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ABQ startup will pay you to watch ads

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Eighteen years in advertising turned Adam Greenhood into a true mad man, and now he’s paying for it.

Starting today, Greenhood will pay any New Mexico consumer 50 cents for every 30-second ad they watch on smartphones or mobile devices. Greenhood calls it “Paid Attention,” and advertisers and investors are getting on board.

Ten marketers are participating in a five-month beta test that Greenhood’s new startup, AdWallet LLC, launched on Tuesday. Since January, Angel investors have pumped $750,000 into the company.

AdWallet LLC founder and CEO Adam Greenhood.
Courtesy of Adwallet

Anybody with a New Mexico phone number or zip code can now log onto AdWallet.com to download a user app. After answering a few questions to match users with commercials most likely to appeal to them, ads will start flowing via text messages. If users watch a commercial, accurately answer a question to make sure they paid attention and rate the commercial, 50 cents is automatically credited to their account.

After accumulating $10 in credits, users can transfer the earnings to their bank account, exchange it for a gift card or donate it to a charity. If they share the ad on social media, they earn another 25 cents.

“AdWallet has created something to guarantee true engagement with consumers,” said Michelle Laskowski, marketing director for AdWallet customer MVD Express. “We jumped right on it, because it really turns the tables in terms of how we advertise.”

Greenhood said it’s the next logical step to get consumer attention.

“I thought, rather than ask people to pay attention, what if we paid them for it?” Greenhood said. “Nobody pays attention to ads, not even me. If I’m skipping ads, how can we expect anyone else to do anything different?”

Greenhood’s Eureka! moment came last November after some of his clients at the Albuquerque advertising firm where he worked complained to him about their results. He grumbled about it at home, prompting his wife to ask if he couldn’t pay people pay for their attention. That got the light bulbs burning.

The company is now rolling out a $250,000 billboard and media campaign to get local users to download the app.

Guaranteed, targeted engagement has marketers hyped. An advertiser pays $1 if a user watches an ad but nothing if they don’t. Fifty cents is for AdWallet, 50 cents for users.

“To specifically target key demographics and then measure people’s views, impressions and overall engagement is very exciting,” said AdWallet client Erin Killion of the K2MD ad agency. “With hyper targeting, we can be sure we’re not wasting our clients’ money.”

Marketing campaigns must start with a minimum of 250 user engagements, or a $250 budget, but can go as high as a company wants. With traditional digital campaigns, the same $250 might blanket 1,000 potential consumers, but only a fraction of them would actually watch the ad, Greenhood said.

Very large campaigns are eligible for a 15 percent AdWallet discount.

The company is donating 20,000 free user engagements during the beta period to three nonprofits, valued at $20,000 each for Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, Storehouse New Mexico, and Make a Wish.

Nonprofits can sign up for AdWallet listing to allow users to donate earnings to them, and any marketer can launch their own advertising campaigns through the AdWallet website.

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