New dawn for the mobile Internet

Marketers are starting to take advantage of the SMS text-messaging phenomenon

The mobile Internet – particularly SMS text messaging – is starting to take off after several false dawns with the debut of a number of initiatives this week.

Online loyalty specialist WebRewards is to broaden collecting opportunities by rewarding members who send free text messages from the site to any mobile phone across the world using Quios’ global mobile network.

WebRewards.co.uk notes that 20 per cent of the UK population sends an average of five text messages a day.

Quios has also become one of the partners signed up to a new European wireless advertising network, launched this week by online ad specialist Engage.

Mike Weston, who is heading Engage’s wireless media sales operation, comments: “There is huge potential for marketers to run marketing campaigns across the tangible, portable devices that are a central part of people’s everyday lives.”

One of the first advertisers on the Engage wireless network is Ericsson, which is running a campaign on WAP devices.

Leading UK student portal StudentUK and content specialist Onfone have teamed up to provide a free text messaging facility at www.studentUK.com.

Onfone chief executive Andrew Heron says: “Our target market of teen and student users has a voracious appetite for text messaging, a service which as well as being fun and informative, is also set to be an important and powerful direct marketing tool.”

Wireless marketing company Flytxt launches this week after signing up EMAP Performance’s Smash Hits as its first major client.The EMAP-Flytxt service will be available at six music events, including the Smash Hits Poll Winners’ Party in December. By replying to an SMS sent to mobiles at the concerts, teenagers will receive regular pop news updates as well as games, competitions and the chance to offer feedback.

Flytxt is a founding member of the Wireless Marketing Association, which aims to create best practice among mobile marketing companies to prevent “spam” messages overloading mobiles.

According to Engage, 560 million text messages were sent in the UK during August.

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