Blyk Mobile Brands One of the things I have discussed before is that the future of advertising will be in permission-based relationships between an advertiser and their prospective client, i.e. you and me, and not an Orwellian dictatorial approach of assumption by back-handed tracking techniques.

A user will discern at a point of engagement whether to pay for content (individually or via subscription), else receive it free – paid for via advertising (inserted or brand-funded). This will determine a quantum shift in a media channel dictating the method our mode of consumption and put the decision back in the hands of the consumer. See my notes from recent discussion on advertsing and convergence.

What is really exciting to see is one such company emerging fully embracing this model. Focussing on 16-24 year olds in the mobile sector, Blyk is giving free calls and messages to the youth market in return for receiving advertising.

The tag line “Topping up is up to you” reveals an ethos that is commendable and allows the user a choice as to either pay for calls or receive advertising instead. Am not sure if this can be done on the fly or where the presets lie, but this certainly will pave a way that will challenge the traditional mobile operators commercial models and pose as big a threat as Skype on a mobile over wi-fi could.

The only concern I have is to the data collection policies behind the scenes, especially when they state:

‘Preferences Data’… can include ‘Sensitive Personal Data’… and ‘Location Data’ – though it does go on to say – ‘we will never process such Sensitive Personal Data unless you have chosen to provide it to us’…

Personalisation is one thing, but caution still needs to be applied as this age sector is possibly one of the most vulnerable to exploitation – can’t imagine too many teenagers caring to much about haphazard privacy policies. After all, money talks – or at the very least buys their beers…