WO2009036470A1 - Systems and methods for mobile social networking - Google Patents

Systems and methods for mobile social networking Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2009036470A1
WO2009036470A1 PCT/US2008/076468 US2008076468W WO2009036470A1 WO 2009036470 A1 WO2009036470 A1 WO 2009036470A1 US 2008076468 W US2008076468 W US 2008076468W WO 2009036470 A1 WO2009036470 A1 WO 2009036470A1
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WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
user
mobile
user profile
computer
group
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PCT/US2008/076468
Other languages
French (fr)
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WO2009036470A9 (en
Inventor
Van De Jepson
John Cook Myung
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Morf Mobile, Inc.
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Publication date
Priority to US85601107A priority Critical
Priority to US11/856,011 priority
Application filed by Morf Mobile, Inc. filed Critical Morf Mobile, Inc.
Publication of WO2009036470A1 publication Critical patent/WO2009036470A1/en
Publication of WO2009036470A9 publication Critical patent/WO2009036470A9/en

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Classifications

    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/20Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving third party service providers
    • GPHYSICS
    • G06COMPUTING; CALCULATING; COUNTING
    • G06QDATA PROCESSING SYSTEMS OR METHODS, SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES; SYSTEMS OR METHODS SPECIALLY ADAPTED FOR ADMINISTRATIVE, COMMERCIAL, FINANCIAL, MANAGERIAL, SUPERVISORY OR FORECASTING PURPOSES, NOT OTHERWISE PROVIDED FOR
    • G06Q30/00Commerce, e.g. shopping or e-commerce
    • G06Q30/02Marketing, e.g. market research and analysis, surveying, promotions, advertising, buyer profiling, customer management or rewards; Price estimation or determination
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/04Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications adapted for terminals or networks with limited resources or for terminal portability, e.g. wireless application protocol [WAP]
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/28Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for the provision of proxy services, e.g. intermediate processing or storage in the network
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/28Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for the provision of proxy services, e.g. intermediate processing or storage in the network
    • H04L67/2823Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications for the provision of proxy services, e.g. intermediate processing or storage in the network for conversion or adaptation of application content or format
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04LTRANSMISSION OF DIGITAL INFORMATION, e.g. TELEGRAPHIC COMMUNICATION
    • H04L67/00Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications
    • H04L67/30Network-specific arrangements or communication protocols supporting networked applications involving profiles
    • H04L67/306User profiles
    • HELECTRICITY
    • H04ELECTRIC COMMUNICATION TECHNIQUE
    • H04WWIRELESS COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
    • H04W4/00Services specially adapted for wireless communication networks; Facilities therefor
    • H04W4/20Services signaling; Auxiliary data signalling, i.e. transmitting data via a non-traffic channel
    • H04W4/21Services signaling; Auxiliary data signalling, i.e. transmitting data via a non-traffic channel for social networking applications

Abstract

Systems and methods related to a mobile social network are described herein. Systems and methods for advertising in a mobile social network are also described herein.

Description

SYSTEMS AND METHODS FOR MOBILE SOCIAL NETWORKING

FIELD

[0001] This invention relates to the field of social networking and, in particular, to systems and methods for mobile social networking.

BACKGROUND

[0002] Social networks are relationships between different people who have a commonality. With the advent of the Internet, several Web -based social network websites have been developed. These web-based social networks have expanded the geographical region of social networks.

[0003] Some of these web-based social network websites have recently implemented a cellular telephone feature. The cellular telephone feature of these web-based social network websites allows users of the web-based social network to view their profiles via a mobile telephone.

SUMMARY

[0004] In one embodiment, the invention provides a computer-implemented method to enable the publishing of user content to a mobile device

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0005] The invention is described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:

[0006] Figure 1 is a block diagram illustrating a social network system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0007] Figure 2 is a block diagTam illustrating a platform for a social network system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0008] Figure 3 is a schematic drawing illustrating a content management system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0009] Figure 4 is a flow diagram illustrating a process for using a management console in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0010] Figures 5A-5N are screen shots of an exemplary management console in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0011] Figure 6 is a flow diagram illustrating a process for using a user portal in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0012] Figure 7 is a flow diagram illustrating a process for using a user portal and user mobile publishing in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0013] Figures 8A-8J are screen shots of an exemplary user portal in accordance with one embodiment of the invention; [0014] Figures 9A-9H are screen shots of an exemplary user profile in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0015] Figure 10 is a flow chart of a process for mobile social networking in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

10016] Figure 11 is a schematic diagram of mobile social networking in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0017] Figure 12 is a flow chart of a process for interacting with users of the mobile social network in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0018] Figure 13 is a flow chart of a process for interacting with users of the mobile social network in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0019] Figure 14 is a flow chart of a process for searching for users of the mobile social network in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0020] Figure 15 is a flow chart of a process for advertising in the mobile social network in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0021] Figures 16A-16B are screen shots of an exemplary advertisement rule creation process in accordance with one embodiment of the invention;

[0022] Figures 17A-17I are schematic diagrams of an advertisement on a mobile format of a user profile in accordance with one embodiment of the invention; and [0023] Figure 18 is a block diagram of a computer system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[00241 The following description sets forth numerous specific details such as examples of specific systems, components, methods, and so forth, in order to provide a good understanding of several embodiments of the present invention. It will be apparent to one skilled in the art, however, that at least some embodiments of the present invention may be practiced without these specific details. In other instances, well-known components or methods are not described in detail or are presented in simple block diagram format in order to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the present invention. Thus, the specific details set forth are merely exemplary. Particular implementations may vary from these exemplary details and still be contemplated to be within the spirit and scope of the present invention.

