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You've Got . . . an Ad?

Advertising hits the wireless Web.

This story appears in the July 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Although many entrepreneurs are still waiting cautiously to jump into wireless advertising, some early birds have already taken the leap. Companies like PlanetHopper, founded by Rachel Barenbaum, 24, make the move easy. Where you see a mobile phone, Barenbaum sees a forum for hot digital deals. Customers of the New York City start-up frequently receive SMS (short message service) alerts on their mobile phones. These alerts consist of customer-tailored offers-such as discounts for merchandise of a favorite sport-that are usually valid for a limited time.

"We are about capacity control," says Barenbaum. "Consumers want to save money buying cool stuff, and sometimes merchants have excess capacity. We send out an alert to cell-phone owners who have opted in. It's win-win." SMS alerts work so well because although not all phones can surf the wireless Web, almost all new models sold in the United States are SMS-capable.

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