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Orange tries to do a Blyk but I dont think it will work ..

Picture of Ajit Jaokar
Orange tries to do a Blyk but I dont think it will work ..
by Ajit Jaokar - Friday, 28 March 2008, 3:26 PM
Orange, the Operator behind the MVNO Blyk, is trying to now do a similar model itself. However, I dont think it will work. The issue is not Mobile advertising, subsidised content per-se, the issue is - the creation of an entire ecosystem to deliver the service including permissions, user experience, personalization etc etc.

For instance
The trial, which will be operated via the operator's mobile portal, Orange World, will see 800,000 of Orange's 15.6 million customers given the option to download a variety of music, from four different genres - urban, pop, rock and dance - to their mobile handsets for free, or a discounted rate. Orange will make over 500 tracks available on the service.

The problem is: how many people will share their music preferences with their Operator on an ongoing basis?

So, realistically only players that try to influence a substantial element of the ecosystem have a chance of working. That includes Blyk, Android, iPhone and others - but not if you retrofit the model on existsing systems
Picture of Peter Cranstone
Re: Orange tries to do a Blyk but I dont think it will work ..
by Peter Cranstone - Friday, 28 March 2008, 4:11 PM

You're missing the bigger picture... the carriers are getting into the "services" business. This is what I have been saying in my posts. They realize that if they don't start to offer compelling services they will lose out to the web.

So today Orange start a new service. At least it's a start in the right direction. However here comes the fly in the ointment... they want customers to share their music preferences.

In other words they want my context... specifically in this case my music context. What's in it for me? Cheaper music, what do I give up - my privacy for ads.

Bzzzt.... not enough VALUE

Why is Blyk working out? Simple they offer more VALUE around their service. Which means I'll put up with ads.

As for iPhone - last time I checked nothing was free on that device.

As for Android - they jury is out. There is no stable OS, no actual device, no distribution mechanism - YET.

It's all coming along with a whole new business model hinted at by Michael B in his OMA posts (very good by the way).

Neither Blyk, Android, iPhone or others are big enough to control ACCESS to the entire ecosystem of content (162 million web servers).

All they can do is offer compelling services that provide real Value in exchange for something from Me (my context).

Also check out Loopt's latest Verizon announcement. Location based services for $4 a month on a Verizon phone.

Can they provide enough value in exchange for me giving them $4 a month and my real time location.

I have a Blackberry and a WM device. Both have GPS - I can share that with any web server for free. No carrier intervention, no need for Loopt software or their service fee... simply use the context of the device and share it with anybody who offers me real value.

Congratulations to Orange for realizing they need to offer services. It now all boils down to value and competition. Is there music offering better than the Web.

Methinks not.

Next service....

Picture of Ajit Jaokar
Loopt ..
by Ajit Jaokar - Friday, 28 March 2008, 4:29 PM
where is the link for loopt? I dont deny services are important. Its just that - all roads dont lead to services :)
Picture of Jonathan MacDonald
Re: Orange tries to do a Blyk but I dont think it will work ..
by Jonathan MacDonald - Friday, 28 March 2008, 8:35 PM
I'm with ya Pete but just as a point of reference. A service where people 'put up with the ads' is fundamentally broken.

The 'ads' need to be relevant contextually and time-wise and incentivise action and interaction where possible.

Then and only then are ads useful and requested information - the antithesis of something that is 'put up with'.

A minor point it may seem but a core differentiator to services where value is conditional (i.e. put up with this crap and we will give you something free).

Sustainability can only be found where that DOES NOT happen.
Picture of Peter Cranstone
Re: Orange tries to do a Blyk but I dont think it will work ..
by Peter Cranstone - Friday, 28 March 2008, 10:06 PM
Preaching to the Choir my friend.

Putting up with ads is fundamentally broken. On the desktop I can block/filter them out. No hope on Mobile.

The 'ads' need to be relevant contextually and time-wise and incentivise action and interaction where possible.

Bingo. Contextually aware ads information is the future on mobile.

Sustainability can only be found where that DOES NOT happen.

The magic word - sustainability. Finally someone who really gets it. The desktop model does not scale down to Mobile ergo it is not a sustainable business model. Many Mobile services will fail if they go this route.

You have to get my permission and my context to deliver really worthwhile and valuable information.

Once again we come full circle to Identity, Privacy and Revocation. All that remains is to discuss how this will happen on mobile.


Picture of Mark Curtis
Re: Orange tries to do a Blyk but I dont think it will work ..
by Mark Curtis - Monday, 31 March 2008, 6:27 PM
I just have to take issue with what appears to be the consensus view on this debate - perhaps best represented by Jonathan's statements -
"A service where people 'put up with the ads' is fundamentally broken" and "Sustainability can only be found where that DOES NOT happen.".

