Editorial by Andrew Kameka on Friday March 08, 2013.
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If a carrier offered $25 discounts each month to customers willing to view ads on their lock screens, would you do it? One project seeks to turn the lock screen into a "mini billboard" that could earn users money.
SmartAds proposes to pay smartphone and tablet owners to view ads on their lock screen. The ads would be targeted towards a user's interest and could be dismissed to view a standard lock screen or tapped to learn more information. In exchange for viewing the deals and ads every time they turn on their phone, users would get up to $25 per month.
The company behind SmartAds launched an Indiegogo campaign to seek funding for the project, but it's very far from meeting its funding goal and doesn't seem likely to reach it before expiring in two weeks. However, that doesn't necessarily mean the idea isn't something that more people would consider. SmartAd's project is troubled because it asks users to pay money now so they can attract new partners and pay contributors more money later on. It's a risky investment that may not yield any benefits if SmartAds fails to bring ad networks to the table.
Lock screen ads might be more appealing if the company making the offer had already established a system. Imagine it was a carrier pitching the same idea: view ads every time you turn on the phone and it will deduct money from your monthly bill. The promise of cheaper service or other perks might do a better job of convincing people.
Being inundated with advertisements every time you go to check your mail or take a picture could get annoying and old very quickly. I wouldn't sign-up for the program because I wouldn't want that extra step on a constant basis, but there are likely to be plenty of people willing to make an extra tap to save a few bucks. Ad-supported smartphone apps are widely used and pre-roll ads appear in YouTube videos, so it's not far-fetched to see ads be inserted into other aspects of a phone. Considering all of the other schemes carriers have implemented to raise revenues, it wouldn't surprise me at all to see carriers try to convince consumers to sign-up for a lock screen advertising program.
Andrew is MobileBurn.com's managing editor. He is based in Miami, Florida.