Hover-ing without intruding

By Liffy Thomas

Some dismiss it as the most intrusive form of advertising. However, there is no denying the fact that in-text advertising (ads that are targeted at the keywords on your web page) is fast growing to be one of the many ways to generate money online. Today, in India, the market for online advertisements is estimated to be around Rs. 500 crores.
Arun Prabhudesai and Bhasker V. Kode, founders of hover.in, a Pune-based start-up that provides web publishers and bloggers in-text customised content, are gearing up to launch their product in the public domain. Arun, who has worked for a number of IT companies before deciding to turn entrepreneur, answers queries on the company’s journey.

Q: How did you meet and when was the idea conceived?
A: Sometime in mid-2007, I was looking to pursue my entrepreneurial instincts in the US. It was then that I stumbled upon Bhasker’s project called ‘Returnable’, which dealt with in-text technology. Having worked in a start-up himself, Bhasker and I were quick to realise the potential of in-text for web publishers. For months, we spent time refining the concept – from both business and technology perspectives – and that’s how hover.in was born.

Q: Hover.in was born out of constant frustration that most bloggers and web publishers face regarding their content presentation and monetisation. Could you explain how hover bridges this gap?
A: As a professional blogger, one of my main problems has been monetising (making money) from my blog without compromising on user experience. Normally, a visitor does not like to see too many ads on a blog or a website. Most of the new visitors will turn away from the blog on seeing too many ads. Hover was born to address this pain point!
Hover.in is an in-text “customised content” and “customised ad” delivery platform for websites and blogs. It enables web publishers to link and monetise keywords or phrases within their existing content.
Till date, in-text technology has been primarily used only to display contextual ads – mostly automated, without any publisher control. However, with hover.in, publishers can create and customise the content appearing within the hover bubble (hoverlet). Hover.in goes even further, allowing the publisher to change the look and feel of the hoverlet as per the theme of the website or blog.
Example: A visitor might be reading an article on a blog/site (publisher) on cricket, say a match between India and Australia. The publisher here can choose keywords where hoverlet should appear like ‘cricket’ or ‘India-Australia’ or ‘cricket match.’ The publisher then chooses the content or ad that appears within the hoverlet. He can choose to show a
YouTube video of the match or show an affiliate ad to a cricket website or put any text/html/rich media that he wishes to.
This allows the publisher to decide what will be a value-addition to his visitors.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge for the start-up and how did you meet it?
A:Getting away from your existing comfort zones, into uncharterered territories is one of the toughest decisions to make.
And once you take that plunge, things get easier but the challenges don’t go away. Every start-up will face challenges long the way and must constantly improvise on its strengths, we are no different. Our complimentary skills, ability to think big, adapt to changing circumstances, and constant learning from the start-up eco-system have helped us wade through tough waters.

Q: Who are your clients and how do you plan to expand?
A: Every blogger or web publisher on the internet is a potential client for hover. In this age of social media, widgets and online marketing, we want to enable our users to give their visitors a rich and contextual user experience. Ours being a viral product, we are confident that word-of-mouth publicity will make us the biggest in-text content and ad delivery platform in India and globally.

Q: Have you received any funding?
A: We are currently testing our product with a few select beta users, and will be available in the public domain soon. Yes, we have received strategic angel investment; however we cannot divulge the details now.

Q: Who are your competitors?
A: We do not have competitors in India, and on the global front, although there are several pure play in-text advertising providers – we are the first players to provide the ability to customise the content that appears. The concept of a hoverlet is something else that we would love to share with our users.

Log on to http:/hover.in to learn more about the start-up.


3 Responses to “Hover-ing without intruding”

  1. PuneTech » Company Profile: hover.in on July 28th, 2008 3:57 pm

    […] Ergo has an interview of the founders of Pune-based web startup hover.in. Excerpt: Q: Hover.in was born out of constant frustration that […]

  2. Hover.in: Non-intrusive in-text advertising? - Indian Domain Names Forum on February 4th, 2009 11:22 am

    […] an account. I also came across an interview of the founders Arun Prabhudesai and Bhasker V. Kode here. What do you think of in-text advertising? Whenever I come across in-text ads, I tend to find them […]

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