Blog Post

TIL 58888 Launches AdRBT service and

— Indiatimes mobile arm, 58888, has unveiled an ad ringback tone service called Adringles. An internal communiqué CS managed to obtain suggests they are currently soliciting ads for Airtel’s AdRBT (NYSE: BT) platform. The website doesn’t give any indication of which operators the service is live on, but makes it clear that the service gives a pay-out in the form of discounts and vouchers and not cold hard-cash, as suggested in our exclusive on the same subject. 58888 expects FMCG, financial services and consumer durable brands to come on-board as advertisers. The service is expected to launch formally in January 2009 while the beta will launch in October. Indiatimes plans to take the service to South-East Asia by 2010. Others currently in the same space include OnMobile and Airtel.

— The second launch by 58888 is Mocolife, the service is finally live after being in a closed beta since March, 08. Mocolife is a mostly paid umbrella service under which 58888 aims to push content bundles featuring free SMS services, subscription alerts and ringtones. They are using a credit system with each credit costing an average Rs 0.25 per credit (Rs 500 for 2000 credits valid for 180 days) in the large package and Rs 0.30 per credit in the small package. (Rs 150 for 500 credits valid for 90 days). The free (read ad supported) SMS service (30 free SMS per month, max 5 per day), appears to be the low hanging fruit being offered to drive registrations, in the hope that some might convert and use the paid services like ringtone downloads. It seems hard to like the service, especially since almost any valuable content is behind a paid wall. Do note that most of this content is already available via Indiatimes WAP portal and via their on-deck deals with operators, this seems to be their attempt to go directly to the consumer. As an aside, I noted in the About Us section TIL claiming it has already launched its mobile application, iMobizo as well as it plans to launch a voice portal in the near future.