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Sure as Sugar: Coca-Cola Setting Up Mobile Social Network

Ever looking for new ways to ruin the teeth and gums of youngsters, Cola-Cola Co. is out to rival MySpace and Facebook with a cell phone-only social network to operate under the Sprite umbrella. The network, which had its official launch in China, will go live in the U.S. on June 22. Members can post profiles, pictures, and appeals to meet new friends. The potential for networking, instant messaging, photo swapping, and content sharing should be immense. Security concerns should be immense as well, although Coca-Cola says that members will be strongly encouraged not to share their cell phone numbers and friends lists.

Unlike the two behemoths of the online social network world, the Sprite network has been designed especially for cell phones and their small screens and limited memory capabilities. A MySpace page littered with hi-res photos, for example, can take full minutes to load on a smartphone, even within spitting distance of a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Coca-Cola network, by contrast, will have more manageable yet appealing content and options, including free offerings and (of course) ads for Sprite and other Coca-Cola products.

Coke is in talks with Facebook about some sort of collaboration. Other deals will surely follow.

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