Innovation That Matters

Sponsored lock screens pay for free calls

Work & Lifestyle

PopTalk provides free international calls, texts and prepaid data in exchange for filling the user's lock screen with ads.

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Advertisers are always looking for untapped surfaces to fill with ads, and consumers can often reap the benefits. We have already seen Add My Window enable Dutch residents to rent out their public facing windows to advertisers. Elsewhere, Screen Donor is a free app that converted the lock screen of dormant smartphones into free, untapped ad space for humanitarian organization Doctors of the World. Now, a brainchild of two ex-Google managers, PopTalk converts that same concept into a mutually beneficial customer-business relationship: the web application provides free international calls, texts and prepaid data in exchange for filling the user’s lock screen with ads.

Poptalk works by pushing advertisements from their sponsors to the user’s screen whenever it’s locked. Every day that their lock screen is on, the user earns credits, which they can use to top up their phone or make free calls around the world. Users earn additional credits by interacting with the adverts and receive discounts for recommending the service. PopTalk estimate that every month with a sponsored lock screen can earn 600 free minutes to a Mexican landline or 1000 free texts to any US phone. Users can also exchange their credits for 3G data.

Could online publishers learn from this model, feeding ads to their readers through new surfaces rather than during their browsing time?



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