Blyk announced last week that they had reached the 100,000 subscriber level in the UK. For those who do not read our blog regularly, Blyk is the radical UK youth-oriented mobile service provider, who offer free calls and free SMS text messages, to youth users (absolute age limit 16-24, membership by invitation only) in exchange of receiving up to 6 mobile advertisements per day.Not only do subscribers tolerate the ads, they have reportedly asked for more of them. Response rates are 29%, which is incredible for advertising.
So I've been thinking about this. Would I enter into this sort of bargain, in which I received free mobile service in exchange for six ads per day?
On the one hand, I'm already seeing ads through the mobile web interface. They're not impairing me. And I already receive a lot of text messages via Twitter, GCalendar, etc., so I don't think it would take much cognitive overhead to process them. Six messages a day doesn't seem like a lot to process at any rate, certainly compared to a hefty monthly phone bill.
On the other hand, where does Blyk get the marketing information? I assume that with response rates that high, ads are highly targeted. Would I need to fill out a detailed questionnaire in advance? To what extent would my communications and choices be monitored? I'm sure this information is available; I'd need to go over it with a fine-toothed comb before committing to such a service.
At any rate, I'm only able to speculate at this point: Blyk is only in the UK right now, and I'm way outside the target range of 16-24. But it's a model to watch.
Communities Dominate Brands: Blyk hits target 5 months early, 100,000 youth members VERY happy with mobile ads
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