AirG, a Vancouver-based mobile social network provider, says it has hit the milestone of 10 million unique users, growing from 7 million users just a few months ago. Unlike social networks like MySpace and Facebook that have mobile services, AirG has no PC-based network, and works exclusively through a mobile phone interface.
This approach has allowed the company to fine tune and build niche social networks around users who don’t spend a lot of time in front of the computer. A popular community is a Spanish-language community called Conexion Latina, which has one million users in North America.
AirG’s service enables chat through text and IM, and the creation and search of photo profiles through mobile Internet access. There are a lot of startups that are pushing mobile social networks, but AirG, which was co-founded by Frederick Ghahramani, Vincent Yen and Bryce Pasechnik in 2000, has been pragmatic and has relied on simple technologies like text messaging. This simple approach (which also increases the lucrative text messaging business) has helped the company get carriers to back its service, and services are commonly branded by each carrier. It has signed up 85 operators including Verizon, Cingular, China Mobile, Vodafone, and Airtel.
Frederick Ghahramani, co-founder of the company, over the course of a lunch earlier this week said AirG had grown to enough users for population-targeted surveys. The company test-ran a survey and polled 30,000 users in 90 minutes. Ghahtamani said it brought in ten times the click through rate of online ads. (Could this be the new model of advertising online?)
Beyond polling the company is looking more into mobile marketing, both targeted ads to its users and enabling brands to create communities for marketing tools. I was thinking that the company might be expanding its business to target media brands and ad-companies because its sick of paying a high revenue cut to the carriers. Though, Ghahramani won’t discuss the financials of the company, he assures us they’re doing well. The company is privately funded.