BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) today confirmed that it will be introducing sponsored content into BBM Channels, but promises BBM Chats are untouchable. BlackBerry said that recently it has started pushing sponsored content to some of their external beta testers. They wanted to set the record straight from the start and that BlackBerry is focused on ways of helping brand partners drive community growth. BBM Chats will not be touched.
Within BBM Channels, BlackBerry Ltd (NASDAQ:BBRY) business partners can build their communities and provide a new social network for those in their communities. BlackBerry said that they have discussed before about promoting content for BlackBerry partners but it was clear that this content will never affect the chat and sharing experience.
BlackBerry has made it clear, they will not insert sponsored ads into BBM chats with families and friends. A measured approach will be taken to connect BBM Channel users with content they might like from BBM Channel business partners and owners.
BlackBerry also said that there will be three ways to promote BBM Channels content in BBM. There will be only select “premier opportunities” and the amount of content pushed to BBM communities will be strictly controlled.
BBM Channel owners will have the ability to secure space on the Featured Channels tab to help promote their channel. As this is the landing page for BBM Channels, so more likely a featured ad space.
To help BBM Channel owners grow their channels, and help BBM Channels users find relevant, interesting channels, we’re offering channel owners the ability to invite BBM users to join their channel.
Within the Updates tab in BBM, we will allow BBM Channel owners to place sponsored posts alongside updates from your BBM Contacts and the BBM Channels you are already subscribed to. In the spirit of being open and transparent, these sponsored posts will be clearly labeled.
BBM users will have control which channel owners have the ability to present sponsored content in users updates.
BlackBerry emphasized the importance of user privacy and how it being a top priority. When users first open BBM Channels, they are asked for their age, location, and gender. BlackBerry promises that “At no time is personally identifiable information about any BBM Channel user viewable by any channel owners or advertisers”.
This is definitely a first step for BlackBerry to find ways to monetize BBM and the same personal vs work balance introduced with BlackBerry BB10 devices is also in play with BBM.