Sponsored invites and ads soon making their way to cross-platform BBM

By Bla1ze on 3 Mar 2014 10:00 pm EST

Sponsored invites and ads were always slated to be arriving on BBM and BBM Channels, it was just a matter of when exactly they'd start rolling out that remained unanswered. As it turns out, they're likely coming in the next release according to the latest BBM for Android beta, which also includes the real features we've been waiting for.

About the Ads experience

  • Ads should appear on your device in two different areas: As sponsored invites in the invites section of BBM / As sponsored channel posts in the Updates section of BBM.

As we mentioned when we found out about it, it's a fairly decent way to monetize the service without being too disruptive to the user experience and it seems many folks didn't mind the idea. Whether or not it will be taken so well when it rolls out to the masses remains to be seen but if BlackBerry sticks to their original plan, the ads and invites will be limited with a user never receiving more than 3 sponsored invites in a single month. Hopefully that will be the case or some might get turned off by it.

Next up, let's figure out how to make BBM Money a good service for everyone, everywhere not just in Indonesia.

Topics: BBM Apps

Reader comments

Sponsored invites and ads soon making their way to cross-platform BBM


Not good. I'd rather choose to pay $1-2 per year for using BBM, than watching ads.
Also, sponsored ads/invites on channels will not allow newcomers at BBM channels to get recognition, become popular. Big players with money will be all over BBM. Bad move.
Better buy a product, than becoming one

or a single one.
free, and ads
payed, no ads.
Seriously, you cannot trust targeted marketing. Your activities are tracked, and based on that, you search results, you are provided with ads. Thats creepy, and because of this, i ran away from android. I don't want Blackberry to become another Google.

It would hurt adoption. Why would people pay for a service they can get for free? These ads are interesting, they kind of remind me of sponsored tweets. They're there but neatly tucked away.

Posted via CB10

I would rather pay a couple of bucks for myself and people that I wanted in my "BBM Network" for the first year and have them pay after that.

You have to reintroduce people to BBM to get them addicted.

BBM Video better be as good cross platform as it is BB10 phone to BB10 phone.

CB10 from the Z30

Paid ads is very important for the future of BB and BBM.
All services that demand bandwidth, and resources to maintain the activity, must have a way to pay for it.

The UI is currently not good enough to convince new users (*especially* the updates section). It is not clear enough and requires too many clicks (5 to open your own channel!!). Now add some more disturbing stuff before cleaning up the UI and you will understand why you cannot attract new users.

The smart players wait for success before monetizing...

Posted via CB10

It's a way for monetization, however I hope that those who are already paying for BES can opt out of this.

Posted via CB10

3 per month is pretty modest. Looking forward to monetizing BBM in relatively seamless ways like this.

Aka S.Jizzle Z30STA100-5/

As long as they don't get in my way. But why don't you just let a third party make your app too while you're at it. And then make a paid version to get rid of them. And then you can have nobody using bbm.

Posted via CB10

Hopefully BB10/BBOS/BES users can get out of it. I don't think i read it correctly and could be stating the obvious haha.

I can see people getting angry from constant invites every month even if it's only limited to 3. Or people who look through their updates constantly. But who knows :P At least they are trying to make money off their prize possession.

An idea would be: users have the option to pay 1$ per year to get rid of advertisements. 1$ per year doesn't seem to be stopping Whats App users and it would be optional instead of mandatory :P So, at least they would have the option. Like I would but shouldn't since I have a BB10. Be nice to your prosumers Blackberry!!

Don't you have the option of deleting your "invites" if don't want to view them? And isn't Updates an option to view.? IMHO the two ways of having these on BBM are not intrusive.

You get notifications pushed to your phone every time you get an invite. So it will Vibrate or ring every time someone adds you just like a message would.

People use BBM Updates now like a Facebook homepage wall because of Channels. It might be different since i live in Waterloo but no one wants to see advertisements when they are checking their recent updates. Everyone checks there Updates here and I can see a lot of people getting annoyed about it.

One AD per week is perfect but have no ADs on key Holidays egg. Dec 24th , 25th, Jan 1st etc

Posted via CB10

That's my question also. I am hoping not but if so well 3 a month is hardly even noticeable.

Keep The Faith  BlackBerry Q10 

Screw this shite! I paid for my blackberry. There's a reason I don't carry a (much) cheaper android phone.

