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Is Free Mobile Usage The Future?

Henry Elliss
Henry Elliss
Managing Director
14 August 2008

Integrated_campaign_thumb In my capacity as Head of Social Media here at Tamar, I get to meet a lot of interesting people – some tell me things I already knew; some try to sell me their services; and some tell me about their products and why I should be selling them to our clients on their behalf. Yesterday saw a mix of the three, when I met the man from Mobile network Blyk.

For the uninitiated, Blyk is an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator – just like Virgin Mobile is) that separates itself from the competition by giving users a SIM card for free, along with hundreds of free text messages and calls – all in exchange for agreeing to receive adverts on their phone each day.

The concept struck is as pretty basic at first, reminding me vaguely of website’s I signed up to in the late nineties which promised me massives of free stuff in exchange for taking part in surveys or ad groups.

However, when they showed me some samples of the campaigns they run, I came round to the idea a little more. The engine behind the system is quite complex, and uses targeting similar to that of the major social networks – asking users to fill in some pretty detailed questions to figure out what ads they’d respond to best. I like that a lot – though whether I’d be able to cope with the system is debatable.

I think the killer for me would be whether or not I could cope with the intense high-then-low of hearing my phone pinging for a new message 6 times a day, but each time discovering that it wasn’t really a friend wanting to contact me, it was just an advert. But for the time being you’ll have to decide for yourself, as my Blackberry keeps me happy enough at the moment so I won’t switch quite yet.

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