In 2007, mobile search is going to get a whole lot faster and more targeted for millions of wireless customers. Virgin Mobile USA, the nation's leading wireless youth network, today announced that it is partnering with JumpTap, Inc. and tapping into the service provider's mobile-specific search engine to create a fast, easy-to-use mobile search environment for its more than 4 million customers.
Launching in February, this new search functionality will make it simple for Virgin Mobile customers to quickly "discover" the broadest amount of content they're looking for, both within Virgin Mobile's own suite of content (i.e., "on-portal"), as well as out on the mobile Web (off-portal). Virgin Mobile is one of the first carriers to announce both on- and off-portal search capabilities.
"Navigating through pages of WAP content, or trying to hit Web sites that aren't mobile-enabled to find that one thing you're looking for will soon be a thing of the past," said Dominick Tolli, VP, Mobile Data Services for Virgin Mobile USA. "By simply typing in the name of a favorite artist or topic into their wireless handsets, customers will immediately pull up results of all related content from both Virgin Mobile and sites across the Web. This is another major step in making the whole wireless experience more satisfying for our customers."
Virgin Mobile customers will draw from content currently available on Virgin XL, such as ringtones, wallpaper and games, and will also receive recommendations for content that other similar users have purchased. The company introduced Ringtone Search earlier this year and is now extending the search function across the entirety of both Virgin Mobile and all mobile websites.
Enhancing Mobile Advertising Capabilities
In addition to improving the user experience, the relationship with JumpTap will also allow Virgin Mobile to expand its mobile advertising capabilities. The JumpTap search function organizes and delivers relevant results to the customer on his or her handset, through both sponsored and organic links. Customers benefit from being able to view relevant information and offers in a familiar format as in a traditional Web context.
"Mobile subscribers expect more from mobile search. By integrating JumpTap's mobile search solution, Virgin Mobile will offer its customers a much faster and easier way to find both on- and off-portal content," said Dan Olschwang, JumpTap's president and chief executive officer. "JumpTap's powerful advertising infrastructure will also enable Virgin Mobile to offer ads that are highly targeted and relevant for its customers. We are delighted to be partnering with Virgin Mobile USA and delivering an exciting service to their ideal market segments."
Targeted advertising via search is the next step forward in Virgin Mobile's innovative approach to mobile advertising which first debuted earlier this year with the launch of SugarMama. "The SugarMama incentive program was the first of its kind to offer customers free airtime in exchange for their viewing of ads online, once they opted-in," added Virgin Mobile CMO Howard Handler. "Both programs represent Virgin Mobile's customer-centric view of advertising; in search, customers will be served sponsored links that are contextual and relevant once they've entered in a topic."
The new search platform will be available on all Virgin Mobile 3G-enabled phones such as Slice, Flasher V7, Switch_Back and more at no additional cost over the existing fees related to WAP deck access and Web browsing.