[0025] Embodiments of the invention relate to mobile social networking. The mobile social network includes a platform that allows users to create a user profile on the web, converts the user profile into a mobile format, and publishes the mobile format to a mobile device, such as, a cell phone or PDA. Embodiments of the invention also allow users to invite other users to join a group within the mobile social network, and, once a member of the group, invite the users to be linked to their personal profile. Embodiments of the invention also relate to advertising in a mobile social network. These and other features of the mobile social network will be described in further detail below. In one embodiment embodiments of the invention relate to a platform that enables users to publish other types of data to a mobile format.

[0026] Figure 1, of the accompanying drawings, shows a network system 100 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The network system 100 includes a server 102, a network 104, computers 108 and mobile devices 112. The server includes a processor 116 and a database 120. The processor 116 includes a platform 124 and an advertisement engine 128. In one embodiment, the platform 124 includes the advertisement engine 128. In one embodiment, certain features of the platform 124 and/or advertisement engine 128 may be included in the database 120.

10027) The server 102 is typically a computer system, and may be an HTTP server. For example, the server 102 may be a Linux server that runs a Tomcat web server. The server 102 typically includes at least processing logic and memory. Although the server 102 is illustrated as a single server, one of skill in the art understands that the server 102 aspect of the system may be split between multiple devices, with one or more of the functionalities hosted on one or more devices. The database 120 may be stored in memory or other storage media at the server 102, or remotely. The processor 116 runs one or more software programs associated with the piatfoπrt 124 and/or advertisement engine 128 and may be operatively coupled with the database 120. In some embodiments, features of the platform 124 and/or advertisement engine 128 may stored in the database 120.

10028] The server 102 is connected to the network 104. The network 104 is also connected to the computers 108 and mobile devices 112. The network 104 is a local area network (LAN), wide area network (WAN), a telephone network, such as the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN), an intranet, the Internet, or combinations thereof. The network 104 may also include wireless carrier networks (not shown). The wireless carrier networks may include gateways to couple the mobile devices in their networks with other wireless carrier networks, the Internet, and/or other networks. [00291 The computers 108 are computers, such as, a desktop computer or laptop computer. The mobile devices 112 are portable computer devices, such as a cell phone or PDA (personal digital assistant). The in one embodiment computers 108 include web access applications, such as, for example, Internet Explorer. In one embodiment, the mobile devices 112 also include web access applications. The web access applications may allow the mobile devices 112 to communicate using html, chtml, xhtml, wml and the like depending on the wireless network and/or mobile device. [0030] In use, in one embodiment a mobile device user creates a user profile at the platform 124 using a computer 108 over the network 104. The platform 124 converts the user profile into a mobile format, publishable to mobile devices, such as device 112. The user profile and/or mobile format of the user profile may be stored in the database 120 and./or generated at the platform 124 when a request to access a mobile format of a user profile is received. Users of the mobile devices 112 can communicate, network, and share data with other users of the mobile devices 112 over the network 104 using the mobile formats of the user profile. When a user accesses a mobile format of a user profile, the advertisement engine 128, alone or together with the platform 124, in one embodiment may publish advertisements to the mobile device 112. [0031] Figure 2 illustrates an exemplary platform 200 for the mobile networking system. In one embodiment, the platform 200 is the platform 124 shown in Figure 1. The platform 200 includes a management console 204, a user portal 208 and a user mobile publisher 212. The platform 200 optionally includes an advertisement engine 216. In other embodiments, the advertisement engine 216 may be coupled with the platform 200 via the user mobile publisher 212. [0032] The management console 204 is used to create and administer the mobile social network. The management console 204 may also be used to create different partner sites or groups within the mobile social network. [0033] The user portal 208 allows users to interact with the mobile social network from a personal computer over a network (e.g., computer 108 over network 104). The users of the mobile social network can create a user profile, upload user generated content (UGC), create tags, interact with other users of the mobile social network, etc. via the user portal 208. In one embodiment, non- users may also browse blogs, receive invitations, and otherwise interact with the system, In one embodiment, the user may do all, or a subset of these actions directly on the mobile application.

I0034J The mobile publisher 212 converts a user profile, or user data, into a mobile format and publishes the mobile format to a mobile device (e.g., mobile device 112). In one embodiment, this is done on the fly, in response to a request to access the mobile format. In another embodiment, this is done when the data is entered by the user, or requested for the first time, and then stored in a database in converted format.

