Hey Everyone – Monetize Your Friends!
As if we aren’t already overwhelmed with advertising, Cincinnati Bell has a new product that will not only bring more ads into your life, but will also make all of your friends hate you. Seriously. The effort to monetize the world (via ads) has been taken to a whole new level.
Brian Suerring from Cincinnati Bell presented a new product called xipto. The even have a site for it – check it out if you want to see the idea first hand.
What is it?
Xipto is a product where you sign up to have advertisements played on your cell phone when someone calls you. Yes, seriously. You advertise at your friends when they call. You can choose the ads and you earn a few cents every time an ad is heard – you can then donate your $$ to charity. You can also choose the # of ads, so you can make them listen to 5 ads before talking to them. That would be sweet.
Results so far?
Brian said that in their beta test with employees 10% liked it so far. I would assume that these 10% have no friends and don’t get phone calls. He also said that his fiancé hates it and doesn’t want to call him anymore because of it. Hmmmmm. I’m with the fiancé.
I wasn’t convinced that this was a good idea (as you can probably tell by my post) so I put it to the twitter test:
I twittered: Cincinnati bell has a new service where an ad plays when people call you and you get $0.05/call. What do u think? Would u use it? Annoying?
12 people responded – overwhelmingly negative. Cincinnati Bell – if you are reading this, take note!!!
And for Advertisers?
Brian said that advertisers like it because it is measurable; meaning they know exactly how many people listen to their ads and for how long. They have not, however completed any deeper research on metrics (ie. recall, if it makes people hate the brand because they are so annoyed, ability to drive action, etc).
My two cents?
- The advertisers don’t know where their ads are going since the control is all in the hands of the user. What if my ad ends up on a sex line?
- Effectiveness needs to be measured. OK, so people hear it, but how effective is it, and are there any negative consequences?
- Most people regularly get calls from the same people, so there would need to be some sort of rotation for this to be effective. I don’t want to pay every time the same person hears the ad.
I hope this doesn’t sound too negative… I think that advertisers and platforms both need to be cautious of how intrusive their ads are, as consumers have much lower tolerance for dealing with intrusive ads. While the cell phone owner does agree to participate, based on the response I got from twitter it does seem likely that bad equity may be associated with both advertisers and the platform (as well as the cell phone owner). What do you think?