Advertising abhors a vacuum, and the folks at Locket have found a space that was ripe for ad placements: the lock screen on your Android phone or tablet. The company’s new Android app tries to remedy that problem by letting you look at ads every time you turn on your device.
Sure, most people probably wouldn’t choose to put ads on their home screen just for the joy of looking at pictures of pretty people hawking clothing, movies, and food. But Locket provides a pretty good reason to try their app: The company will pay you $0.01 every time you unlock your phone.
Update: Locket has changed its business model, and while you can still earn money by completing actions, basically Locket is now an app designed to put interesting and/or attractive content on your lock screen… which might be payment enough for some folks. Or not.
Well, almost every time. Here’s how the system works:
- Install the app and every time you turn on your device you’ll see an ad (even if it’s just an ad for Locket).
- Swipe the circle to the left to interact with the ad, most often by opening a link in your web browser.
- Swipe to the right to simply unlock your device and make the ad disappear.
- Either way you get paid a penny.
- Locket will only pay you for up to 3 unlocks per hour.
- You’ll need to earn $10 before you get your first payout.
In other words, if you unlock your phone around 20 times a day it’d take nearly 2 months before Locket would send your first payment via PayPal. Oh yeah, and the service is only open to US residents.
That said, it shouldn’t be that hard to make $50 to $100 a year simply by doing what you already do — unlocking your device a bunch of times a day to check your email, make a phone call, surf the web, or play a game.
You might even be able to make enough money over the course of a two year service contract to pay for your next phone upgrade.
On the other hand, Locket might not be for everyone. Here are a few things I noticed after playing with it for a bit:
- Unless you want to unlock your phone twice, you’ll want to disable the default Android lock screen. Otherwise you’ll encounter Locket first, and then the normal lock screen.
- Since there’s no option to use a PIN, pattern, or other security measure with Locket, that means if you want to limit unauthorized access to your phone, you’ll probably have to put up with two lock screens.
- You can’t install widgets, which means if you want to see anything more than the time, date, and an advertisement as soon as you hit the power button on your phone, Locket might not be the best option.
- Locket is running a promotion while in beta where users get $1 for every friend they get to sign up — so don’t be surprised if your friends start spamming you on Facebook and Twitter with Locket invites.
Amazon Kindle and Kindle Fire customers are probably already used to lock screen ads. Amazon’s been using them as a way to help lower the price of its hardware for a few years. But customers can pay $15 to remove those ads if they’d rather not see them.
Locket takes the opposite approach, allowing customers who have already paid for a device to make some extra money by exposing themselves to ads.
Personally I don’t mind the ads on my Kindle, and I’d consider sticking with Locket if it allowed me to view weather data on the lock screen and supported PINs or patterns for security. But without those features, I’ll probably uninstall the app long before I ever make it to my first payday.
While a penny per swipe doesn’t sound like much, it’s possible that Locket could eventually sign up some higher-paying advertisers. If that happens, the company tells ABC News it might increase its payouts to users.