10035) The advertisement engine 216 may be used to create advertisement rules, in one embodiment. In one embodiment,, the advertisement rules may be created at the management console 204. The advertisement engine 216 matches advertisements to displayed user profiles on the mobile social network. In one embodiment, the advertisement engine 216 provides a publishable advertisement to the mobile publisher 212. The mobile publisher 212, in one embodiment, uses the same methodology in publishing the advertisement as was used to publish the user profile. In one embodiment, the mobile publisher 212 may publish data of any sort using the same methods.

100361 It will be appreciated that each of the management console 204, user portal 208, mobile publisher 212, and advertisement engine 216 are at least operatively coupled with one another. Although the platform 200 is described and shown as being implemented on a single computer (e.g., server 100), it will be appreciated that the platform 200 may be implemented on more than one computer. For example, each of the management console 204, user portal 208, mobile publisher 212 and advertisement engine 216 may be implemented on different computers that are connected to one another, may be distributed across multiple servers, may utilize remote storage, etc.

10037] Figure 3 illustrates a content management system 304 for the mobile networking system 300 in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The content management system 304 is coupled with mobile devices 308. The content management system 304 includes a gateway 312, applications 316 and managers 320. The applications 316 may include a management application 324, a web editor application 328 and open APIs 332. The managers 320 may include a content advertising server 336, a rich media system 340, and a reporting engine 344. The open API 332 enables RSS data feeds to update profiles automatically, e-commerce engines, and authentication schemes to be integrated into the system.

[0038] Figure 4 illustrates a process 400 of creating a mobile networking system in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. In Figure 4, the process 400 begins by installing platform software on a server (block 404). The process 400 continues by setting up and administering a management console (block 408). The process 400 optionally continues by creating and customizing a partner site (block 412). The partner site is a branded mobile site. In one embodiment, the branding may be associated with a group, a company, or any other entity. The process 400 continues by registering and administering customers (block 416). In one embodiment, the administration and management of customers is done separately from the set-up and registration. The process 400 optionally continues by setting advertising rules (block 420). [0039] Figures 5A-5O are screen shots showing an exemplary implementation of the process 400. It will be appreciated that fewer or more screens may be provided to implement the process 400 and/or features of the management console 204. It will also be appreciated that the screen shots are exemplary and may vary from the illustrated screen shots.

[0040] Figure 5A illustrates a screen shot 500 in which an administrative account is configured. Figure 5B illustrates a screen shot 505 in which users of the platform are shown. The users can be associated with different groups or partners. In one embodiment, the listing of users can be filtered by partner. For example, separate and independent partner sites or groups can be created within the mobile social network. In one embodiment, users can be affiliated with one or more of the partner sites and/or groups. The users may be displayed by group membership, or other characteristics. In one embodiment, administrative rules may be applied by group, across all groups, or by another characteristic (e.g. free users v. paid users, users under 18 v. users over 18, etc.)

[0041] Figure 5C illustrates a screen shot 510 showing an exemplary interface that enables an administrator to flag a user for inappropriate content. [0042] Figure 5D illustrates a screen shot 515 showing administration of web advertisements. As shown in Figure 5D, web advertisements can be filtered by partner, created and displayed. The web advertisements are displayable in the user portal of the mobile network platform. As will be described below in more detail, web advertisements may be targeted to the user, to the profile page being viewed, and on other basis.

[0043] Figure 5E illustrates a screen shot 520 showing creation of a web advertisement rule for the user portal. As can be seen, the rules may range from age settings, through tags, and availability status. [0044J Figure 5F illustrates a screen shot 525 showing administration of mobile advertisements. As can be seen, in one embodiment, in addition to an image, a creation date, and a type, each ad is associated with a particular location on a user's profile. The user's profile has multiple pages, including for example about me, hookups, blogs, etc. Each advertisement is targeted to one or more of those pages.

[0045] Figure 5G illustrates a screen shot 535 showing creating a newsletter that can be sent to all members of a partner site or group. In one embodiment, this interface may be available to authorized group members, as well as administrators.

[0046] Figure 5H illustrates a screen shot 540 showing creating a customized greeting email to users when they register with the mobile social network. Figure 51 illustrates a screen shot 545 showing creating an invitation email for inviting new users to the mobile social network. Figure 5J illustrates a screen shot 550 showing creating suggested links for group members to add to their user profiles,

[00471 Figure 5K illustrates a screen shot 555 showing creating a WAP link for a partner site. Figure 5L illustrates a screen shot 560 for creating a default logo for the partner site. For example, the default logo may be displayed in the profile of a user's mobile format user profile to indicate an affiliated group. In one embodiment, a user may override the default logo display using images available on his or her mobile device. Figure SM illustrates a screen shot 565 showing configuring partner sites. Figure 5N illustrates a screen shot 570 showing adding partner sites.

[0048] Figure 6 illustrates a process 600 of using a user portal in accordance with one embodiment of the invention, In Figure 6, the process 600 begins when a user registers with a site (block 604). The process 600 continues when a user logs into the user portal (block 608).

