I remember the first time I heard about Jebbit. My roommate, Desiree, came running into our room saying “Eva, I found the solution to my spending problems! I am going to make money every day by just sitting and answering questions about the content of advertisements.” We were impressed and excited! We had found a part-time job that we could do from our beds, did not require us to think much, and would pay us an average of $19 per hour. Desiree and I were clearly Jebbit’s target: college students with constrained spending and plenty of free time, who might do anything to earn a little extra cash.
Similar to Jebbit’s business model and target audience is HitBliss’. It is an online website that will also pay you to watch ads. Nevertheless, what is different from Jebbit is that this cash is not given to you directly, but added to your account so that you use it to pay for TV shows and movies on their platform. How cool is that? As soon as I heard about it I went to Desiree and gave her the news so she could start saving on her Netflix’s monthly fee.
How does HitBliss work? HitBliss is a downloadable application currently only available for desktop computers or laptops. After you create your account, you are asked several questions like age, gender, location, income, etc. You are also asked to share personal information like web and search history, activity on retail sites, and viewing history on HitBliss. The more information you provide, the higher rate of earnings you have. Similar to the data-mining model I explained on my previous blog post, this information is used to tailor the ads that will appear on your screen just so you are shown brands HitBliss thinks you are interested in. This is not only helpful for HitBliss to get you more engaged with the ads. It is also extremely beneficial for the advertisers to know they are reaching the right demographics.
After you provide all this information, you will be able to click on the “Earn” tab and start watching ads. You will have a queue of advertisements and you can skip whichever you do not like. Each ad has a different value of cash reward. The point is that you watch ads until you have enough money to watch you favorite TV show or movie. If you do not have enough cash rewards, you can always opt to pay by credit card.
How does HitBliss make sure you are actually watching the ad and not playing with your cellphone or going through other web pages at the same time? Jebbit does this by asking several questions about the advertisment’s content after you see it. Differently, with its application, HitBliss is able to make sure you are watching the ads by tracking your screen activity. With this, Hitbliss is able to stop the ad and stop the cash earning if the user switches to another window or lowers the volume. Additionally, when the ad is playing, the application pops up a face that asks if you are still there. If the user fails to answer in few seconds, the cash payment is not given to you.
Is HitBliss a possible threat to Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon? Well, relating this question to what we have learned in class, we know that HitBliss does not have the first-mover advantage. Users already love Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon and these are also giants in this industry. Nevertheless, HitBliss clearly has the second-mover advantage. It can use Netflix’s example of scale and selection, data for recommendation, and the disruptive revenue model to improve its business. Personally, I would say that HitBliss has an even greater weapon: customer data. Customers purposely share their tastes and online searches when they open their HitBliss accounts. Thus, HitBliss does not have to guess on what customers will like just like Netflix does, they actually know it. Furthermore, HitBliss offers TV on demand, something that has been a struggle for Netflix. What do you think? Could this company become a giant too?
Some might say that not everybody is in a budget constraint and will like to spend some time watching advertisements in exchange of cash. Some people value their time more than what these ads can pay. Nevertheless, remember that HitBliss also has the option to pay for it from your own money, just like you do in iTunes and in Amazon Instant Video. Personally, the biggest barrier I see for HitBliss is finding the way to go mobile because I do not believe iTunes will go easy on its new competitor.
Whether it will be successful or not, HitBliss, just like Jebbit, has made the relationship between consumers and advertisers friendlier. Just as Seth Fiegerman stated, “HitBliss is trying to create a more symbiotic relationship between consumers and advertisers that benefits both parties.” We all hate to watch the ads before a YouTube video. This could be a possible solution! I am definitely looking forward to see how people will react to this new business idea and whether other companies will try to implement it too.