Simplifying Text Messaging

Media Morph: Zoove

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SAN FRANCISCO ( -- Every week Ad Age Digital's Media Morph looks at how emerging technology is changing the way consumers get their information and media companies and advertisers present their messages. This week: Zoove.

What It Is: A mobile-marketing technology that simplifies text messaging. By punching a cellphone's star button twice, then typing in a word and then pressing "send," consumers on any cellphone and with any carrier can get instant access to a mobile web page, streaming video clips or products for purchase.
Consumers use Zoove the same way they make phone calls.
Consumers use Zoove the same way they make phone calls.

Why It Matters: While text-message marketing seems easy, it's actually a process few consumers are familiar with -- and it's cumbersome to text a short code, wait for a text response that includes a link and then have to click that link to receive content. By contrast, consumers use Zoove the same way they make phone calls, a process to which they are accustomed. It's opt-in. No fumbling with text messages. And it's free to consumers.

Marketing Tactics: Just as dot-com addresses have sprung up on all marketing materials from shopping bags to billboards to TV ads, marketers could add a line to all their materials that tells consumers to dial **Coke or **Nike.

The Cost: Zoove is developing a system similar to Google's pay-per-click model, where marketers are charged every time a consumer responds. Rates run from 5 cents to 10 cents per response. The cost of buying letter codes will be similar to domain registrations on the web. Those prices haven't been set yet but will be lower than the $1,000 per month typically charged for common short codes used in text-messaging programs.

Who's using it: China Mobile, in a program sponsored by the Beijing government, is developing a program using **2008 for the Olympics. Another Zoove application in China is a stock-quote program where consumers can dial the star key twice along with a six-digit stock symbol and receive a quote back. Zoove has signed with one carrier, reported to be Sprint, and is expected to launch in the U.S. in January.
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