RealTime IT News

Bell Mobility Makes a Bolt for the Teen Market

[Toronto, CANADA] Teen-targeted portals might be brimming with talk of Brad Pitt and the latest in Tommy Hilfiger garb, but the companies who run such sites are struggling to stay alive. Beauty and fashion teen site Kibu closed its doors after less then two months. San Francisco-based Snowball, which owns teen-girl portal ChickClick, has whittled its 500-strong staff down to 250 employees. And dELiA Corp. buried its spin-off iTurf in late November, a move that is expected to generate a US $100,000 loss for the parent company.

Such struggles, however, haven't deterred Bolt Inc. and Bell Mobility from attempting to cash in on the teen market. Bolt, a New York-based online community for 15- to 20-year-olds and Bell Mobility, a Canadian wireless company, have teamed up to provide tech-savvy teens access to Bolt's suite of propriety tools on MobileBrowser, Bell Mobility's wireless Internet service.

Bell Mobility users with a MobileBrowser-ready PCS phone can use Bolt tools - including My Profile, Bolt Notes, Tagbooks and Polls - to search for new friends and discuss a variety of topics with Bolt's four million teen members from around the world directly on their mobile phones.

"Bolt's tools provide a highly sticky environment that compels our audience to spend more time on Bolt than on any other Web site for teens. By partnering with Canada's leading wireless company, Bolt is able to connect a large and established global audience ready to communicate with the thousands of teens who use Bell Mobility's services," said Dan Pelson, chairman and CEO of Bolt.

Bell Mobility is Bolt's first Canadian wireless service provider partner, expanding Bolt's alliances which already include U.S. wireless companies AT&T Wireless, Sprint PCS, Verizon Wireless and Arch Communications. More than 30 percent of Bolt's four million members come from outside the U.S., with Canadian teens accounting for more than 250,000 members. As part of the agreement, Bolt will be featured in sales collateral that will be distributed at retail points-of-sale and posted on Bell Mobility's Web site.