ChaCha struggled on the desktop but seems to really be taking off with its Mobile Answers service. Given that the common mobile search frequency is around nine (9) per month, I was struck by the statement in a press release that ChaCha was “seeing usage rates that exceed 40 queries per month. Our most active users are tapping ChaCha multiple times per day resulting in over 150 questions per month.”
That compares favorably with desktop search and seems to outstrip what I've heard and seen in most of the mobile ecosystem.
I spoke with the company's co-founder, Brad Bostic, today to get more insight into the numbers. Most of what he shared with me he didn't want to share publicly but the growth was impressive. (Also the categories of queries are broader than one might expect to find in a conventional DA service.)
One of the advantages of a voice-based (or SMS) system is that it can attract the market of non-smartphone users, which still represent more than 90% of mobile subscribers today in the US. However, smarthphones are growing much faster than feature phones in terms of sales.
The NY Times' David Pogue favorably covers ChaCha.