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Free mobile for advertising impressions; it's only a matter of time

Picture 29.pngBlyk, a free mobile service targeted at 16-24 year olds in Europe, has recently announced their expansion beyond their test markets in the UK, Germany and France. The company provides free minutes and text messages to its users, and in exchange they receive ads from marketers. The ads are targeted based on the profile of the user.

If you remember, this is the model that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google talked about in November 2006 that got the whole world buzzing. Blyk has been so well received that they reached their initial subscriber goals of 100,000 users six months ahead of schedule.

Here is a short overview movie from Blyk that explains the whole process.

It is only a matter of time before this model comes to the US (though the way our mobile infrastructure is set up it will be much harder to gain the same level of traction). This does however, seem to be a fairly easy way for marketers to reach a targeted audience in a permission-based environment on a mobile device.

Heck, I could see the potential for a very small handful of global marketers try this on their own using this the MVNO model. MVNOs lease parts of a network from a major carrier and re-brand it as a new service. Examples of MVNOs include Virgin Mobile, mobileESPN, Firefly and Amp'd.

What are your thoughts on this model? Would you receive ads for mobile minutes? As a marketer, would you be interested in participating in something like this?


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