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Nimbuzz Opens Messenger API & Launches Chat Buddy Developer Program; Monetization?

Mobile instant messaging and VoIP company Nimbuzz has opened up its Messenger API and launched a new initiative called Chat Buddy Developer Program.

Through this initiative, the company intends to enable brands, publishers and independent developers to build chat bots to offer updates across various categories like cricket, astrology, shopping, games, and news and allow users to find information across various verticals like ticketing, movie reviews, classifieds and so on. Nimbuzz claims that developers can get access to 90 million Nimbuzz users across 220+ countries who spend an average 55 minutes every day, through this program.

Incentives: Apart from the platform, Nimbuzz says that it will provide support to developers through the entire development process, share performance statistics of each chat buddy, provide support to improve the performance of the developer’s chat buddy and help maximize the return on investment. These chat buddies will be available for download from the company’s app store, NWorld.

Monetization: Interestingly, Nimbuzz also said that developers will be able to monetize their chat buddies through a premium Chat Buddy program which will allow users to buy chat buddies, but didn’t reveal any specific details on how the company plans to go about it. A TimesOfIndia report indicates that the platform will remain free and the company plans to introduce its own gateway and payment service through which developers will be able to offer in-app purchases in a revenue sharing arrangement with Nimbuzz.

    

Launch Partners: Nimbuzz has partnered with various brands and publishers to develop third party chat bots for the platform and at launch, the program already has 10 chat bots. Among the chat bots currently available include IBNLive (News Updates), Cricbuzz (Cricket Updates), Vantagetrade (Stock Updates), Future Dekho (Astrology and Numerology Updates), Car Dekho (Find prices and reviews of new and used cars), Price Dekho (compare prices of mobile phones, cameras, cars, bikes and so on), Wikipedia, YouTube, IMDB and Twitter. Nimbuzz also added that it intends to add 25 additional chat buddies from their preferred partners over the next month.

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Anupam adds: In the wake of the SMS spam regulations, this might turn out to be an interesting way for publishers to reach out to users and monetize the platform at a later stage. But then unlike SMS, the service can’t be used without mobile data connectivity. Also, in addition to being restricted to Nimbuzz users, we wonder how many would actually pay for information, since it’s already available on the internet, and smartphone users even get push-notifications. At the moment, just like its messenger client, Nimbuzz is monetizing the service through ads.

Other Developments at  Nimbuzz: Last month, Nimbuzz had started offering location based advertising on mobile phones in India through its app. The company had claimed that it serves advertisements to users based on their surroundings, lifestyle and personal data collected while registering for a Nimbuzz profile, although it had clarified that location sharing is entirely an opt-in process for the users.

In November 2011, the company had ventured into e-commerce by launching Ncarry.com which retails mobile handsets. In conversation with Medianama, Keshav Bajaj, VP-Business Development at Nimbuzz had informed that the move is inline with the company’s efforts to develop a recommendation engine, which would encourage users to upgrade their existing handset after a specific time period as well as help the company in monetizing its operations.

Nimbuzz’ IM application is currently available across all major mobile platforms such as Android, iOS, Symbian, BlackBerry, J2ME, as well as on the Web and Windows and Mac desktop computers. The company claims to have partnerships with almost all the local and international OEMs and its IM apps comes pre-installed in more than 210 different handsets in India.

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