[0049] The process 600 continues by interacting with the portal (block 612), Interacting with the portal 612 may include uploading user generated content (UGC) (block 616), displaying data to users and non-users, enabling editing and addition of data by users, and otherwise interacting with other users and non- users of the site (block 620), and/or maintaining the user's profile and/or account (block 624). The UGC may include one or more of images, videos, website links, text, audio content, and the like.

[0050] Figure 7 illustrates a process 700 of creating a mobile social networking profile in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The process 700 beings by receiving user input, the user input including UGC and tags (block 704). The tags may be indicative of a group or interest of the user. For example, if a user is interested in pets, the tag may be pets. In another example, if a user is interested in Corvettes™, the tag may cars and/or Corvettes. In another example, a user's tag may include professional or educational affiliations, such as a user's workplace or school(s). It will be appreciated that users may have one or more tags depending on their interests. In one embodiment, this user input may be received through a web page available via a standard web browser. [0051] The process 700 continues by creating user profile pages corresponding to the user input (block 708). The process 700 continues by converting the user profile into a mobile format (block 712). In one embodiment, the UCG is formatted to be more visually appealing in the smaller screen provided by mobile devices. In one embodiment, the system may optimize for each type of device or screen.

[0052] In one embodiment, a user may create separate profiles for each interest group that he wants to join. However, each interest group may have multiple tags. For example, the interest group to which the user belongs may be "Pet owners," and the user's associated tags may include: dogs, pugs, parakeets, rescue shelters, etc. In one embodiment, an interest group may be automatically created based on tags from users. For example, if a number of users have the tag "cat fancier" an administrator may automatically create a group for cat fanciers, and place those users into the group. In one embodiment, the user may opt into or out of the group. [0053] In one embodiment, a user may have one mobile format profile for their interest in pets and another mobile format profile for their interest in cars. In one embodiment, these profiles may be completely separate. In another embodiment, these profiles may be linked, or may share the same email contact for the user. This would enable a search to find more than one profile. In one embodiment, the user may choose whether to provide such a link between the profiles. For example, the user may be registered as "John C. Myung" in a group associated with VC funders, while the same user may be registered as "Porsche Fanatic" in a car oriented group.

[0054] The process 700 continues by publishing the mobile format of the user profile to a mobile device (block 716). In some embodiments, the mobile format of the user profile is published in response to a request to access the mobile format by the user who created the user profile or another user of the mobile social network. In one embodiment, the publishing may include converting the data to a format that is well displayed on the smaller screen of a mobile device. In one embodiment, the publishing may include multiple conversions, for multiple screen types. For example, the images displayed on an IPhone (by Apple Computers) would differ, in one embodiment, in size as well as aspect ratio, from the images displayed on a Motorola Razr. 10055] Figures 8A-8J are screen shots illustrating an exemplary web based user portal. It will be appreciated that fewer or more screens may be provided. It will also be appreciated that the screen shots are exemplary and may vary from the illustrated screen shots.

[0056] Figure 8 A illustrates a screen shot 800 in which a user initially accesses a web site based portal where he or she can create a user profile. Figure 8B illustrates a screen shot 805 showing some user entered data for the creation of a user profile. As shown in Figure 8B, users can enter a display name, their gender, age, home town, personal status, text about themselves, tags, pictures and/or videos, and other data. It will be appreciated that information that differs from that illustrated in screen shot 805 may be requested of users or provided by users. In one embodiment, the user may also provide free-form data, in addition to the structured user profile data shown in Figure 8B.

[0057] Figure 8C illustrates a screen shot 810 showing a web based invitation request from other users. Users can approve or deny an invitation at the user portal. In one embodiment, the user can do this either at the web portal or at the mobile portal.

[0058] Figure 8D illustrates a screen shot 815 showing that users can search for other users of the mobile social network. As shown in the screen shot 815, in one embodiment, users can search for other users by one or more of name, username, email, or tags. It will be appreciated that the search terms may vary from that illustrated in Figure 8D.

[0059] Figure 8E illustrates a screen shot 820 showing a list of friends for an exemplary user. Figure 8F illustrates a screen shot 825 showing that users can upload photographs to their profile. In one embodiment, users may be able to create different photo albums that can be associated with different groups with which they are associated (e.g., as indicated by their tags). It will be appreciated that users do not need to upload any photos in order to use the service. In one embodiment, a default icon based on the user's group membership is used in place of a photo, if no photo is available. Note that the term "upload" in this context does not imply that the image has to come through the web portal. Rather, a user with a camera phone can take a picture with that camera phone and directly upload it to his or her profile.

[0060] Figure BG illustrates a screen shot 830 showing that users can upload videos to their profile. Users may be able to upload videos in a similar manner to which they upload photographs.

£0061] Figure 8H illustrates a screen shot 835 showing that users can set a blog topic or associate a blog with their profile. Figure 81 illustrates a screen shot 840 showing that users can enter recommended links to their user profile. Figure 8] illustrates a screen shot 845 showing that users can send messages to other users from their user profile. The messages can be sent to an individual users or a group of users, as will be described below.

