Operators Quiet on Opt-in Figures

What is it about the UK operators and mobile advertising? O2 UK has signed up over 1m customers to its O2 More opt-in mobile advertising service that enables O2 subscribers to opt in to receive targeted advertising on their phones, but we only found out via a report on the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) website.

We emailed O2 for confirmation, and they told us it is true, but I’m mystified as to why they didn’t issue a press release to celebrate reaching the landmark, especially when the biggest question mark against these types of opt-in services is reach. OK, 1m is still pretty small beer when viewed alongside, say, TV, but it’s a big improvement on the 200,000 that Blyk achieved at its peak.

Orange runs a similar service in the UK, called Orange Shots. This runs on the Blyk platform, which Orange acquired when it bought Blyk. When it first launched, Orange said there were 100,000 people on its database soon after it launched, but that was back in January, and I’m not aware of any update since. We have gone through the motions of asking for an updated figure this afternoon, but no response as yet.

It seems to me sometimes as if Orange and O2 are embarrassed about their opt-in databases, but I find it hard to understand why. No one is pressured into opting in; it’s a free choice. For sure, these services won’t generate a fraction of the revenues the operators get from voice and text for a few years yet, but it would be nice to see them showing a little bit more faith in them, and making a bit of noise about them.

David Murphy