Posted via CB10

Will BlackBerry users be subjected to the ads? It would be nice if this was something imposed on iOS and Android phones. Having a BlackBerry should keep you from having to see ads.

BBM Channel: The Group Ride C00055B7C

Exactly. I'm thinking this is what they're going for seeing that it showed up on Android devices in Beta.

Posted via CB10

BlackBerry no ads,
iPhone and Android users are used to ads anyway, so that won't hurt to much, or let them pay a small fee.

I mean, as soon a you get BBM video, this rocks, but bandwidth has to be paid for. Well worth the trade-off.

iPhone for me? Scr... ahem Q that! (posted from the latter)

When i read the title i was so turned off by the idea. But appearing in updates and invites only 3 times a month isnt bad at all. Maybe even once a week is alright

Seems a bit early to already roll out a monetization strategy, hopefully it goes over well. At least it doesn't seem like it will be too intrusive.

Posted via CB10

Thank you for mentioning BBM Money. I hope they're moving forward with this, and the experience has been good so far as I've yet to hear much about it since it was first announced.


I bought a BlackBerry so I didn't have to be subjected to direct advertising. If this feature it toggle-able,as in able to be turned off, I will be happy. If not, I will have to resort to SMS or email. I want to choose what advertising I am exposed to, I do it daily by not subscribing to media channels such as TV or magazines. I will choose what I want and will educate myself as to what I need. I chose BlackBerry.

Posted via CB10

Waiting for the BGR article titled

"BBM chats to be spammed to death with intrusive ads in next version BBM"

Posted via CB10

I'm sure that will be posted first thing tomorrow morning along with a bunch of other tired ass anti-BBRY propaganda. SMDH

Posted via CB10 from my amazing Q10

What difference would it make? You have the option of not turning on your "Update" and deleting the sponsored invites, anyway.

Wow I didn't think they would monetize already. Seems a bit premature considering the adoption rate has fallen off a cliff since initial release of cross platform. You would think they would try and get the experience good before these kind of things

I agree, far to early to even mention this. Stickers is a good idea, and sponsored ads in the search function wouldn't be so bad, but invites! Hell no.

They're going to big to soon, get the app subscriptions up first and improve the user experience on iOS and Android.


i agree. adoption has dropped off drastically, and i don't think this is the time to be saying you're just looking to make money from the platform. good luck to them. i don't think this will encourage people to adopt it any further.

If they bring the adds to the BlackBerry version of BBM that is a slap in the face. I invested in a BlackBerry not to be made money off of. Android, ios, and soon to be Microsoft BBM users should only have the adds on their version of BBM. They did not invest in BlackBerry so should have their BBM filled with spam!!!

Posted via CB10

Yeah but how much are companies going to pay to have their ads subjected to only 20-30 million people instead of the entire BBM user base of 80-90 million. You can pretty much guarantee that ads will be coming to BB10.


I don't give a s**t about how many total users advertising companies want to target. BlackBerry should respect it's BlackBerry device user base and not f**k them over.

Posted via CB10

I really hope you're right, but you can bet that companies aren't going to pay without the BB10 User base included. Hence BlackBerry won't be making any money on Channels and operating at a loss.

That said, if they infect my hub with invites I will be seriously unimpressed, I already deleted my LinkedIn account because of contact invites driving me crazy.


Ads and invites are two different things. And I don't get any ads in my hub, or sponsored invites. I try to keep my hub as clean and organized as possible. I don't get any sponsored invites from any of my other social sites.


While I'm all about supporting BBRY by buying their devices and apps...I certainly don't want my BBM to be littered with Intrusive ads. Just sayin'

Go BlackBerry!!

Posted via CB10 from my amazing Q10

Why? Don't you see ads every day in some sort of form? Channels are fun. You have total control on what you see and follow.

I'm definitely not a fan of sponsored ads or invites cluttering up my BBM. I support BlackBerry by buying BlackBerry devices! Keep the spam away from my Z10!

Well I rather prefer to pay a premium to NOT to get ads,thats the reason I don't like android,ads are annoying :/

Posted via CB10

I'd think it would be better timed if they'd get cross platform BBM video calling out first before the money grab.

Posted via CB10

Yeah it's fine but being a BlackBerry user you should be targeted less by advertisements and BES customers shouldn't have to deal with ads at all. Also the adds should be placed in such a way that they rent so obvious and up in the users face or people will stop using it... like people have with FaceBook... should be more like Twitter.