[0062] Figures 9A-9H are screen shots illustrating an exemplary implementation of the mobile format of the user profile. It will be appreciated that fewer or more screens may be provided to implement the mobile format of the user profile. It will also be appreciated that the screen shots are exemplary and may vary from the illustrated screen shots.

[0063] Figure 9A illustrates a screen shot 900 of an introductory page of a mobile format of a user profile. The screen shot 900 includes a logo 902 associated with the creator of the management console or partner site. , an image of the user 904, and links 906 to other pages of the user profile. Exemplary links include me, friends, photos, videos, blog, links, hookup.

[0064] In one embodiment, the system enables a browse function that is very simple. In one embodiment, under each user's picture are two labels. In one embodiment, shown in Figure 9A, they are shown as "Bud" and "Dud." A browsing user can rate the user's image/profile. In one embodiment, when one of these browse labels is selected, the system automatically selects a new profile, to show to the browsing user. In one embodiment, the selection of users through this browse function is independent of group membership. [00651 In one embodiment, browsing may be non-rating related. In one embodiment, the browse function is presented through the display of a single "browse" label. In one embodiment, the browse function is presented through display of two labels, M(ale) and F(emale). The browser can select one of the labels to see users whose profile corresponds to that label. In one embodiment, the browse function may be presented through one or more labels, for example based on all available users, age ranges, genders, tags, or other profile features. I0066J Figure 9B illustrates a screen shot 910 of "me" page of the mobile format of the user profile. The "me" page of the mobile format includes personal information about the user associated with the mobile format of the user profile. Figure 9C illustrates a screen shot 915 of a "friends" page of the mobile format of the user profile. Figure 9D illustrates a screen shot 920 of a "photos" page of the mobile format of the user profile. Figure 9 E illustrates a screen shot 925 of a "videos" page of the mobile format of the user profile. Figure 9F illustrates a screen shot 930 of a "blog" page of the mobile format of the user profile. Figure 9G illustrates a screen shot 935 of a "links" page of the mobile format of the user profile.

I0O67] Figure 9H illustrates a screen shot 940 of a "hookup" page of the mobile format of the user profile. Users can use the "hookup" page of the mobile format of the user profile to network with other users of the mobile social network. In one embodiment, the "hookup" page provides a messaging platform to send one-to-one messages and/or one- to-many messages. [0068] Figure 10 illustrates a process 1000 for networking with users of the mobile social network in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The process 1000 begins when a member of a group sends an invitation to join the group to one or more users, (block 1004) A group generally has at least two members. However, a group of one can exist in the system in one embodiment. In one embodiment, the invitation is a message sent using a POST function. I0069I The process 1000 continues by receiving a user input accepting the invitation to join the group (block 1008). In one embodiment, the acceptance is received from the mobile portal. In another embodiment, the acceptance may be sent through a web interface. In one embodiment, the acceptance is a message sent using a POST function.

[0070] In one embodiment, the process 1000 continues by automatically issuing invitations on behalf of the user who newly joined to the group. The invitations may invite one or more group members to become friends of the newly joined user. In one embodiment, the automatic invitation is also issued from one or more group members to the user, (block 1012). [0071] Figure 11 schematically illustrates a single user being a member of a plurality of groups in a mobile social network. In Figure 11, the user 1104 is a member of five groups 1108, 1112, 1116, 1120, 1124 in the mobile social network 1126. In one embodiment, each of the groups 1108, 1112, 1116, 1120, 1124 is associated with a tag indicated by the user. In another embodiment, each of the groups 1108, 1112, 1116, 1120, 1124 is associated with a partner site of the mobile social network. In other embodiments, each of the groups 1108, 1112, 1116, 1120, 1124 may be associated with a combination of tags or partner sites. In one embodiment, the user has a separate and independent profile for each of these groups. In one embodiment, the user has separate profiles for each of these groups, but the profiles are linked.

[0072] Figure 12 illustrates a process 1200 for navigating within a mobile format of a user profile in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The process 1200 begins by receiving a user input to access a user profile having a plurality of pages, each page having a different type of UGC (block 1204). In one embodiment, this occurs when the user opens the application on the mobile device. In one embodiment, the user's introductory page is shown. In one embodiment, a user may select the profile to be shown on his or her introductory screen when the application is initialized.

