Nokia Readies Ad Model for Mobile Content Sharing Site

Nokia’s nascent mobile content sharing platform, Mosh, already has users in 100 countries and is on the cusp of rolling out a variety of ad offerings, according to execs.

Still in Beta, Mosh is a new mobile social networking site where users can upload and share content consumable on mobile phones. Through both Web-based and mobile handset-based interfaces, users can post professional and user-created content for themselves, a group, or the whole network to share.

“This idea wasn’t possible without advertising,” according to George Linardos, director of business development and marketing at Forum Nokia, the company’s mobile applications division. Last week Nokia began delivering a rectangle-shaped ad on the Web site. It currently serves a house ad, but that will change within a few days as the platform opens up to advertisers.

On the mobile side, Nokia plans to serve contextually relevant banners to its users. Linardos offered the example of a self-organized group of users that posts photos of prepared foods, produce, and other delicacies, creating an opportunity for food-related marketing. “When you get into contextual advertising, these channels become the holy grail. They are so targeted to foodies or another specific niche,” he said.

Nokia also plans to invite users to program their own ad experience by identifying preferences and personal details.

“Since this is targeted at users who are technically savvy, we realized we had to be completely transparent,” said Linardos. “It’s better to say, ‘Hey look, we have to pay for this, give us your targeting data and we’ll give you the most relevant ads.'”

Nokia is selling the ads in-house to start, but will consider working with ad networks or other partners as time goes by. Linardos said the key will be to cast a wide enough net for ad representation to fill global inventory. The company recently acquired one potential partner with a global footprint, mobile marketing firm Enpocket.

While Nokia has a worldwide installed-base of handsets, the Mosh service is handset agnostic.

“We’ve been clear that the growth of the company is to move into services, not just grow handsets, but create services behind them,” said Lindardos. “It came down to understanding that when you move into services, you have to be authentic. You can’t have your agenda come into play.”

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