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Mobile social network brings adwords to SMS

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Google's model of pimping out words used in searches comes to SMS messaging with a new service from Wadja, one that allows advertisers to sponsor specific words in text messages sent by members.

Billing itself as the most visited, dedicated mobile social network site in Europe, Wadja has built up a significant number of customers with the offer of free texting - a popular if unsustainable way of building up customer numbers. Now it's time to make some money on that membership, with 40-character adverts appended to every text message sent for free.

Advertisers are invited to buy specific words, in the same way that Google manages adwords, though there's no mention of a "related terms" feature that provides Google with such enviable control over revenue generation.

Free text messages have been used by dozens of services to attract customers, but even text-obsessed Twitter has had to pull SMS services from the UK and Canada as the cost becomes unsustainable. Putting adverts at the end of messages is nothing new, but making them context-sensitive could be attractive to advertisers and the social-networking services could certainly do with the income.

Most of the industry still seems blind to the fact that few social networking services have any kind of sustainable business model, companies are building products and services tied into social networks that themselves have no revenue model. Sticking 40 characters on the end of every text message might not pay all the bills, but it's a start. ®

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