The NEXT Frontier

Click Asia summit

Advertising on the Internet is moving from target consumers to social networks.

The most hyped person at the Click Asia Summit (CAS) 2011, held late last week, was undoubtedly Indian export Gurbaksh Chahal. The hitherto unknown 28-year-old is an American Internet entrepreneur and author whose claim to fame includes setting up two advertising companies worth $340 million by the time he was 25.

Chahal sold both his companies and became one of the youngest millionaires, even appearing on Oprah Winfrey's show in 2008. He founded his third and latest company RadiumOne, previously titled gWallet, which develops breakthrough technology that uses social graph data to dramatically improve online marketing. He is also a bachelor, a fact many ladies were discussing at the CAS conference.

The summit created a forum for some of the top web marketing professionals to congregate and create a marketplace for ideas and services that will help Asian companies in general and Indians in particular get the marketing edge.

Speaking in accented English as one of the speakers at the event, Chahal held a session on the future of digital advertising and put forward a few radical ideas. He said he believes in the Incredible India story. "The number of users in the country currently stands at 81 million. India ranks fourth behind Japan (88.1 million users), China (210 million users) and USA (220 million users)," the entrepreneur said.

According to Chahal, the advertising model used in online marketing will increasingly stray into the social network arena rather than target people on behavioral patterns. The current trend of collecting information about user's online habits and targeting advertisements based on their choices will go out of vogue in the next five or six years. The new arena is social network with Facebook leading the way, Chahal declared. The online ad market will cross $219 million by the end of 2011, he added.

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