Personally I'm quite sure that mobile advertising will take a different form from what we are seeing currently on wap (links, banners and SEM) because when a new medium emerges, ad formats change to take advantage of it. Currently, we're effectively replicating the web model. History suggests that this will change - though I do not think we yet know what to (I'd love to be involved..). So I agree with (what I think is) the basic premise of the conversation that mobile advertising will not stay as it is.

Where things go a bit pear shaped in the debate is the idea that people will not and should not "put up" with ads? So what exactly have they been doing in newspapers, on TV, and on the internet for years now? Just because screening technologies may exist does not mean that they will be used. They are available on the web but very few people use them. I can bet some people on here do, but the wider market simply does not. The evidence? Internet advertising is the fastest growing ad category of all and has been for several years. If it didn't work for advertisers it would be dead by now.

We have inbuilt screening. Driven by our brain and our eyes. Or else ads in newspapers would be outrageously effective. The mobile is just not that different - a simple Admob style text ad does not massacre the screen real estate (for while I thought they would but the truth is that they do not - and I'm obsessive about user experience.)

Then there is the targeting evangelism we've been hearing: unfortunately several factors mitigate against this.
1. Users (in my experience) are happily lazy: they are most unlikely to spend time adjusting filters to discriminate what they like and do not like. Have we learnt nothing from the relative failure of personalised portals on the web?
2. Advertisers are just not very good at it. If they choose to find out they can get an enormous amount of information about me just from my postcode - it's largely guesswork but pretty well informed. Nonetheless the junk mail I get is still woefully off target. Even on the web it's pretty hit or miss: I subscribe to a cycling discussion and remember when we got hit with dieting ads....ho ho.
Advertisers are constrained by time and ability. They'll always make do with imprecision because practically they cannot create micro offers for micro markets. However much it sounds cool and like a great use of technology.
3. Ads support media. It's OK and not a crime.
4. Users generally do not mind - yes I know we all bitch about stupid ads on TV or the radio or pop-ups....but really deep down people do not mind like they do, say about being ripped off, or awful usability, or muggers. Because they know that ads (and not very well targeted ads) are part of the equation of modern life. Two anecdotes: first time I got a rogue spam sms I was with my teenage daughter and complained - her response - "get over it dad, it happens:)". Secondly I've talked to users of Flirtomatic in its early days. They all wanted to know how we going to make money. I told them ads were to be part of the equation. The response? Yeah, that's cool, of course.

Picture of Tomi Ahonen
The pot calling ITSELF black - Orange tries to do a Blyk but I dont think it will work ..
by Tomi Ahonen - Wednesday, 2 April 2008, 4:57 PM

Hi Mark, welcome to the thread..

Ha-ha, so its not the pot calling the kettle black, now its the pot calling itself black?  Mark? Your company - Flirtomatic - has been inventing this space, taking advertsing beyond the interruption, into content.

I mean the First Face auctioned slot on Flirtomatic? Yes, its technically advertising, but I'm sure most Flirtomatic users think of it as more content than ads? And nobody avoids looking at it, as that might be the honey they've been hoping to find...  Its a perfect early example of what mobile ads can be when they go beyond the interruption, turning into content, into value, becoming desirable

Isn't that exactly the point of this. We can try to do shotgun marketing - post a personal ad in a newspaper. Or we can be much more targeted - post the ad in Flirtomatic, a service that has specifically like-minded people as flirting candidates, and post the ad in a time when I've got time to flirt, - and again those seeing the ad are all in the mood to start flirting. Just that concept is far far better than posting a personal ad in a newspaper?

I do agree with your other parts, the users need to change (will they?) and the advertisers don't know how to do this (a lot and lot and LOT of training needed - plenty of my current work is aound this area with advertisers, ad agencies, marketing associations etc) etc etc.

PS I'll post a blog about mobile advertising tomorrow - will be using your First Face as one example in it - but its too late now (midnite in Hong Kong) and am dead-tired from a long day.

Tomi Ahonen / HatRat    :-)

Picture of Tomi Ahonen
Great point - Orange tries to do a Blyk but I dont think it will work ..
by Tomi Ahonen - Monday, 31 March 2008, 2:18 PM

Hi Ajit, Peter, Jonathan

Great point Jonathan - "customers putting up with ads - model is already fundamentally broken"

Very true. The target customer has to feel it is not something undesirable, that they should consider "putting up with"...

Tomi Ahonen / HatRat    :-)