The Mobile Mafia


If you’re a hip Russian twenty-something and want to leave your one-room apartment and still continue your conversation, you’re more than likely socially connected with Mobile Instant Messaging (IM). Mobile IM has become an essential feature for many young adults in Russia and Megafon, the third largest mobile phone provider in Russia, plans to become the kingpin in the mobile market through this technology.

Megafon wants to capitalize on this emerging young adult market through their partnership with NeuStar’s Interconnect platform to create its own branded services. Megafon’s competitors offer mobile IM service, but Megafon will have the ability to be interconnected with their competitors.

Currently, mobile advertising isn’t available through Megafon’s IM platform, but there are a vast amount of opportunities that exist. Clearly, marketers will be attracted to the targeted audience which creates the possibility of click-to-call integration and mobile coupon buddy referrals. As more individuals obtain smartphones and the economy improves experts believe Russia will become more consumer focused culture where mobile advertising will have greater potential for marketers.

In the interim, like a wise Mafia organization, Megafon is offering IM for free…”for a period of time,” to get the customer hooked before it is “monetized by a monthly subscription fee.”

I guess the only good thing is they won’t cut off your fingers if you can’t pay, but you may lose a toe.


2 Responses to The Mobile Mafia

  1. dcsfinest77 says:

    Okay, so as a die-hard mafia movie fan, I really like this, Evan! Clever and very cool:) M-to-M tech is always a good bet, and becoming an increasingly formidable concept by the day. Do you think it works for any product or service though? For example, a product that there are no coupons for, or a more complicated service offering like financial, technology or complex concepts? And, also, do you think it works best for initial product to market penetration or for sustaining sales once your brand becomes more familliar? I just wonder what the ROI woild be if you relied on M-to-M and for what products it would work best for. Anyway, it makes me think–sure sign of a good blog:)

  2. I like your choice to hone in on one company and one point for this post – and I think the point you’re making is that mobile advertising doesn’t offer much promise today for marketers, but is a place to watch in the future. I must admit, I didn’t really “get” the mafia connection or the video as part of this post. The choice to monetize “later” by Megafon seems pretty in line with hundreds of other businesses out there playing in a similar space. I liked where you started the post, with pointing out the mobile IM is vital to the youth market in Russia. What does this mean for the potential for advertising there? From some of the reading assignments this week, there were a number of examples of mobile marketing in Russia highlighted. Do you think those could work over mobile IM – or through Megafon? Where do you think a brand should focus, if not with working through Megafon – perhaps the number one or two carriers are more receptive (no pun intended) to mobile advertising? (2)

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