When we need to decide what product to buy, what movie to go to or what hotel to stay in, it is natural to turn to people we know personally or otherwise consider to be trustworthy for recommendations. The attempts of advertisers to exploit this tendency are just as natural, but often unsuccessful. After all, the element of trust is essential here, and it is too easily lost if a recommendation is too obviously paid for. Both influencer marketing and review platforms struggle to bypass this obstacle.
Nevertheless, the economic potential of recommendation marketing is too obvious to pass up. At the same time, ordinary users could surely benefit from recommendations of all sorts being aggregated in one place. Blinked Inc. proposes just this with its Blinked blockchain-based social media platform. Through it, consumers will be able to receive recommendations from users that they trust, and get rewards for making recommendations of their own. At the same time, advertisers will be able to use the platform for targeted ads with a token incentive model.
How will advertising on Blinked work?
Anyone will be able to join the Blinked platform as a regular user through its mobile app. By default, users will be offered the possibility of automatically following any people in their address book who may be on the platform. Likewise, they could choose to follow any other users, whether individuals or publications, to receive their recommendations as part of their Blinked Feed. Those users or their recommendations could be filtered by area or category. They would also be able to make their own recommendations, or “Blinks”, for any type of goods or services that occur to them, with the help of an auto-fill function. While a wide variety of recommendations will be allowed, suspicious or untoward activity could be flagged or punished.
Central to the platform's operation will be two types of interexchangeable tokens kept in the account wallets: Blinked (BLKD) and Blinked Gold (BGZD). The former could be traded outside the platform, while the latter will be used for rewards inside it. Blinks will be rewarded with BGZD based on likes. Also, any user could stake BGZD as a challenge to their followers, requesting recommendations in some specific area, with the best recommendation (as determined by the user) getting the tokens. BGZD tokens could be converted to BLKD and then to other currencies, or they could be used for tips or redeemed in the Blinked Arcade in exchange for various promotional rewards (such as dinners, tickets or merchandise).
BLKD will be used to unlock higher membership tiers, which receive increasingly bigger rewards from interacting with the advertising system. Advertisers who stake BLKD will be able to offer videos and interactive banners with smart contract-enabled BGZD rewards for users who perform certain actions (such as watching a video or leaving comments). The system will be managed by advertising sales administrators, who will receive a BGZD commission for all the advertising activity they draw to the platform. Users could become platform or sales administrators by staking BLKD. A special algorithm will be used to match advertisers to viewers based on their interests, without sharing their data directly. Advertisers will receive transparent feedback about the success rate of their campaigns.
What are the advantages of Blinked?
Compared to most existing review platforms, Blinked is intended to be at once more universal (covering almost anything that could be advertised) and more personal (since it will make it easy to customise one's feed). It also has the advantage of simplicity, focusing on recommendations rather than reviews. Its users will be given clear incentives to participate more actively and in good faith, rewarding them for successful recommendations. At the same time, as an advertising platform, it will give them more opportunities to earn by acting as local advertising sales administrators. Of course, there will be nothing preventing companies from paying for recommendations, but it is unlikely to be very cost-effective and it will not undermine the core platform functionality, given its decentralised user-driven nature.
The Blinked team includes cryptoindustry and online business veterans, as well as some known influencers. It already started recruiting experienced ad sales admins to help jumpstart the system. Furthermore, it is supported by partners such as Amazon. Its program is already available in major app stores. Blinked Inc. promised to share the results of its market research and technical and business development efforts with the broader cryptocurrency community.
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Online marketing with human faces
Advertising on the Internet has been facing increasing difficulties for some time now. Users have become too good at ignoring or dismissing most approaches currently in use. As a result, an unclear amount of money spent on online marketing is wasted. A new model is overdue, and the Blinked platform combines two of them. On the one hand, it facilitates recommendations, letting users spread the word about products and services and get rewarded for it at their peers' discretion. On the other hand, it also allows advertisers to go around the dislike they have earned by offering token incentives.
Would this more consumer-friendly approach to marketing prevail? It may seem idealistic, but it could make good economic sense for everyone involved, as well as providing greater value to the consumers and so enhancing the entire economy. Of course, for it to prevail, Blinked will need to attract both advertisers and customers to its platform. Its business model and overall concept both require a high level of participation on the part of a large number of ordinary users. Time will tell if its incentive scheme and other advantages will suffice for this purpose.