HitBliss, a new service that’s now in Beta, is an advertising tool and content provider that aims to revolutionize the way consumers deal with ads. The HitBliss system features a two-pronged approach: HitBliss Store and HitBliss Earn. The Store is just like any other content platform that sells movies and TV shows, but it has no advertisements. Instead, a separate but affiliated service, HitBiss Earn – dubbed the “Pandora of Advertising” – allows users to earn real credits towards purchasing shows and movies in the Store by watching a series of targeted ads.
HitBliss Earn has several levels of functionality. It permits users to opt into an advertising profile that would allow advertisers to target the user based on gender, name, and location, as well as Internet history to deliver Google-like precision ads. The user can pick and choose the level of targeting, though of course the more data you give, the greater and quicker the credit rewards come your way.
The startup, however, has anticipated the privacy backlash their policies could unleash. They’ve made it very clear that at every step, the consumer is entirely in control of the information they choose to divulge. Users can reveal no information at all and just accrue credits through watching random ads, but they’ll earn credits much slower. As well, any data the user might choose to share is never transmitted to an advertiser or permanently stored; it is exclusively used for that individual HitBliss Earn session.
Once a user opts-in to receive targeted messages, says HitBliss co-founder and VP Sharon Peyer, “the HitBliss app retains the user’s profile information. Then the user’s profile information looks at the advertiser’s criteria… The matching happens locally, within the app.” The only thing advertisers see is whether the user was a match, and if the user clicks through the coupons or offers, they’ll receive more credit. And to ensure that the user stays focused on the ads and doesn’t walk away, they utilize a countdown clock that, once expired, will delete all credit previously earned with the program. It’s like an online focus group: if you’ve opted in, you have to participate to reap the rewards.
Of yet, HitBliss is only available for Mac, PC, Android, and iOS devices, but as the program is only in Beta testing, that’s not entirely surprising. But it’s one of the first apps that makes clear a fundamental advertising premise: Eyes, ears, and especially personal data are worth money; HitBliss gives you that money in the form of TV Shows, Movies, and Games.