[0073] The links to each of the pages in the user's profile are included in the introductory page, in one embodiment. The process 1200 continues by receiving user input to navigate among the pages of the user profile (block 1208). The process 1200 continues by determining whether the user input is a selection to navigate to a profile page or a selection of a browse button (block 1212). If a selection to navigate to a profile page is received, the system navigates to the selected page of the profile. If a selection of a browse button is received, the system navigates to the introductory page of a randomly selected other user, who meets the browse criteria if any. In one embodiment, the browse button comprises the Bud or Dud button below the user's picture on the introductory page. This, in one embodiment, navigates the browsing user to the introductory page of a randomly selected other user. In one embodiment, the browsing user may restrict the scope of the "random" selection. In one embodiment, restrictions may be by gender, age, geographic area, relationship status, tags, etc. [0074J Figure 13 illustrates a process 1300 of interacting with a group in a mobile social network in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The process 1300 begins by receiving a user input to send a message to an individual or a group of users (block 1404), In one embodiment, the group of users may be defined by the user's friends list. Messages can be sent or read using the web portal (computer) and/or mobile portal. In one embodiment, the messages are stored in a server. In one embodiment, messages are sent to the web server using a POST function. In one embodiment, messages are dynamically received from the web server. Messages may be delivered using html, chtml, xhtml, wmJ, or the like depending on whether the user is accessing/sending their messages via the web portal and/or mobile device.

10075] Figure 14 illustrates a process 1400 of searching for members of a mobile social network in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The process 1400 begins by receiving user input indicating an intent to search for other users of the mobile social network (block 1404). The intent may be an intent to perform a search, or the intent to browse. To perform a search, the user in one embodiment selects a search page, and enters one or more search terms. To browse, the user selects one of the browse buttons (shown for example in screenshot of Figure 9 A as Bud or Dud. Upon receiving as an input one of the browse buttons, the process 1400 randomly identifies a user of the mobile social network to present in response to the user input (block 1408). In order to present the selected user's profile, the process 1400 publishes a mobile format of the selected user profile to a mobile device from which the browsing user input is received (block 1412).

I0076J Figure 15 illustrates a process 1500 of advertising in a mobile social network in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. The process 1500 begins by matching an advertisement to a user profile based on one or more advertisement rules (block 1504). One embodiment of the creation of advertisement rules is described in Figures 16A-16F. The process 1500 is initiated when the system receives a request to access a page of the user profile by a browsing user of the mobile device (block 1508). Note that the "browsing user" need not be the same person as the person whose profile is being accessed. The process 1500 continues by publishing the selected page of the user profile and the matched advertisement to a mobile device (block 1512). It will be appreciated that the advertisement may be targeted to the browsing user and/or the user associated with the profile being accessed.

[0077] Figure 16A is a screen shot of an exemplary implementation of an advertisement rule creation in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. It will be appreciated that fewer or more screens may be provided to create an advertisement rule. It will also be appreciated that the screen shots are exemplary and may vary from the illustrated screen shots. 100781 Figure 16A illustrates a screen shot 1600 showing a page for creating an advertisement rule for the mobile social network. In one embodiment, an administrator performs all of the below steps. The administrator is any authorized user. In one embodiment, a potential advertiser can be designated an administrator for the purposes of creating the advertisement rule for a particular advertisement.

[0079] The administrator creates the advertisement rule at the management portal. The administrator can identify a group of users to whom advertisements should be delivered. A group may be a branded group, club (e.g., affinity group) and/or affiliated partner group. Each group may have any number of users. The administrator can also identify a rule as a global advertisement. A global advertisement may be displayed when no other rules match a user. Thus, a global advertisement typically does not target users based on gender, age, status, tags, etc.

[0080] The rule may be given a name and description by the administrator. The administrator may then identify a location to target the advertisement. The administrator may identify locations for the user portal and/or the mobile user pages. For example, Figure 16B illustrates a screen shot 1605 showing an advertisement 1606 located at the top of the user portal. The advertisement can also be located at other locations of the user portal, such as along the side 1608. 10081] With reference back to Figure 16 A, screen shot 1600 shows that the administrator can select which page of the mobile format to show the advertisement. For example, the administrator can select to show the advertisement to the main page, me page, photo page, blog page, friends page, hookups page, videos page, etc. The administrator can also select a location to display the advertisement on the mobile format.

[0082] Screen shot 1600 includes a box 1615 showing an area in which the administrator can identify user data to which an advertisement can be matched. For example, an administrator can select to target the advertisement to a gender (e.g., any, male, female), age (e.g., any, 16-18, 19-21, over 21, 22-25, etc.), status (e.g., any, single, in a relationship, etc.), tags (e.g., user-identified interests), etc. For example, an administrator can create an advertisement rule to match an advertisement for a ski resort to a user that meets the following criteria: any gender; age group: 21-25; status: engaged; tag: snowboarding. This enables the advertiser to select an ad that would appeal to that demographic, for example an ad suggesting that Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for an active, snowboarding honeymoon.

