This must be the longest advertising pilot project in history. The Indian government’s official in-house advertisement-placement-agency, the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity (DAVP), has extended its advertising pilot project to 20th January 2014. Assuming that the project began when it was supposed to (on November 21st 2010), this means that the three month pilot project, meant to end on February 20th 2011, will have run for 2 years and 2 months by the time it completes. Unless there is another extension, that is.

It’s surprising that the pilot project hasn’t graduated to a full scale online advertising campaign just yet: given that elections are around six months away, one would have expected the political party in power to use government resources to highlight their government’s “achievements”.

New Websites In The List

The DAVP website also has a fresh list of empaneled websites, and although we’re not sure of how old it is, it does appear to be new. The old list of websites (pdf) is no longer available, but there are some surprises:

– Yahoo has the second highest number of sites in the list, with 5 empaneled sites, but four of these are in Group A, with the highest rates.
– Times Internet has the highest number of sites, with 6 sites, of which only TimesofIndia.com is in Group A. Surprisingly, Indiatimes.com is in Group C
– Some names are in the “They’re still around?!?!” category: like asklaila.com, raftaar.com and webdunia.com.
– It’s good to see regional language new businesses like webdunia and oneindia in the list, although we’re not sure if this applies only to their English language sites.
– Naukri.com appears to be looking at advertising as a key revenue stream: It has three of its classifiedfs portals in the list, with Naukri.com in Group B, and matrimonial portal Jeevansathi.com and real estate portal 99Acres.com also there.
– Network18 only has two names in the list: moneycontrol.com is in Group B (surprisingly, not in Group A), and IBNLive makes it to group C.
– Interesting to see that the likes of santabanta.com, gallata.com, freshersworld.com, and even ebay.in have applied for their share of government advertising.

It’s unexpected to see many of these sites on the list – one would have expected the government to advertise with content publishers, rather than classifieds and commerce portals. That said, one publisher that has been empaneled told us that the criteria for advertising online is pageviews, over relevance, adding that the advertising rates on offer, to publishers under the ‘c’ category, are lesser than what Google AdSense pays.

The list of publishers:

davp-empanelment

The rate card, judging by the pdf on their website, remains the same.
DAVP Rates India

While it might seem unfair for rates to remain the same two years after the pilot began, it’s not unexpected, given the advertising industry in India:

Our previous coverage on the DAVP pilot is here.