Twitter has acquired ZipDial, a company that provides a marketing platform using missed calls. The deal has now been closed, with Twitter buying ZipDial for an undisclosed sum.
Last week, TechCrunch broke the news that Twitter was in its final talks with ZipDial, aiming to acquire the startup for somewhere between $30 and $40 million. (Neither Twitter nor ZipDial have confirmed the actual sum). Now the acquisition has been confirmed, with TechCrunch reporting most of ZipDial’s employees will be joining Twitter.
Based in India, ZipDial allows users to call a business’ phone number and then hang up right away before they’re charged for the call time. The business can then send them a text or call them back to provide information about what the business does – a huge boon in developing markets, where people can’t always afford data plans for accessing the Internet, or who aren’t always near a Wi-Fi hotspot. On the business side, ZipDial makes it possible for companies to use texts, voice, mobile web, and mobile apps to reach their customers, essentially giving them multiple platforms to quickly interact with consumers.
“Today, people across India use ZipDial’s platform to access great content, including cricket scores, audio programming, Tweets from their favorite Bollywood stars – and much more – on their mobile phones. Leading figures, including actors, politicians and athletes, also use the platform to instantly reach millions of citizens on Twitter through text and voice messages,” wrote Christian Oestlien, vice-president of product at Twitter, in a blog post explaining the deal.
The company was founded in 2010, and it’s since picked up steam in India through signing on Fortune 500 companies as clients. It’s also partnered with Twitter a number of times before, with the two companies collaborating on social campaigns for Indian elections, @MTVIndia’s #RockTheVote “Dial the Hashtag” campaign, and during promotions for upcoming Bollywood movies.
So while this isn’t the first time Twitter has worked with ZipDial, by acquiring the company outright, Twitter is making more of a push into the Indian market. That much is clear, but what may be even more interesting is Twitter’s bid to monetize its casual users, or even people who look at tweets without logging in, TechCrunch’s Ingrid Lunden noted. After all, ZipDial users don’t need to log in to Twitter, or even have a Twitter account or data plan.
Right now, more than 500 brands, including Pepsi and Disney, are using ZipDial’s platform.