[00831 Screen shot 1600 includes a box 1620 showing an area in which the administrator can select a type of advertisement to be delivered. Advertisements can be executable data, executed on the mobile device based on source code stored in the advertisement engine. Alternatively, advertisements can be local banners. Local banners may be uploaded to a database associated with the platform and served from the advertisement engine. Textual advertisements can also be delivered. The textual advertisement may include text and/or hyperlinked text. The textual advertisements may also be uploaded to a database associated with the platform and served directly from the advertisement engine. [0084] Screen shot 1600 includes a box 1625 in which a user can create a rule regarding the number of advertisements to be displayed. For example, an advertisement may be delivered when the maximum display count is at least one. The current display count displays the number of advertisements delivered based on the advertisement rule. The advertisement rule may be saved to the database 120 and used by the advertisement engine 128, as described above. 10085] Figures YIA-YTi are screen shots of an exemplary implementation of advertisements in a mobile format of a user profile in accordance with one embodiment of the invention. It will be appreciated that the screen shots are exemplary and may vary from the illustrated screen shots. 10086] Figure 17A illustrates a screen shot 1700 of a first advertisement matching a user profile and displayed at the top of a page of the mobile format of the user profile. Figure 17B illustrates a screen shot 1705 of a second advertisement matching a user profile and displayed at the top of a page of the mobile format of the user profile. Figures 17C-17F are screen shots 1710, 1715, 1720, 1725, respectively, showing different advertisements targeted to different pages of a mobile format of a user profile (e.g., a first advertisement for a photos page (Figure 17C), a second advertisement for a blog page (Figure ITD), a third advertisement for a links page (Figure 17E), and a fourth advertisement for a hookup page (Figure ITF). [0087] Figure 17G illustrates a screen shot 1730 showing an advertisement at a bottom of a page of a mobile format of a user profile. Figure 171 illustrates a screen shot 1735 showing an advertisement along a side of a page of a mobile format of a user profile. Figure ITJ illustrates a screen shot 1740 showing an advertisement overlaying a photograph and/or video of a page of a mobile format of a user profile.

[0088] Figure 18 is one embodiment of a computer system on which the present invention may be implemented. It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art, however, that other alternative systems of various system architectures may also be used.

10089] The data processing system illustrated in Figure 18 includes a bus or other internal communication means 1865 for communicating information, and a processor 1860 coupled to the bus 1865 for processing information. The system further comprises a random access memory (RAM) or other volatile storage device 1850 (referred to as memory), coupled to bus 1865 for storing information and instructions to be executed by processor 1860. Main memory 1850 also may be used for storing temporary variables or other intermediate information during execution of instructions by processor 1860. The system also comprises a read only memory (ROM) and/or static storage device 1820 coupled to bus 1865 for storing static information and instructions for processor I860, and a data storage device 1825 such as a magnetic disk or optical disk and its corresponding disk drive. Data storage device 1825 is coupled to bus 1865 for storing information and instructions.

10090] The system may further be coupled to a display device 1870, such as a cathode ray tube (CRT) or a liquid crystal display (LCD) coupled to bus 1865 through bus 1865 for displaying information to a computer user. An alphanumeric input device 1875, including alphanumeric and other keys, may also be coupled to bus 1865 through bus 1865 for communicating information and command selections to processor 1860. An additional user input device is cursor control device 1880, such as a mouse, a trackball, stylus, or cursor direction keys coupled to bus 1865 through bus 1865 for communicating direction information and command selections to processor 1860, and for controlling cursor movement on display device 1870.

[0091] Another device, which may optionally be coupled to computer system 1800, is a communication device 1890 for accessing other nodes of a distributed system via a network. The communication device 1890 may include any of a number of commercially available networking peripheral devices such as those used for coupling to an Ethernet, token ring, Internet, or wide area network. The communication device 1890 may further be a null-modem connection, or any other mechanism that provides connectivity between the computer system 1800 and the outside world. Note that any or alϊ of the components of this system illustrated in Figure 18 and associated hardware may be used in various embodiments of the present invention.

[0092] It will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that any configuration of the system may be used for various purposes according to the particular implementation. The control logic or software implementing the present invention can be stored in main memory 1850, mass storage device 1825, or other storage medium locally or remotely accessible to processor 1860. 10093] It will be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that the system, method, and process described herein can be implemented as software stored in main memory 1850 or read only memory 1820 and executed by processor 1860. This control logic or software may also be resident on an article of manufacture comprising a computer readable medium having computer readable program code embodied therein and being readable by the mass storage device 1825 and for causing the processor 1860 to operate in accordance with the methods and teachings herein.

[0094] The present invention may also be embodied in a handheld or portable device containing a subset of the computer hardware components described above. For example, the handheld device may be configured to contain only the bus 1865, the processor 1860, and memory 1850 and/or 1825. The handheld device may also be configured to include a set of buttons or input signaling components with which a user may select from a set of available options. The handheld device may also be configured to include an output apparatus such as a liquid crystal display (LCD) or display element matrix for displaying information to a user of the handheld device. Conventional methods may be used to implement such a handheld device. The implementation of the present invention for such a device would be apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art given the disclosure of the present invention as provided herein. [0095] The present invention may also be embodied in a special purpose appliance including a subset of the computer hardware components described above. For example, the appliance may include a processor I860, a data storage device 1825, a bus 1865, and memory 1850, and only rudimentary communications mechanisms, such as a small touch-screen that permits the user to communicate in a basic manner with the device. In general, the more special- purpose the device is, the fewer of the elements need be present for the device to function. In some devices, Communications with the user may be through a touch-based screen, or similar mechanism.

