AIRG, THE VANCOUVER-BASED COMPANY
THAT powers mobile communities across providers like
Verizon, Vodafone and Virgin Mobile, announced that it reached
the 20 million user mark.
According to new data from Juniper
Research, that means the company is connecting brands like
Pizza Hut, Dunkin' Donuts and Axe to about half of the entire
global user base for mobile chat and dating services-- as the
research firm is pegging the number of consumers who use those
services worldwide to hit just over 40 million this year.
Juniper is also forecasting global
revenues from the mobile chat and dating services market to
exceed $1 billion by 2010--and companies like AirG that
provide the technology, community platforms and ad-serving
capabilities make it easier for service carriers, content
providers and advertisers to increase their piece of the pie.
"It's such a fragmented marketplace,
because there are so many different data plan price points and
carrier business models--but we've been able to pull different
brands, markets and networks together effectively and bring it
to scale," said Frederick Ghahramani, AirG's founder.
Part of AirG's success with mobile
marketers stems from the fact that the company can provide
rich data on user demographics (age, location, gender and
phone type) as well as attitudes and opinions through
For example, through a series of short,
WAP-based surveys of more than 30,000 U.S. community members,
AirG found that nearly 60% of users either had to share a PC
or didn't even own one--highlighting the mobile Web as their
primary channel for access to online information and social
Some 75% of respondents preferred
chatting on the phone to watching TV, about a third of users
spent $80 or more per month on their mobile bill--and on
average, users spent nearly an hour per day in one of AirG's
hosted or carrier-branded communities.
According to Ghahramani, this is valuable
time that brands can use to connect with consumers--if they're
willing to look beyond prevailing mobile marketing research
and opinions that focus only on the always connected, affluent
"There is a tremendous opportunity to
reach a clearly defined market of mobile social network
users--we call them 'Generation G' in-house," said Ghahramani.
"And without being pejorative, it's the 18- to-30-year-olds
with service-type jobs--like the night security guard, or
Starbucks employee who are connected to their mobile
phone--not a white collar worker who checks their TD
Ameritrade account or uses eBay via their desktop."
Data from a recent AirG survey found that
54% of its U.S. mobile community members described themselves
as "urban"--with 43% who considered themselves middle class,
followed closely by 37% who said that they were working class.
AirG also boasts a fairly multicultural user base, as a third
of members are Caucasian, 30% are Latino and 21% are
"The market is in a frenzy over new
devices like the iPhone, but the reality today is that the
mass-market consumer is using $0-$100 handsets to access
mobile services," added Ghahramani. "Seeing past the hype
associated with niche audiences like the digerati and
technophile early adopters has been a crucial part of what has
enabled AirG to achieve its scale of 20 million customers."