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N-Gage by NLP Captcha offers tremendous engagement value for the advertiser: Amit Mittal
Captchas is a part of the submission procedure for any online form. For years, Product Managers and Technical Experts have tried using captchas to prevent spam and bots attacking their system. However, the usability of captcha had always been an issue. From being unreadable to irritating, by asking you stupid maths question, captchas have always been a turn off for genuine users. Recently, India have seen a couple of companies who redefined the usage of captcha in a way that also becomes a revenue earning points for web businesses. In a personal conversation, I tried catching up with the Founder of NLP Captcha - Amit Mittal. Amit talks about his company, product innovation, his recently launched N-Gage and his plans of expansion. Exerpts of the interview below:

CJ: Why the name NLP?

Amit Mittal: NLP stands for Natural Language Processing. It is a branch of Artificial Intelligence that deals with human-computer interaction. The elements of human language are formalized so that a computer can perform value-added tasks. We have reverse engineered NLP to design our core Captcha rendering and Validation engine and have also filed a patent for the same.

CJ: Captcha are an old mechanism to prevent bot. But nobody actually thought of developing revenues around them. How did the idea strike you?

Amit Mittal: Being in the digital industry we always keep on looking for new inventory opportunities which catch user attention, provides higher click through rate and gives high value to the advertiser. This was a constant activity while I was working with I Media Corp Limited – the digital arm of Dainik Bhaskar group and in the process figured out that Captcha, which is being used just as a security tool can actually turn out to be one of the most premium inventory space owing to the guaranteed attention it gets from the user. We researched and found out that there is one company in US who had very recently started this which gave us more confidence in the concept and and hence started NLPCaptcha.

CJ: How you are financially placed? Are you up for funding?

Amit Mittal: We are self-funded as of now but now looking to raise funds so that we can quickly expand to the next level.

CJ: In an industry that is driven by low-entry barrier (thereby high competition) and lack of investor belief on advertisement based revenue – what gave you the conviction to start venturing with NLP Captcha?

Amit Mittal: We believe that what matters the most in the digital world is the quality of inventory. If you have something which guarantees attention, provides exceptionally high recall and an engagement value to the advertiser than the advertisers are not shy of opening their pockets to it. The volume of regular banner inventory available is huge and that is the reason the digital adv. rates are low and the competition very high. But Captcha inventory is a limited inventory with some unique USPs and that is the reason advertisers are showing keen interest in the platform and paying a premium for the same USPs:

100% guaranteed attention; exceptionally high recall as the person not only sees the ad but actually types in the brand message. A study by Wharton claims that if we compare Captcha advertisement with normal banners, the brand recall increases by 111% and the message recall increases by 1200%.

100% transparent revenue model – Cost Per Recall (CPR) on the basis of per Captcha filled in - the advertiser pays only when he is sure that his ad has been seen by the end user.

CJ: NLP has recently launched N-Gage. Tell us more about it. How did the idea come by?

Amit Mittal: The N-Gage line of Captchas follows a completely different format for spam verification. Rather than a traditional type-in captcha, wherein a user has to first interpret the tricky, distorted alphabets and then type them in for verification; N-Gage plays on the principle of action. The user will see an interactive graphic/ video in the captcha which asks the user to perform a specific action e.g. he will have to simply click on something or drag the cursor. This action will complete the verification process and the user in the process gets a chance to experience new product launches/ messages, which the advertiser wants to communicate.

This new format offers multiple advantages. For the end user, it is simple and hassle free, there is no need for him to stress out while trying to interpret the distorted captcha figures. Filling a captcha rather becomes a fun experience.

Secondly, it not only provides a better and more enhanced security tool for the publisher to restrict spamming but also leads to an increased stream of revenues.

Thirdly, it offers tremendous engagement value for the advertiser. N-Gage Captchas are designed in a way that the end user is actually engaged in completing the brand message that the advertiser wants to convey. None of the existing digital advertisement mediums offer such high user engagement.

CJ: What are your revenue targets for the current financial year?

Amit Mittal: Very tricky question. Would love to close the current year on a 8 digit monthly figure.

CJ: How do you plan to scale up in future – both the product and revenues?

Amit Mittal: We see ourselves as a Digital Engagement Solutions company and NLPCaptcha is the first product from our stable. We are working on a some more formats of Captchas with in NLPCaptcha and at the same time also on a couple of more products with in the same eco-system, which will create a win-win situation for all the parties involved – the publisher, advertiser and the end user. These products are not live yet  but you will hear about them very soon.

We also intend to expand geographically to other parts of the world and are in final stages of launching NLPCaptcha in a couple of more countries.

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