This is crap! At least wait till the user base gets higher!!

There are still features missing in BBM and it's still buggy and they put ads!!

Posted via CB10

I don't mind targeted invites that are classy and relevant. I'm open to new products and ideas.

Posted via CB10 on Z10

Anything to make the BBRY experience better for those cross-platform folk. And its a good idea to help BBRY gain some $$$.

Get the Billions back asap. Not a problem at all. It's amazing this didn't happen sooner.

Posted via CB10

Last time I checked, I can't delete BBM from my BB10 device, can I?. It's a default app. I don't care if it's one invite every two years. I paid for the OS and hardware, the fact that I must receive ads from the out of the box experience pisses me off.
This is my personal opinion, but I hate being in a commercialized environment, where every company is shoving their product down your throat.
Here's a suggestion for BlackBerry, instead of sending us those invites why not have channel suggestions appear on the featured channels tab?

Posted via CB10

I did read it but I'm just implying that I shouldn't be receiving the invites in the first place and turning off BBM updates altogether would mean that I won't have updates about my contacts statuses nor the channels I'm subscribed too.

Posted via CB10

I just want to echo some thoughts others have posted:

1.) Do not impose these ads on anyone with a BlackBerry device. Yes, I know this seems counter intuitive, but I believe BlackBerry users should be rewarded in some way for keeping BBM a viable IM client. At the very least, provide an opt in/out option for BlackBerry users so those who wish to contribute to the monetization of BBM can, but also not force it onto those who don't. I am a BlackBerry fan first and foremost, I did buy a BlackBerry to avoid the plagued ad-ridden OS that android has become. BlackBerry, do not give the collective finger to your loyal base. I will be investigating other IM options or revert back to SMS if you go ahead and do this to BlackBerry users. And yes, this will factor into my decision on buying another BlackBerry device or not.

2.) While BlackBerry has notoriously been late to the punch as of late, I do believe they are a bit early on this one. Why not wait for the full package to be there before putting ads out there? Why not make BBM impossible to live without on your Android or iOS phone first before placing ads? I would say video chat could be that X factor in hooking clients.

3.) For those who will be receiving ads, ensure that these invites do not cause one's hub to become alerted or have a BBM notification vibration / sound.

Suffice to say I know no one likes ads, but I also understand the need to monetize your diamond on the rough. If done properly, this could be a success and a source or revenue. Done incorrectly, you will systematically alienate the Android and iOS users you did pull in recently and completely piss off your loyal BlackBerry users who kept this company, and IM client afloat.

I do not agree with #1. BlackBerry users already have the option of using or not using BBM. And you should be able to delete the sponsored invites without even reading or viewing them, plus you can turn off your "Updates" or have the "Updates" without selecting channels.
I kinda agree with #2. But time will tell
Finally, I don't understand why #3 is an issues. My invites don't show up on the Hub right now. Hopefully BBRY will change things.

I completely respect your opinion wincyUt, but I still stand by my opinions.

In regards to #1, you are correct, no one is forcing us to use BBM. My point is, BBM remained a viable IM client ONLY because loyal BlackBerry users kept it alive. No other reason, plain and simple. There would be no cross platform BBM today if it were not for loyal BlackBerry users. Why not reward us for that in some small way? Opting in or out of ads would provide the best of both worlds in my opinion, even if only for the BlackBerry users.

Time will indeed tell about point #2. I am worried they were a bit too overzealous with the ads implementation.

Finally #3 is an issue as people are unsure of how this advertising will be implemented exactly. As it currently stands, perhaps you are right, invites will not show in the hub; that being said, these are a whole different beast. Who knows if advertising invites and the like will appear silently in the background? Who knows if they will be up in your face and cause a BBM notification? Remember, regular invites are completely different from advertisement invites at this point.

At any rate, I can only hope BlackBerry does this correctly, otherwise, like I said, this is going to make me reconsider my use of BBM.

I'm totally on the same page with you on #2. And I respect your opinion on #1 and #3 but let's agree to sort of disagree. Haha. Cheers.

BBM needs to be monetized in some way. I am not averse to either an annual amount, or some advertising. Advertising can also be very useful if done right. I spend a fair amount of money each year. Information that helps me find products I need st best prices is a good thing. If not it is a huge annoyance.

Posted via CB10

If BBM needs to be monetized then BBM on native devices should be exempt. I don't need to be supporting BlackBerry with ads when I've bought a $450 device from them.

