Twitter is in talks to acquire ZipDial, a startup based in India that turned a unique cultural phenomenon into a marketing business.
Missed mobile calls are a big deal in India, but not in the way we might be used to in the West. In India (as well as Bangladesh, the Philippines and Africa) calls are often “missed” on purpose, by the caller, and are a way of communicating a pre-agreed message for free.
Different strategies are in place: two missed calls in a row, for example, might be an agreed code for a person being late.
ZipDial figured out a way to turn this into revenue, offering a number of services based around the missed call, including information alerts, coupons, apps and more. Users dial a number, intentionally hang up, and the missed call triggers the service.
ZipDial says that more than 500 brands, including Disney and Pepsi, already use its platform.
Twitter wants a piece of that action, and with it the Indian market. The two companies have been working together for a while, and, according to TechCrunch, the deal is already done. The acquisition price is in the $30 to $40 million range, and could be announced officially within the next week.