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Mobile Messaging Co Blyk Raises EUR 17M; Commercial Ops In India Next

logo-blykMobile messaging (SMS and MMS) company Blyk has raised EUR 17 million from a clutch of investors, led by Nexit Ventures. As we’d reported a couple of months ago, Blyk has established an office in Gurgaon, India, with Ilka Teppo as Country Manager. Blyk partners with telecom operators to offer content and advertising promotions to consumers: it has tied up with Orange in the UK and Vodafone in Netherlands, and says it has more operator partnerships in the pipeline.

The first announcement, according to Blyk, will be the launch of its commercial operations in India.

Blyk provides op-in customers with a mix of information, entertainment and exclusive offers targeting the youth, with significant consumer profiling, that will allow it to target consumers. The promise – ‘advertising ARPU’ for operators (Blyk claims an ARPU of GBP 1 in the UK per month), and for advertisers, a consumer response rate as high as 25%.

The pitch sounds all too familiar: we heard it when MyToday’s pitched free content updates, supported by a pitch for Invertising (opt-in “invited” advertising); mGinger (remember them?) offered to pay users to receive promotional offers, with significant profiling. But will consumers bite? Bulk SMS in India is cheap – less than 1 paise per SMS, and mobile subscribers are inundated with SMS Spam. This might work either way – it may be seen as a means to do legitimate SMS marketing, or some telecom operators might not want to risk of further irritating customers, even the non-glitterati.

The question you have to ask, is whether advertisers will bite. Blyk’s proposition of relevant and rich advertising (as opposed to a mass-blast) is one that is interesting; it’ll look nice in presentations at conferences (like RCom’s Cadbury’s exam results branding example, which they’ve shared hundreds of thousands of times), but we’re not sure if it will scale easily; advertisers tend to be fickle, and unless it is lead generation based, they’ll experiment and move on to the next advertising experiment.

P.s.: Just noticed that MGinger has published details of cheques paid out.

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– Blyk Opens India Office, Hiring; Appoints Ilka Teppo Country Manager
– More Freebies Please: Ad-Funded MVNO Blyk Eyes India Launch
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