabled wireless ads, voice recognition, and text-to-speech.

“The world is becoming more and more connected through wireless devices that transact at any time and from any place,” Bohan said. “adMonitor’s flexibility and scalability enables us to strategically integrate marketing technologies that make sense, such as Zondigo’s wireless platform.”

The announcement comes as the online ad industry is gearing up for at least one more quarter of revenue worries and, possibly, consolidation. Market leaders Yahoo and DoubleClick both gave guidance that the online advertising industry likely won’t see a pickup until mid-2001. Until then, beefing up technology sales and branching into emerging media might make sense for some companies who have relied on the hard-hit media segment of the online ad business.

L90, for one, has been touting its ProfiTools marketing software package — which now includes products based on Zondigo’s technology — while having first made a name for itself by running and repping an Web ad network that now serves around 4 billion impressions monthly.

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