HTC Introduces New “Feature”, Promotions (Sponsored Ads) In BlinkFeed

Editorial / Tech

HTC is a long time Android device manufacturer with a storied past and a stint at the top. In recent years with the spread of smartphones and the increased push from larger companies, combined with some strategic mistakes, HTC has been somewhat marginalized and pushed down the ladder in market share. With the problems that HTC has had as of late they have started to get a little crazy and go after new revenue streams. We’ve seen action cameras, iOS software, virtual reality partnerships, and who knows what else we have in store. Unfortunately there is one thing on the horizon that is very disappointing: promotions in BlinkFeed.

BlinkFeed is HTC’s news/social aggregator built into their custom launcher for Android phones that launched with the HTC One. It takes data from various news sources and social channels and displays them on a scrollable grid. HTC is now launching “promotions” in BlinkFeed as a beta in limited markets like the U.S., U.K., Germany, Taiwan, and China. These promotions will serve up sponsored apps from AdNetworks partners. I would just say read that sentence again but to make sure you do here it is again. These promotions will serve up sponsored apps from AdNetworks partners. Please notice the bolded (my emphasis) words, sponsored ads. I wonder if this will fall under the HTC Advantage banner…



HTC hilariously names this image BlinkFeed Monetization


I want to make sure we are very clear on what exactly HTC is doing. They are selling you a device at normal price, with software that is by default front and center and the thing you will see the most often, and it will contain advertisements that are designed to look just like the other non-advertisement content. On top of all that HTC has the nerve to post this on their company blog and spin it like they are doing you a favor. HTC, you are assaulting me with ads for money and the only thing I am getting in return is the opportunity to see these ads? Yeah, this should really turn things around for the company. Yes, the new promotions in BlinkFeed are opt-out but if they are so great shouldn’t they be able to be left as opt-in? I mean, if they are this good everyone will be rushing to turn the promotions on right? I think not and that is why I am writing this article.

As it stands this is a beta and on a personal level I want HTC to stay around and succeed. However putting ads on my home screen is lunacy. You can’t force ads into my eyes and expect me to like it just like you can’t cut corners on cheaper glass and tell me it’s a feature when my screen shatters. Someone at HTC needs to wake up and end this beta immediately. There’s no way this will do anything other than tarnish their once proud brand even more than it has already been tarnished.

  Source: HTC
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