July 26, 2009

mGinger: Do they have the right model?

So the next time a popular television show host asks “Kaun Banega Crorepati?” it wouldn’t be wrong to say mGinger Users :-)
 The mGinger Guys wrote on their blog, announcing that they have so far distributed "1 Crore and 35 Lakhs" [13.5 Million? Correct me if I am wrong!] to its users. Yeh, that is a huge lot of money! They also claim that they have more than 2 million users!

I remembered joining a site that offered to pay me to read SMS Advertisements on my cell phone a few days ago as I was thinking of what to write on techedIN. That was way back in 2007. I wanted to see if the site still existed. I had forgotten what my user id and password were. I sought mGinger's help to mail me my user id and password and logged in. I remembered two of my friends who joined me up on invite. They were still there and that was it! My 'Network' has not grown beyond that. I clicked on the 'Earnings' Tab to see what I have earned so far, for the two years I have joined and forgotten mGinger. Gosh, I have earned 34.85 INR. Not so bad I thought! Not so bad for all these days of inactivity!

I remember mGinger starting up and I think it was one of my friends who had invited me to join in. I did, out of curiosity, then! I never believed a word of what they said. I knew I was not going to become a millionaire joining a site that paid me to read SMS.I don't believe that I am going to, even now! But I like the way mGinger persisted.

When I joined, mGinger was just a start-up. It was all about two or three friends joining hands together to try something that was unconvetional in India, then. And even as I joined, I liked the fact that they never made any lofty promises to the aspiring millionaires. They stated in plain and simple language that, as they are a start up they could not promise that members would start earning from day one. But, I remember them saying, as days go by and the network grows advertisers would see the point and use mGinger as a marketing tool and then things would change!

I think things have changed now. Right from day one, I could see people trusting what the mGinger Guys said.  They gained the confidence of users by calling a spade a spade. I think, from what I see on the site and the way people still respond to their blogs, they were successful in maintaining the trust people had in them.

Why am I talking about mGinger now? I am talking about mGinger not just because I want people to join in. I am talking about them because I am impressed to see that now they are talking about 'spicing up your mobile' than plainly asking you to join in to get paid to read advertisement. They started off blending two marketing models that were prevalent then: One, get paid to read advertisements, where you had to click on links that a site gave you to get paid. Two, the 'chain business' where you made people join to get paid. I think now they have one more option for people who join in, in their kity. They have these SMS Discount Coupon Offer, an adaptation of Google Coupons I guess, where you can download the coupons on your cell phone and avail discounts.

I am not still sure how far this 'get paid to read ads' work. Because I don't see many advertisements directed to me from mGinger on a given day. If I am some one who does marketing, I won't approach a company that pays the people to read the ads that I send. Yeah, you are right - they send advertisements based on interest categories. But that is not enough to convince the businessman in me!

If I were mGinger I would do the following:

  1. Drop the 'get paid to read ads' model or restrict the interest categories people can choose. The way it is now, I can choose all the interest categories mindlessly, even if I am not interested in knowing about any of them. 
  2. Hold on to the 'get paid to get people join' model and increase the incentives
  3. Promote the Discount SMS Coupon thing! [I think they are doing that. Because I see a lot of coupons on their site!]
My point is: members trust mGinger Guys. But do the marketing wiz kids trust their model? Because, at the end of the day advertising is [not just about brand awareness] all about how many people buy what you are advertising! If it is about sustaining growth, the number of people and businesses who use their SMS Model is as important as the number of members!

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