ADOTAS – Ever think, “Free WiFi at McDonalds is too good to be true?” Apparently, JiWire had the same thought. The location-based mobile marketing company announced yesterday it has devised a way for advertisers to offer an simple trade: You watch an ad (or download a white paper or sign up for their newsletter), consequently registering the location of your mobile device, and they give you free WiFi access. The program is called Mobile Ads for Access.
But just in case you’re worried that the suggestion that there’s a sneaky tradeoff, the consumer is still getting the long end of the stick. Engage for 20 seconds to a minute with an advertisement, get free WiFi for as long as you want it. It’s like the pre-roll ads on Hulu –it’s reasonable to trade some time for a product or service, like a show or web access.
The WiFi is distributed in “premium locations” according to a press release from JiWire in which David Staas, interim CEO, said, “As mobile advertising matures, solutions need to go beyond the standard banner to drive engagement. By offering mobile consumers a value exchange, brands can make mobile advertising useful, creating a win-win for both consumer and brand.”
The strategy was developed because JiWire, which has offered a similar service strictly on laptops for some time now, noticed that in the first quarter of 2012, 45 percent of public web connections were done via a mobile device. What’s more, the user can share the ad to social media accounts when it’s over. Staas continued, “We created Mobile Ads for Access with [value exchange] in mind, and by tying in social media, brands can maximize their exposure with a solution that combines social, mobile, and location into one experience.”
JiWire partnered with such giants as Comcast, British Airways, and Hyatt to bring the initiative to fruition. It will be interesting to see if this model sticks and spreads to places like Panera, McDonalds, and Starbucks, which currently offer wifi for free without ads, but with an Acceptable Use Agreement.