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You've Got . . . an Ad?

Advertising hits the wireless Web.

By Robert J. McGarvey

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Although many entrepreneurs are still waiting cautiously to jumpinto wireless advertising, some early birds have already taken theleap. Companies like PlanetHopper, founded by Rachel Barenbaum, 24, makethe move easy. Where you see a mobile phone, Barenbaum sees a forumfor hot digital deals. Customers of the New York City start-upfrequently receive SMS (short message service) alerts on theirmobile phones. These alerts consist of customer-tailoredoffers-such as discounts for merchandise of a favoritesport-that are usually valid for a limited time.

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

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