The mobile answer service ChaCha is competing with Google SMS one year after being launched. With 3.5 million unique mobile customers in 2008, ChaCha ranks No. 7 in total text message traffic among all U.S. SMS services.
The Nielsen Company’s Q4 2008 Mobile Messaging Report found that ChaCha achieved 70 percent of Google’s SMS search volume for the period. ChaCha also has seen success with advertisers. Last year, Palm, McDonald’s, the Obama Campaign and H&R Block jumped on board with SMS mobile ad campaigns.
ChaCha users relay their questions to live operators via a call or text message. The operator then finds the answer and sends it back free of charge. The service allows users without Web access to retrieve information on the go.
Similar services such as Texperts have seen some broad success in the U.K., but the human element of the service presents some problems, according to David MacQueen, an analyst with Strategy Analytics. “These services rely on humans to give smart answers. There have been incidents in the U.K. where individuals have given cheeky or mildly-offensive answers.”
Twitter and Facebook also ranked in the top 10 SMS services.