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September 08, 2008

Comments

Erica

With that many guides already and they are still in beta stages it hardly seems like ChaCha is having financial trouble. Just wanted to mention that I got a response from ChaCha the other day with a Coke advertisement at the bottom. Looks like they are going with your #2 option! If they go that route I don't see why they would have to charge premium rates, the fact that it's free attracts a lot of people.

Nick

Yes - Erica, that's very interesting. I'd love to know what the rates they get are though for those ads ... very personalized (in theory) to the question being asked but it's difficult to see how they can scale that up to cover their underlying costs. It's something that the players in the UK are looking at as well as the other options (in particular licencing tech).

Looking to the UK, AQA is rumoured to be profitable already on premium SMS so room for all options to have some play ... AQA is known to respond with more "humorous" responses than other services, even if they don't have the exact right answer which again appeals to a certain set.

The key again for me is how this will work in the world of the true smart phone ... my view is that these companies have (or had) a window to sell themselves into the big players (on basis of their technology and understanding of audience experience on mobile) but that this will close fast and so they have to think laterally. They are essentially pitched as "daily life support services" for people on the road that need to have the right answer quickly and don't have time to search on Google, particularly as on old phones the experience was terrible ... something that will change with the next generation of devices ...

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