[0096] It will be appreciated by those of ordinary skill in the art that any configuration of the system may be used for various purposes according to the particular implementation. The control logic or software implementing the present invention can be stored on any machine-readable medium locally or remotely accessible to processor 1860. A machine-readable medium includes any mechanism for storing or transmitting information in a form readable by a machine (e.g. a computer). For example, a machine readable medium includes read-only memory (ROM), random access memory (RAM), magnetic disk storage media, optical storage media, flash memory devices, electrical, optical, acoustical or other forms of propagated signals (e.g. carrier waves, infrared signals, digital signals, etc.).

10097] In the foregoing specification, the invention has been described with reference to specific exemplary embodiments thereof. It will, however, be evident that various modifications and changes may be made thereto without departing from the broader spirit and scope of the invention as set forth in the appended claims. The specification and drawings are, accordingly, to be regarded in an illustrative sense rather than a restrictive sense.

Claims

1. A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving user input the user input including user generated content and one or more tags; creating a user profile corresponding to the user input; converting the user profile into a mobile format; and publishing the mobile format of the user profile to a mobile device.
2. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, wherein the mobile format of the user profile comprises a plurality of pages.
3. The computer-implemented method of claim 2, wherein each of the plurality of pages comprises a different type of user generated content.
4. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising publishing an advertisement on the mobile format of the user profile.
5. The computer-implemented method of claim 4, wherein the mobile format of the user profile comprises a plurality of pages and wherein the published advertisement is determined by a combination of one or more of the tags of the user and a current page identification.
6. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising: associating the user profile with a group; and enabling the user to create a second user profile to create a separate identity for a different group,
7. The computer-implemented method of claim 1, further comprising associating each user profile with one of the one or more tags.
8. A mobile social networking system comprising: a user portal to allow users to create a profile and tag the user profile with a plurality of tags, the profile including user generated content; and a mobile publisher coupled with the user portal to convert the profile into a mobile format and publish the mobile format of the profile to a mobile device.
9. The computer system of claim 8, wherein the mobile format comprises a plurality of pages, each of the plurality of pages having user generated content of a different type.
10. The computer system of claim 8, wherein the mobile publisher is further to publish an advertisement with the mobile format of the profile.
11. A computer-implemented method comprising: matching an advertisement to a user profile based on an advertisement rule; receiving a request to access the user profile by a user of a mobile device; and publishing the user profile and the advertisement to the mobile device.
12. The computer-implemented method of claim 11, wherein the user profile is associated with a plurality of tags, and wherein the advertisement is matched based on matching the advertisement rule to one or more of the plurality of tags.
13. The computer-implemented method of claim 11, wherein publishing the advertisement to the mobile device comprises publishing a banner advertisement at one or more of along a side of a page of the user profile, in an upper portion of a page of the user profile, at a bottom portion of a page of the user profile, overlaying an image on a page of the user profile and overlaying a video on a page of the user profile.
14. The computer-implemented method of claim 11, wherein matching the advertisement to the user profile comprises matching the advertisement to one or more of: user generated content in the user profile, tags associated with the user profile, and a browsing user's user profile.
15. The computer-implemented method of claim 11, wherein the advertisement comprises one or more of a textual advertisement, contextual link a graphic image and a video.
16. A computer-implemented method comprising: sending an invitation to join a group from a member of the group to a mobile device, the group having a plurality of members, wherein the invitation is a message sent using a POST function; receiving a user input accepting the invitation to join the group from the mobile device, wherein the user input is a message sent using a POST function; and automatically inviting one or more of the plurality of members of the group to a user profile of a user corresponding to the mobile device and automatically inviting the user to one or more of the member profiles corresponding to the members of the group in response to receiving the user input.
17. The computer-implemented method of claim 16, further comprising allowing each member of the group to message one or more members of the group.
18. The computer-implemented method of claim 17, further comprising allowing each member of the group to create a one-to-many message to send a message to two or more members of the group.
19. The computer-implemented method of claim 16, further comprising allowing members of the group to search for users to invite to the group.
20. A computer-implemented method comprising: receiving a user input from a user of a mobile device to send a data message to a group; and sending a data message to a mobile device associated with each member of the group.
21. The computer-implemented method of claim 20, wherein sending a data message to a mobile device comprises sending the message to a web server using a POST function,
22. The computer-implemented method of claim 20, wherein the POST function is in one or more selected from the group consisting of html, chtml, xhtml and wml.
23. The computer-implemented method of claim 20, wherein sending a data message to a mobile device comprises retrieving the message from a web server and delivering the message to the mobile device using one or more selected from the group consisting of html, chtml, xhtml and wml.
24. A computer-implemented method of enabling a social network comprising: allowing a user of a mobile device to access a mobile format of a user profile, the user profile including at least one link to enable browsing; receiving a selection of the link from the user, the selection indicating a user's intent to browse a second user profile; randomly selecting the mobile format of the second user profile based on a criteria indicated by the link selected by the user; and displaying the mobile format of the second user profile.
25. The method of claim 24, wherein the criteria comprise one or more of the following: none, gender, age range, group membership, tag.
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