Blyk’s Math Still Doesn’t Add Up

logo_1.jpgA Blyk exec spoke at an event in London today, and shared a few small stats about its growth thus far, saying it expects to have 12-13,000 users in the UK by the end of the year, and 100,000 by the end of July 2008. David Murphy over at Mobile Marketing Magazine raised the valid point that this didn’t seem like a very big number, particularly when Blyk talks about how it segments and targets ads, and didn’t seem likely to attract the interest of major brands, who we keep being told are looking for volume when it comes to mobile advertising.

Blyk’s head of sales, Jonathan MacDonald, replied that the numbers “stood up well against, say, an online ad campaign reaching 1 million unique users, with a clickthrough rate of 0.2%.”

I don’t understand this comparison at all. First, it’s not clear if the user numbers he’s referring to are the 12,000 or the 100,000 — but that doesn’t really matter. If 0.2% of a million users click through an online ad, that’s a paltry 2000. It’s a pretty arbitrary measurement, as well: you can make any figure “stand up favorably” when you handpick something smaller to compare it to. The other aspect for advertisers, is of course cost, which doesn’t appear to have been mentioned. MacDonald’s stats, as cited, blur the lines between reach and effectiveness, which are two different metrics.

Also, Blyk is apparently only sending out 1 or 2 ads per day to its users — which is great for users, but doesn’t give them much inventory to sell, making the already fuzzy numbers even fuzzier.

There are lots of questions about Blyk’s business model, since it’s never been tried before. Few people expect it to be a roaring success right out of the gate, and some short-term stumbles are to be expected. There’s no need to try and hide user figures behind some great-sounding, but contrived, statistics. All that does is raise the level of skepticism — and raise expectations — even higher.

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