The other night I saw an intriguing ad for KGB. No, not the Soviet Union Secret Police KGB, although the name did make me sit up and pay attention. I'm referring to the Knowledge Generation Bureau. The spots themselves are very well done. They have a great mysteriously serious, yet funny tone to them, though they don't spell out exactly what the company is or does. They just hint at it, and ask you to text a question.
So what is KGB? It's a two-way text messaging information service. Essentially, you can text any question you may have while on the go to this number and an 'agent' or 'guide' will answer it. The people on the other end are mainly college students and stay at home moms who are looking for some extra cash. When I first saw the KGB ads, I wondered if ChaCha renamed itself and launched a big new campaign. For those of you unfamiliar with ChaCha, it launched last January with exactly the same services. You didn't see ads for it though, or at least I never did. It was one of those sevices mostly spread by word of mouth and blogs. A little googling soon revealed, however, that these are not the same company at all, they're competitors.
So what's the difference? I can't speak to quality, as I have not used KGB yet, but with some more digging there is a price difference. ChaCha is free, up to a certain number of questions per month and KGB charges 50¢ per message, though that is not listed anywhere on their site, they text you back that info. KGB has been around under different names and launched a similar service in the UK in 2007 and other text messaging services in the US for the past couple years and just started their two-way texting information service in the US this month.
KGB clearly has some better marketing. They're great spots. ChaCha has been around longer but has no or few ads (as far as I know). ChaCha appears to be a start up with only this specific service in mind compared to KGB which is a global telecommunications company with multiple text information services. But ChaCha is a free service and KGB charges (and rather deceptively), so which one will do better? We'll have to wait and see. What do you think?