Home Do You Want Incoming-Call Ads on Your Mobile?

Do You Want Incoming-Call Ads on Your Mobile?

Your mother’s calling – and there are shoes on sale.

A new study released this week in the UK found that 80% of respondents said they were “happy to have [15 second pre-roll] video ads if it meant they could watch free video” on their phones. Almost nothing’s shocking in the wacky world of mobile advertising-to be, but one thing we found absolutely horrifying in the discussion around the study was this: incoming-call ads.

Who’s Doing This?

A company called Gigafone appears to be pioneering the practice of showing users advertising when calls or SMS come in to a phone. The system is fully opt-in, users provide personal data about themselves and then the ads are targeted to them based on demographics and interests.

RSS readers can click here to see a poll about incoming-call mobile ads.

The benefits to consumers include more targeted ads, discounts and in some cases phone rate subsidies. It’s a little reminiscent of the successful efforts by Blyk, a European company that shows ads in exchange for free minutes and text messages.

Consumer Reactions

Gigafone reports that a huge percentage of customers in test markets are satisfied with the system. People we asked, though, seemed to think that they should receive heavy subsidies for undergoing such an experience. No doubt mobile companies are unlikely to offer the amount of subsidies that customers would like – but we can imagine how this would go down. The practice of offering discounts on nearly everything at the grocery store in exchange for personal information and permission to track our shopping activities would provide an excellent model for this kind of mobile advertising.

Are grocery shoppers who participate in such schemes really getting discounts, or are the rare few who do not just paying a tax? We can imagine a de facto tax being levied against mobile consumers unwilling to have ads shown when their phones ring.

Even though it’s opt-in, there are lots of consumer controls and it could help pay for phone service, we (this author at least) do not want commercials associated with the Pavlovian response of paying particular attention to our phones when they ring. There’s just something disturbing about the idea.

A 15 second pre-roll ad before watching free video? That sounds annoying enough. A personalized ad when I pull my phone out of my pocket to answer it? No thanks.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.