More on Blyk: ad-supported cellphone service

Last year I linked toa MEX article on new European MVNO Blyk.  Their attempt at a slice of the cellphone market pie was to offer free calls and text messages to the 16-24 demographic, in return for serving them up adverts.  Blyk promised a dynamic range of promotional content based on continuous customer feedback; at the time, I wondered out loud whether there was any advertiser who could change their content in the two hours Blyk challenged.

With a launch here in the UK pencilled in for Summer, The Guardian [via Mad4Mobiles] has further details of the scheme.  Currently Blyk has signed up the recruitment service StepStone, as well as Yell (the online Yellow Pages service) and mobile gaming group I-Play.  They also quote research by mobile operator Orange, who in a survey of 1,000 users found that:

"up to 23% had purchased or were more likely to purchase the product advertised and more than half said they would be happy to see more advertising on their mobiles."

The key still remains carefully profiling users and accurately targeting the adverts; otherwise you run the risk of them being ignored altogether.  As a commenter from on my previous post wrote:

"No one will pay to advertise to users with no spending power so there is a danger that Blyk could end up with a massive pool of users who use it because they can not afford to pay for a service, each one user will have a $ cost to the operation."

Now the Blyk Bloghas a fancy slide showing their business model, but it doesn't seem to take into account the above point.  And it's a fair one, too; if you're marketing to a group of people predominantly on the basis that they require subsidised cellphone use due to not being able to afford a traditional method of payment, then how are they going to pay for the products and services advertised?

I'm also wondering, if the service is 16-24 then does that mean your line is cut off when you turn 25?