Commercials on Your Cell?

You had to know it was coming. As soon as your favorite television shows and events became available on your mobile phone, commercials couldn’t be too far behind.  This time, however, watching advertisements might pay off if you’re paying attention. 

Virgin Mobile USA plans to announce a way that people can talk for no money at all. They will, however, have to pay with a chunk of their attention.

The program, called SugarMama, lets people earn one minute of talking time by watching 30-second commercials on a computer or receiving text messages on their phones, then answering questions to prove they were, in fact, paying attention. 

Granted, we’re just talking text messages here, but how soon before full-fledged TV-style ads start coming to you via your mobile phone?

It’ll be interesting to see how well this pans out. Industry analysts suggest that anyone who’s "too cheap to buy a minute" probably can’t afford an Xbox (one of the products to be advertised), but Virgin says that the program will put a youth market that’s already inundated with advertisements "in control" of what they see and how they respond. 

The only problem I see is the unanswered question of just when and how often these advertisements arrive? it’s one thing to be interrupted by a phone call. It’s another to be interrupted by an advertisement?