The Missing Link
DM: So Aimes, tell us about Gtext Media's Ad-Link solution please
AB: Sure. It rewards consumers who agree to have ads inserted in text messages they send. You download an app, which is available for iPhone and Android just now, with Blackberry and Nokia versions to follow, and register for the service. Once you are registered, the app inserts ads into texts you send and you get 5p every time someone clicks on one of the ads. The concept has been in the making for the last five years, but it’s only now the world has picked up on apps so we have been able to bring it to market.
DM: So have you been working on other stuff to pay the rent in this period, or have you been funded to develop the system?
AB: That’s correct, we have been funded to develop the system.
DM: Obviously, this is not the first in-SMS advertising platform, but I have not come across one before that works on a peer-to-peer model like this; it is usually run by a mobile network, or a brand, such as a directory enquiry service, where ads are tagged on to the end of a text sent to the user with the number they were looking for. Is this unique, as far as you know?
AB: As far as I know, yes. The concept comes from the web, where affiliate programs are huge. But there was nothing like it available on the mobile phone, so we thought, why not bring it across to the mobile, because everything is shifting to the mobile phone.
DM: So the official launch was just a few days ago, but how long has the programme been running?
AB: It’s been running for the last year as a beta trial, and we’ve had a very good response, with lots of users signing up with us.
DM: How many?
AB: Over 200,000. We’ve also entered into partnerships with a number of agencies, who are now pitching it to their clients.
DM: And how have you recruited those users?
AB: We have a strong campaign running in schools, colleges and universities. We have planted seeds, whereby we have recruited people from different educational facilities and their objective is to get 50 people signed up and help it to spread by word of mouth. We are also very active on Facebook and YouTube. We are hoping to get close to 1m users by the end of the year.
DM: Some people think that, at 5p a click, it’s going to take a very long time, and a lot of texts, for anyone to earn real money from Ad-Link.
AB: I don’t think so. The average person sends 3,000 texts per month, so if every ad on every one of those texts was to be clicked, there is the potential to make £150. But it’s not all about the money. For the people clicking on the ads, it’s about the offers and discounts they are being targeted with. We are looking to create a community where the people being paid from Ad-Link are also clicking on the Ad-Link ads on text messages from their friends to take advantage of the offers our brand partners are bringing them.