I've supported the company by buying their goods - now don't send me spam for using it.

Posted via Z10

Unsecured android apps and now BBM-spam will damage Blackberry's brand.
I chose BlackBerry to avoid the spamming and mining of consumer devices... will choose something else for the same reason.

Posted via CB10

If this comes to BBM on BB10, I'm dumping my Q10 and switching to Windows Phone.

Why do BlackBerry follow one good idea with a bad one?

Hmm, I was seriously considering switching back to BlackBerry after the good things Chen has been saying, but I know my wife won't, and if she's subjected to ads as a BBM cross platform user then maybe this is a reason for me to stay Android and continue to use the superb Google Hangouts instead.

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Unfortunately BlackBerry can't make everyone happy. Some of us would like to see BlackBerry in the black again, so that we can continue to enjoy our sweet BlackBerry experience into the foreseeable future.

To counter the views of others, BBM DOES NOT need to be monetised - Google is the ad company (and even they don't go near ads for their messaging system), BlackBerry is the security company - if BlackBerry need to monetise anything it should be this (as they used to with BIS for example).

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Great so now we have a choice between getting spammed (BBM) or having our data sold off to Facebook (Whatsapp).

Channel posts are already utterly useless because of the incessant spamming by "users" and now this?

At least add a payed option to remove adds then.

Posted on the awesome Blackberry Q5

If you would rather have your phone number and conversation hijacked by the crapbook, you are most welcome to switch. I don't mind the channel invitation. In fact, I might find something interesting.

For your own enjoyment, in future discussing with people; Valiant battling against strawmen, and attempts at diversion, only ever serves to reflect badly upon oneself.
No snark intended - I just couldn't come up with a better way to tersely phrase it.

If you want me to expand on the reasoning behind my conclusion, I could, but given your initial response, I am pretty sure it would fall on meticulously covered ears.

I am on the side of NO ads! In addition to my purchase of numerous BB handsets, I would rather pay NOT to receive ads if it is critical to BB's survival. Tired of my data being mined parsed and dissected in order to annoy me with meaningless, annoying advertising.

^^^ this

We've paid our dues by buying their phones. Why are we being given ads? That should be reserved for other OS devices which have given BlackBerry nothing.

Posted via Z10

With the ER coming 03/28,more good news on the ability to monetize BBM,BB is a different company now we could be in for some surprises as the street acknowleges this.It's all good.

Dont like the ad idea that much. To earn, finally introduce BBM money and charge a small fee for any transaction made like paypal does. I see lots of potential to monetize with an offering like this.

Posted via CB10

It may be an obvious question but what will I be "invited" to? Will it be inviting me to join a channel? If so 3 a month doesn't bother me as I can just say 'no'. Hopefully once a user has said no, the same product won't try to invite them again. There may even be some product channels I want to follow but haven't seen.
What I think they do need to do though is to make it easier to find user created channels we might be interested by having categories.

Posted via CB10

I guess I'm in the minority in thinking that I wouldn't mind having a few channels suggested to me every now and then. I find it hard to discover new channels that would interest me

Very simple. Don't use it. Does you BBM automatically open when you turn on your phone; does it default to BBM? :)

bad new! I don't think we need the bad habits of android and ios phones: idiot ads on every place... really really bad

I really don't mind. In fact I like a few ads. With all the sirius radio and PVRs I don't see enough. However I turned off the rolling Stones website yesterday because between every 3 picture was the same ad. So as long as there's not too many and I don't see the same ad over and over again, I'll be happy

Posted via CB10 on ZED10

Good way to alienate new BBM users....at least provide a paid version with no ads.

I can't stand ads in apps.

Posted via CB10

Monetizing BBM is good news for BlackBerry :)

But I see you didn't subsribe to the 'Creative Ads' channel, too bad!^^

I would pay for no adds.
I hate adds.
And while on on it I would be happy to have a basic bbm with no stickers and channels

I am happier paying for a tried-and-tested product to get rid of ads than I am paying up-front for an unknown. I am also happier paying on a voluntary basis, as an "upgrade", than I am being compelled, as for example WhatsApp after a year. I think these feelings are quite common.

