BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM) is out hunting for a potential mobile advertising network to complement its platform, WSJ has reported.

Though BlackBerry is still the largest-selling smartphone in the market, it has seen erosion in market share. As focus shifts towards users accessing the web through smartphones, it's timely that RIM turns to online advertising.

Its competitor Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) lapped up AdMob for $750 million while Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) bought Quattro for $275 million. However, RIM feels that Google and Apple paid a premium to buy these networks.

RIM reportedly tried to acquire Millennial Media, WSJ reported, quoting "people familiar with the matter." But encouraged by prices that AdMob and Quattro could fetch, Millennial quoted a price of $500 million, an amount BlackBerry was unwilling to pay.

BlackBerry wants to join the Apple and Google bandwagon to exploit online advertising but does not have a proper advertising network running on its platform. Also RIM lacks in the area of applications, which is major source of ad revenue for Google and Apple through shared-revenue model. However, BlackBerry, being a proprietary model, has failed to replicate Apple's proprietary strategy -- garnering a whole community of developers writing applications for iPhones. Currently BlackBerry has only 8,000 applications, compared to Apple's 250,000.

In order to gain entry into smartphone-based online advertisements BlackBerry needs more than a network. It will need to popularize its OS among developers. Basically, BlackBerry will have to become more multimedia-savvy to tap into this market.

Since its core strength lies in being a commercial smartphone offering hard-to-crack encrypted messaging system, one wonders how much of an open window can RIM create to explore smartphone-based online advertising . However, having a dedicated advertising platform for oneself is a good start, but will also need more apps and diverse customer base to attract advertisers.

International Business Times, The Global Business News Leader