A new startup out of Palo Alto, CA has the unique intention of utilizing social media “virtual currency” to allow users on Facebook to complete third-party offers in exchange for free pre-paid wireless airtime.
The startup, Embee Mobile, has launched a Facebook application dubbed “Embee Mobile Minute Wallet,” whereby mobile subscribers can earn, spend, manage and share prepaid mobile credits and “top-up” when they’re running low by completing various offers and surveys, shopping at predetermined Online retailers, watching movie trailers and product commercials and more within the Facebook app.
When users login to the Embee dashboard on Facebook, they can click the “Paycheck” tab to be taken to all available third-party offers. Once complete, the so-called “virtual currency” is credited to that user, and once enough has been accrued, the user can redeem for pre-paid minutes on most of the national well-known pre-paid mobile providers. So far, Embee works with 30 US-based pre-paid providers, including AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Boost Mobile, Virgin and others.
The service is aimed squarely at frugal pre-paid mobile subscribers willing to fill out surveys and quizzes to save money on airtime, and the company itself was founded by a group of students at UC-Berkley’s Hass School of Business. Nearly one-fifth of mobile subscribers in the U.S. are prepaid, and the total U.S. prepaid market is estimated to be worth $15.8 billion. Frugality is a major attribute to many consumers in this market, and Embee is attempting to capitalize on it.
Utilizing Facebook as a distribution platform was a smart strategic move on Embee’s part. Utilizing the social aspect and integrating virtual currency — that in itself has gained massive popularity on Facebook — will most likely prove very popular with users. Though still very much in its infancy, Embee will be one to keep an eye on.