Miva's Mobile Directory Ads Signal Push for Targeting Services

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Performance marketing network Miva Inc. has introduced a pay-per-text concept in Britain that attaches ads to mobile directory assistance text messages.

The offering from the Britain- and U.S.-based firm follows the launch of a Miva customized toolbar, a partnership with iCopyright benefiting content publishers and fresh research indicating a rise in British pay-per-call bid prices. These efforts are part of Miva's plan to offer products and services geared toward providing targeted leads for its customers and partners.

"We believe it is time for publishers to take control of their online destiny, and it is our aim to provide them with relevant, innovative products that will allow them to generate revenue from their Web properties," said Chrysi Philalithes, vice president of global marketing and communications at Miva, New York.

Under Miva's pay-per-text service, a cell phone user who calls British directory service 118 118 receives an ad underneath the text response from 118 118. These ads target cell phone users by categories. An advertiser could buy ads in the airline category, for example, Ms. Philalithes said. Advertisers include a telephone number in their ad.

Pay-per-text may have market resonance. Market researcher Saville Rossiter Base polled 500 cell phone users, and 8.3 percent said they used the additional number listed in the ad. Also, 64 percent said that if they didn't use the ad's number immediately, they would do so at some point.

Miva also aims to help online publishers via its partnership with iCopyright. The iCopyright technology tracks who sends articles from a site via the send-to-friend functionality. Miva provides ads to iCopyright on the send-to-friend pages, and part of the revenue earned from those ads is given to the publisher of the content. ICopyright already serves media properties such as Associated Press, Reuters, UPI and Primedia.

Finally, Miva now offers clients a customized toolbar that lets content be displayed to the user without the user being logged onto the Web site. Companies can have their brands present beyond their sites, allowing for more interaction with the user.

On the research side, Miva claims that bid prices for its pay-per-call ads in Britain have reached $66 since the new channel was introduced in September. The current top bid within the Miva network is in the secured loans category.

With these changes and strategies at the firm come two upper management moves. Peter Corrao was promoted to CEO, and Seb Bishop was named president. Mr. Corrao was previously chief operating officer. Mr. Bishop retains his roles of chief marketing officer and director.

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