BlackBerry set to launch ads on BBM

blackberry wants use bbm to send money

Note: This piece has an important update at the end.

In a bid to make some money from its popular messaging service, BlackBerry is gearing up to launch ads on BBM.

The revenue-making initiative is currently being tested with Beta Zone members running BBM on Android, with ads appearing in two forms within the app’s BBM Channels feature.

According to Mobile Syrup, the trial involves sponsored invites where channel owners can issue an invitation to users to join their channel (these will show up in the invites tab of BBM), and clearly labeled sponsored posts which’ll appear in the updates tab. In an effort to give users some control over the ads, BlackBerry has designed it so that if they decline an invite, or block a sponsored post, they won’t hear from that channel again. 

Interestingly, it appears BlackBerry will introduce sponsored content only for non-BlackBerry devices running the app, at least initially. In other words, if you’re using BBM on iOS, Android, or Windows Phone, ads are likely to begin showing up in the near future.

Part of the testing procedure is likely to involve nailing the ads’ frequency and relevancy so they don’t prove too intrusive or annoying for users when they’re eventually rolled out on a wider scale.

WhatsApp ads?

Soon after Facebook acquired BBM rival WhatsApp last month for $19 billion, Mark Zuckerberg said that as far as he’s concerned, he doesn’t think ads are the right way to go about monetizing messaging, while WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum has always said that ads would be kept off the app, though this was, of course, before Facebook turned up.

Indeed, a Forbes report Tuesday suggested this no-ads policy may be discarded, with “insiders” telling the publication that WhatsApp “could start charging airlines or companies like Uber for the right to send messages to WhatsApp users with their permission.” Ads on an opt-in basis? Wonder how many users will go for that one.

Either way, BlackBerry’s clearly keen on pushing ahead with bringing ads to its messaging service. When John Chen took over at BlackBerry last November, he listed cross-platform messaging as one of the four key areas that the Canadian mobile company had to exploit in order to get the mobile maker back on track.

UPDATE: BBM’s head of product and brand marketing, Jeff Gadway, took to the Inside BlackBerry blog Tuesday to offer some details on its ad strategy. He said the company was taking “a very measured and deliberate approach to connecting BBM Channels users with content they might be interested in from BBM Channel owners, which will include brands and businesses,” at the same time reassuring BBM users that any promoted content on its messaging service “will be direct, relevant, friendly and will in no way impact the chat and sharing experience.”

He added that no promoted content would ever find its way into BBM chats, describing this part of its messaging service as “untouchable.”

To learn more about BlackBerry’s plans for ads on BBM, check out Gadway’s post here.


Hey Google, why did you kill off Allo, your best messaging app in years?

Allo, Google's messaging app, has shut down. I convinced my closest friends and family to switch to the app two-and-a-half years ago when it debuted, and we've been using it since. With its death, I'm feeling pain and sadness.
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.

Latest Skype preview now lets you chat with up to 50 people on a video call

The latest beta version of Skype is introducing an ability to enter a video call with up to 50 people, a change from the current public version which has a maximum limit of 25 participants.
Social Media

Facebook explains its worst outage as 3 million users head to Telegram

Facebook, if you didn't already know it, suffered a bit of an issue on Wednesday, March 13. An issue that took down not only its social networking site, but also Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger. On Thursday it offered an explanation.

Leaked ZTE concept phones are crazy, possibly fake, and totally worth seeing

Renders of what may be ZTE concept phones may show how the manufacturer could avoid using the notch on future devices. They're crazy -- and maybe not even real -- but they're definitely worth looking at.

Get excited for your Sony Xperia 10 or 10 Plus by getting it set up just right

If you've picked up one of the Sony's more affordable smartphones, you may be be wondering what hidden depths lie within. We've got some handy Sony Xperia 10 tips for you here to help you get to grips with your new phone.

This is the one thing you need to do before giving your child a smart phone or tablet

Monitoring your kids' digital habits can be a challenge in today’s high-tech age, but great parental control software like Qustodio gives parents a much-needed advantage Read on to find out how you can protect your child from online…

These voice-changing apps will have you punking friends and family like a pro

Have you ever wanted to call your friends as Darth Vader or Alvin from the Chipmunks? If you want to play a prank on your friends, we have the best voice-changer apps for iOS and Android, whether you want to record audio or make a call.

The Black Shark 2’s Ludicrous Mode promises the smoothest mobile gaming

Xiaomi-backed Black Shark has a follow-up to last year's Black Shark gaming phone, complete with high specs and a low price. Here's everything we know about the Black Shark 2 gaming phone.

Google's midrange Pixels might be called the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a midrange line. Say hello to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.

Whether by the pool or the sea, make a splash with the best waterproof phones

Whether you're looking for a phone you can use in the bath, or you just want that extra peace of mind, waterproof phones are here and they're amazing. Check out our selection of the best ones you can buy.

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.

Rooting your Android device is risky. Do it right with our handy guide

Wondering whether to root your Android smartphone or stick with stock Android? Perhaps you’ve decided to do it and you just need to know how? Here, you'll find an explanation and a quick guide on how to root Android devices.

Does this video show off the Huawei P30 Pro's impressive camera suite?

The Huawei P30 Pro will be announced on March 26. It has already started to leak ahead of this date, and expectations are high that the company will improve even further on the P20 Pro's camera.