Z10 STL100-1 ( and PlayBook (

I don't want no ads on my phone i bought my BlackBerry not to be any walking billboard

Taste the Fruity Goodness of a BlackBerry

The day an ad appears on the BBM on my Galaxy Note 3 is the last day it will be there. I have 2 other choices (Hangouts and WhatsApp) that do not require me to be subjected to ads.

okay cross platform Use, GREAT that's the way to go about it

Taste the Fruity Goodness of a BlackBerry

One of the things I love about BlackBerry is BBM. It's a pretty significant, if not a major, reason that myself, my colleagues, and a number of family members have been BlackBerry users for years.

All of my accessories are BlackBerry (except one HDMI cable), I try to buy exclusively B4BB apps, and I purchase a fair amount of media from BlackBerry World. I'm pretty sure that on a day-to-day basis, I do more BlackBerry promoting in my area than BlackBerry does. In other words, I support the hell out of BlackBerry.

Keep the ads out of BBM. I don't care if it starts out as 3 fairly-easy-to-ignore ads a month. You're delusional if you don't think that it will eventually get as bad as YouTube. Remember when YouTube first started coming out with ads? You could immediately click to skip ad. Next came the time delayed click-to-skip. Then the unskippable ads. Then the ads in the middle of what you're watching, like it's f***ing network television.

I'm pretty fed up with advertising in general. I can, however, understand services that I get to use for 'free' using advertising to pay the bills. Fine. But I paid for BBM when I bought my BlackBerry. DON'T SPAM ME!

Posted via CB10

Excellent. We all want BlackBerry to thrive. Whether or not this us the best model remains to be seen, but BBM must be monetised somehow.

Z10 STL100-1 ( and PlayBook (

They shouldn't be any adds for BBM for BlackBerry. We already paid to get the best smartphone ;)

Posted via CB10

Bad bad, I got a lot of people to bbm by security arguments. In app advertisement normally means that the app owner analyses your app and your app content, j this case the messages I wrote. That is in acceptable and I will leave bbm and maybe BlackBerry and also will tell my contacts to leave. They will think I am crazy, but we have to fight for our privacy! Maybe I will start to send old school letters by postal service :)

Posted via CB10

This is just in a Beta version on Android right? I can't blame them for testing the waters, and I encourage a Beta version for BB10 so they can get the feedback they need to see that sponsored invites and updates are not the way to go.

Ads in the search and features tab would be ok with me, and may even come in useful. Just keep any ads inside of the Channels tab. There should be nothing in Invites, Updates, Contacts, Chats or Groups tabs. This goes for all platforms, not just BB10.

Also if sponsored Channels are able to send me invites, does that mean their going to have my Pin?

Ps, BBM Team, can you please fix the search function in Channels in your next update please?


While we knew ads were coming, i just don't think right now is the time to put ads on BBM. They need to delivery a product that is by far superior to the competition. I think as soon as BBM Video and Sharing are available for cross-platform, it would be enough reason to include ads. Right now, BBM isn't far ahead to justify ruining the experience and expect people to keep on using it when there's other options out there.

The day an advertisement is pushed to my BlackBerry in any form is the day I sell it and move on.

Point blank: BlackBerry would no longer hold any value over other platforms and devices; I can do my email and SMS on my old feature phone just fine...

I use a BlackBerry for privacy, security, and because I don't buy into the ad culture. Go ahead and throw away a customer by throwing away what used to be BlackBerry core values.

It's hard to get people to download BBM as it is...this will totally alienate any ios and android user. there are simply too many options out there that offer the same or better functionality.

Posted via CB10

I disagree. Adds are good and will stimulate transaction within BBM which can be good for BBM. Its a matter of how it is presented. Don’t do it the way Android does it. don't overlay content with an add and trick the user. Rather, place the add within a Channel as a channel post. Let it blend in as a post without breaking the flow.

Posted via CB10

No matter how you slice it, it is still an ad and what's troublesome is the fact that these are targeted ads, which means our secure BBM network is now going to be mined by BlackBerry

Posted via CB10

My Freema download is looking like a good investment. Well worth a try for real secure messaging with no ads.

Posted via CB10

I don't mind the adds. It should appear as full post within a channel. I would love to promote and be paid for an add that appears in my channel. I should have control over which category of adds appear as a post in my channel. Bring on the adds Blackberry

Posted via CB10

I consider myself an Advertising advocate. there's nothing wrong with ads. People are complaining ads without thinking thw people behind those ads that are feeding mouths. I mean, cmon people, grow up

Posted via CB10