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@ MoMoDelhi: Internetting The UnInternetted; Advertising On Mobile, Social Nets – Milind Pathak, Co-CEO & Country Head (India), Buongiorno

“On the mobile Internet, I think operators will go two ways.” said Milind Pathak, Co- CEO & Country Head (India) for Buongiorno, at Mobile Monday Delhi, held on 23rd August at the Amity Innovation Incubator. “Firstly – after a strong, premium content driven market, and secondly, for Internetting the un-Internetted; the way we talk about mobile banking as banking the unbanked. For many users, the first experience of the Internet will be through the portal of an operator, and then they will move off-portal, where lies the far bigger opportunity for many of us. This will happen in a year or two.”

A part of the audience, Sanjay Gupta of Mobisolv narrated the example of a sugarcane farmer consumer who uploaded his photo…just because he wanted to his photo on a site on his phone. “If you try to explain to a user what Rural Internet is – he will not know. They don’t understand it. But if you show him how to upload his photo…”

Pathak would not go into specifics, but said that whatever little experiments have been done in India with the Mobile Internet are very encouraging – the searches and pageviews are huge. However, the type of content and advertising for the mobile will have to be different – and “it would be wrong for an advertiser to think that the same type of ad would work in a newspaper and a WAP site. It will fall flat.”

There are users who view the web pages as an extension of the mobile, and not the other way around. On the mobile, they’re discovering content via search, via referrals – particularly on social networking sites, communities and groups. Pathak himself is live on at least 20 social networking site, but more out of a need to observe trends. Referring to vuclip.com , Pathak added that no one thought video search would be such a prominent success…people define the trend.

Asked about advertising on social networking sites, he said it has to be more about brand interactions than just putting up a banner – Buongiorno had created a community for Coca Cola in Spain, called Happing, which allowed users to share their happy moments; brands don’t necessarily need to be outside of established communities, but can create spaces within social networking sites. His experience has been that brands are now coming around to such initiatives in India.

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