Placed Debuts Location Affiliate Program For Developers Looking To Monetize Without Ads

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Location analytics startup Placed is debuting a new monetization option for mobile devs today, via its Placed Affiliate program. The new system would see mobile apps request that their users opt-in to sharing their anonymized location data with Placed for market research purposes, in exchange for affiliate fees based on both a 7-day and 30-day volume measurement. The more quality location data shared by its users, the more an app stands to make through the program.

It’s similar to traditional affiliate marketing arrangements, with the difference that there’s no overt marketing, advertising or links that users need to click. Instead, they have to respond in the affirmative to a dialog box that pops up asking them their permission to share location data with Placed, after having approved an app to access location information to begin with. Obviously, that’s also a sensitive request, but Placed CEO and founder David Shim says it’s not as intimidating to users as you might expect.

“What we’ve found is that the opt-in rate actually seems to be pretty high,” he said. “Because a lot of these applications are already using location or they’re free apps, where a user knows there’s some kind of trade-off going on, and so a user says ‘Hey, I want to support the app,’ so we’ve measured about 30 million locations in the past day from our pilot pool of clients.”

Placed’s monetization option may have some potential downsides, but the positives might outweigh those for anyone looking at ways in which to monetize their existing free app without sacrificing anything in terms of the user experience. Placed’s new program requires only the initial setup, after which point users won’t even know it’s there.

“This is something brand new that doesn’t impact your in-app experience at all,” Shim said. And now you have another way to kind of monetize your user base, so it should help support the free app community.”

Another advantage for developers, according to Shim, is that even apps that don’t have sky-high engagement can participate, since they need only be opened every so often and don’t need to be kept open long to start earning affiliate revenue with Placed’s new program.

For customers of Placed’s analytics solution, the new data from affiliates will be used to provide comparables across a wider spectrum. That will mean that Placed customers won’t only be able to see how often their own app is used in specific locations, but also how that compares to average across their segment, or across different categories of apps. It’ll be available as a paid add-on to existing service for Placed customers once Placed makes more progress with the Affiliate beta program launching today.

Placed Affiliate is invite-only for the time being, but developers looking to try out this new monetization route can sign up to register their interest. If you do end up joining the program, we (and other TC readers) would be interested in hearing how it affects customer response to your product, as well as how it compares to alternate monetization options like displaying ads in terms of bringing in revenue.