Wednesday, November 24, 2010

SITTI – Indonesian Answer to Google Adsense


I got a invitation to attend SITTI Open House. What is SITTI?  I believe SITTI got its name from Siti Nurbaya, a novel created by Marah Roesli. Ask Andy Sjarif (@andysjarif) why he picked that name! I believe he is related to this legend somehow ;) 

What interest me the most is that SITTI will share its finding how they compare to Google for the past 3 months since their inception.

Basically SITTI is a contextual advertising platform very similar to Google Adsense. I have heard this team working on this algorithm for the past year and met a few times with Max, the genie behind the algorithm. At that time, I mention that this kind of technology will be useless without proper services. Turns out that this team manages to build a challenging one like this! A service that challenge the mighty Google. If Google build its engine around 129 language, they concentrate only one, Indonesia. Focusing their energy only on one thing, building a network of content publisher that use their contextual advertising platform. So far, the giant of Indonesian media like Detik and Kompas has given them a chance to prove the technology, not to mention hundreds of bloggers.

In the past six months, their engine manage to index 600 millions Indonesian web site and in the past month, they are able to serve 3300 ads from 529 brands. A good start!

An interesting facts is that SITTI claims to have 88.5% impression over Google Adsense 11.5% during the test and click through rate 64.06% over 20.87%. It means that they their engine is more relevant and people click more to see advertising served by SITTI over Google Adsense. Nice number!

In some of the vertical market, Andy Sjarif admits that Google Adsense is better for travel and real estate industry compares to SITTI. In a discussion with Google, turns out that Google is really concentrating on servicing this vertical industry, since this industry have the most lucrative advertising budget on Adsense.

Is good technology and services enough? I believe is not a matter of which one is better, or which one should we pick over the other. The market will decide. And I believe Indonesia is big enough to have a very long tail market in which some platforms will coexist.

Is Google notice this? Exactly! Is Google able to build such an engine? Certainly! But, the most important is not only the technology, it is the network of publishers and advertisers that gives the real value. SITTI real challenge is to build this as fast as possible. They need to get big fast before Google step its giant foot.

Now, comes down to the monetizing. Who will use this services? By seeing the invitation list, I see numbers of advertising agency, media agency and brand to attend this open house. Meaning that SITTI trying to engage the big advertising spender to use their services. The one that bring the assurance and weight for the brand owner is not necessarily the numbers. Having Ibu Artine Utomo, former CEO and Marketing Director of TPI as SITTI Commisioner, certainly brings credibility to this team. 

Back to Google, I see that Adsense and Adwords truly excel on SME market instead of aiming only the big advertisers. In my opinion, concentrating too much on the web and take on Google is one thing, but if SITTI wants to monetize the SME market, it needs simpler way in which people can put contextual advertising through mobile connectivity and mobile payment.

Anyway, I wholeheartedly congratulate this brave team to challenge the big guy! Way to go Andy, Rene and the rest of the team!

Antonny Liem (@antonnyliem) of Semutapi, me, Andi Sadha (@andigudip) of Activate and Gunawan (@gunawanX) of MediaX. Thanks to Rene the Career Coach (@ReneCC)!

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