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Mobile ads without the intrusion

Intrusive cellphone marketing will become a thing of the past, according to Egypt's largest mobile ad agency, which is pioneering new, consumer-friendly adverts.

Intrusive cellphone marketing will become a thing of the past, according to Egypt's largest mobile ad agency, which is pioneering new, consumer-friendly adverts. The mobile phone has become a booming ad platform in Egypt, with the country's largest digital ad business now earning 40 per cent of revenues from mobiles. Sarmady, an internet company acquired by Vodafone Egypt in 2008, now works with the operator to deliver targeted advertising to mobile users through web browsers and text messages.

Unsolicited text message ads bring complaints from mobile users across the region, a concern Sarmady says could harm a high-potential industry. "There are a lot of people around the region sending text message ads, but it is going to destroy the whole business if people keep getting spams all the time," said Con O'Donnell, the founder of Sarmady. "The whole industry needs to get a lot more serious and professional in the way it targets and respects its customers."

The industry has become a mainstream business. AdMob, the industry leader, was acquired by Google last year for US$750 million (Dh2.75 billion). Sarmady and Vodafone have committed to sending a maximum of five text advertisements a month to mobile users, and include a prompt to opt out with every message. @Email:tgara@thenational.ae

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