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InPhonic Introduces Sites To Cell Phone Business

A good marketing ploy for InPhonic.com may be an even better deal for Web sites looking to make a quick buck.

InPhonic.com has worked out deals with TalkCity.com and other partners making them resellers of cellular phones using their remnant ad space. So for example, TalkCity.com is placing banner ads with cellular phone offers in spots on its site that would have gone unsold.

If consumers click on the banners, they are taken to a microsite that offers the same look and feel as the TalkCity.com site. The microsite offers cellular phones valued at $230 to $300 for $49 to $69 with accessories such as a free case and charger. Sites earn up to 10 to 15 percent of the gross upfront revenue, as well as some back-end recurring revenue.

“A lot of companies’ content has been growing faster than they expected, and they don’t have the revenue to support it,” said David Steinberg, CEO of InPhonic.com, Washington. “We turn page views into profits.”

InPhonic is 300 percent ahead of projections and has contracted nearly 7 billion banner ad impressions for the next 24 months.

The company has put together key ingredients for success in the cell phone business, partnering with carriers such as AT&T Wireless and Southwestern Bell and providing phones from such leading manufacturers as Nokia, Motorola and Ericsson.

“We just play the middleman,” said Steinberg.

The deal offers more than revenue, providing a significant branding opportunity for companies that partner with InPhonic. Each phone sold through a vendor site is branded with the partner site’s logo. This is key, as “the average person looks at their phone 12 to 14 times a day,” said Steinberg.

“We allow all our partner companies to brand everything themselves and get their businesses into one of the fastest-growing segments of the economy today, which is the wireless space,” he said.

Within the next 90 days, InPhonic also will offer sites the chance to sell long-distance and paging services, home security systems and a number of other wireless devices in addition to cellular phones.

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