Feature Article

March 07, 2014

BlackBerry Confirms Ads in BBM Channels, but Promises to Keep Ads Off-limits in Chats

Amid rumors that BlackBerry would be pushing sponsored content across their devices, BlackBerry has stepped forward to clarify the situation. BlackBerry confirmed that they would indeed place advertisements within BlackBerry Channels, but have adamantly denied claims that the advertisements would leak into other aspects like BBM chats. Blackberry promises to respect user privacy despite the new wave of advertisements that will hit BlackBerry Channels.

BlackBerry has decided to start running advertisements in order to drive community growth, but an improperly implemented ad scheme would actually be detrimental to the growth of BlackBerry users. Unfortunately BlackBerry’s declining popularity over the past few years means that if the ads are implemented improperly or are too annoying for their user base, it could be a death sentence for the company as a whole. It appears that BlackBerry is attempting to monetize their messenger app, but could this be too little too late?

BlackBerry insists that “protecting user privacy remains a top focus,” even if the BBM channels ask for personal information on startup. BBM Channels ask users for their age, location and gender, but according to BlackBerry this information will not be visible to advertisers or channel owners.

In fact, Blackberry has extremely strict guidelines on where the ads are “allowed” to appear. In fact, there are only three ways that the BBM Channels are permitted to display or promote sponsored content: Featured Placements, Sponsored Invites and Sponsored Posts.

Featured Placements are located on the landing pages for BBM Channels, and are specifically approved by the channel owner. Both of these features make this placement attractive for advertisers, which will generate higher revenue. Sponsored Invites and Posts are clearly labeled features that appear in the Invite and Post sections of BBM Channels respectively, and users always have the option of declining these posts. BlackBerry stresses that sponsored content will be limited to these pages, placing considerable emphasis on the fact that ads would never appear in BBM Chats.

Edited by Cassandra Tucker

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