ChaCha Finally Getting Serious About Advertising

Indiana-based SMS search startup ChaCha is growing rapidly, and is finally getting serious about monetizing its service and luring quality advertisers.

The way they’re going about it, however, is different than that of Google and Yahoo in that they’re taking a grassroots approach so to speak.  ChaCha claims to have a “much closer relationship with its users” than the big companies, and wants to use that fact to their advantage when it comes to finding advertisers.

For a while now, ChaCha has been hosting get-togethers for potential advertisers at the company founder’s home in Carmel, Indiana in hopes of developing a similar relationship, ones that will last.  This personal form of going after customers and advertisers is the key strategy for the company to maintain its high level of growth and loyalty.

“It’s a relationship we’ve developed, and you get to get in on it,” Scott Jones, founder of ChaCha told a group of potential advertisers last week. “You get to insert your brand message.”  ChaCha is going after anything from direct placement advertising, mobile loyalty programs, digital coupons and anything else potential advertisers would be interested in.

The company has been building a massive community of users and, as reported last month by Nielsen Co., has answered more than 150 million questions, mostly via cell phone, since its inception.  Though it ranks nowhere near Google and Yahoo when it comes to market share, ChaCha is growing faster than any other SMS-based “answering service.”

These stats, combined with the personal relationship the company claims to have with its users, are the key aspects in ChaCha’s plan to finally monetize its rapidly growing service.  It’s a respectable approach, but one that’s going to take a long time to cultivate.