So it appears that the Indian government extended its online advertising pilot by three months, effectively ending later this month (on January 20th 2013); the extension was granted in September last year. Old news, yes, but what is interesting is that what was a “pilot” project has now been extended well beyond over a year: we had written about last January, and even then the pilot was supposed to be for three months, and into its second month. This probably means that 36 websites have received government advertising, instead of the 20 sites which were to be selected and empaneled. The rates too would have remained the same:

The 36 sites that benefit as a result of this empanelment:
Group A (more than 5 million Unique Users per month): in.mail.yahoo.com, in.news.yahoo.com, yahoo.co.in, cricket.yahoo.com, cricinfo.com, timesofindia.com, rediff.com
Group B (2 to 5 million Unique Users per month): naukri.com, in.movies.yahoo.com, timesjobs.com, moneycontrol.com, economictimes.com, ndtv.com, oneindia.com, monsterindia.com
Group C (above 0.25 million for language websites, above 0.5 million for English websites, but
below 2 million Unique Visitors per month): manoramaonline.com, ebay.in, ibnlive.com, dinamalar.com, galatta.com, raftaar.in, freshersworld.com, cricbuzz.com, maharashtratimes.com, indiatimes.com, navbharattimes.com, zapak.com, santabanta.com, money.rediff.com, bollywoodhungama.com, bhaskar.com, 99acres.com, jeevansathi.com

Note that the Unique Visitors limit was set by the government over a year ago. Given the growth in Internet usage in the last year, at least as per the numbers reported by comscore, some of these sites could have gone beyond the 5 million uniques mark.

Empanelment of SMS Services

In addition, we chanced upon a pilot for SMS services by the DAVP; this means we could expect more SMS Spam from the government, or the usage of SMS at a time of crisis. SMS Agencies empaneled with DAVP on a pilot basis were ACL Wireless, Holymark India, Webaroo Technology, Netcore Solutions, Jagran Prakashan. The SMS Pilot was extended by the DAVP till 31st December 2012.

Second Pilot

A note states on the DAVP states that a second SMS Empanelment pilot is about to begin, for which they sought applications by 4th of January 2013. The empanelment and advertisement rates will be valid for a period of one year. Some terms from the pilot:

– Direct Mobile Operator should have provided at least five years of service in India, while the Bulk SMS Agency should have been in existence in India for at least two years.
– The operator / agency so selected should have the capability to perform the entire scope of the assignment without outsourcing the same to any third party. The bidder should be the legal owner of the software/package for the solution provided to DAVP for monitoring.
– In addition, the DAVP was looking for agencies with at least 800 TPS (transactions per second) capability, and operators with more than 800 TPS, support for Indic languages(fully UNICODE compliant messaging), executed at least two work orders, a database (collected through own source) of at least 30 crore subscribers, the ability to create groups/communities and maintaining the data base of subscribers .

Bizarre Clause: The most bizarre statement in the empanelment document: “Operator / agency will undertake in writing that DAVP approved rates accepted by them are their lowest rates and exclusive to DAVP and cannot be offered to any other agency. DAVP reserves the right to review empanelment rates if this condition is violated.”

Why should the government interfere with the pricing of services being provided by a private company? If a private company is able to provide this pricing to other clients, how it is any business of the Government of India?

Also see:

– Top 100 print publications in terms of DAVP spends in 2010
– Language spends analysis of DAVP spends in 2010