But this is 2006 and both technology and the consumer have reached a level of maturity that allows different business models to take shape. Zoove Corporation is looking to make it easier to link product information directly with the mobile consumer through "pull marketing." Zoove enables consumers to "dial-up" information directly to their mobile device when prompted for a "call to action." For example, a potential customer is walking past a retail electronics store and sees an ad for the latest iPod. The "call to action" to find more information about the iPod is a number to dial preceded by star-star (**) on the phone's keypad. The number to dial could be: **iPod or **4763. After dialing the number, the customer will receive product information. However, Zoove uses the SS7 protocol that provides information to the marketer about the type of cell phone in use, the carrier, and the location of the customer, in much the same way a 911 call can identify those same characteristics. Thus, the ** dialing sequence enables some key demographic characteristics to be transmitted to the marketer.
So, just as in the early years when marketers found it necessary to include their URL with print, TV or other media advertising, the same may be coming to pass for Zoove-type numbers. Tim Jemison, CEO of Zoove, outlines three primary elements taking place behind the scenes of intelligent networking afforded by the SS7 protocol.
- The ability to do handset discovery: when a cell phone user dials the code, the marketer can determine what kind of phone he is using so that the capabilities of the phone are understood and the appropriate text or graphic form can be transmitted back to it.
- Display text: the ability to send a text message that barges into the screen to get information to the user.
- Location-based services are enabled out of the
box: Wireless Access Protocol (WAP) and Short Messaging Service (SMS)
short codes can not be used to determine location. However, upon
invoking the star-star message, and because the number sequence looks
like a regular cellular phone call, all of the information associated
with that call is transmitted to the marketer or carrier. The physical
location is never revealed and the consumer receives only information
relevant to him.
The company'srevenue model can be described as "cost per click" or "cost per call" and they will participate in revenue sharing partnerships. Buying the star-star keyword, however, looks like a battle similar to that of Internet URLs.