Verizon today announced FreeBee Data, its new sponsored data service. FreeBee Data is launching today in beta form, so companies can sign up to have their apps and content be a part of the program.
Verizon’s program consists of two sponsored data offerings. FreeBee Data 360 is available today and enables the provider to make chunks or all of their content available without data charges. FreeBee Data will launch on January 25 and will let the providers offer pay-per-click content, which users will be able to identify by spotting the bee logo that you see below. The first providers to offer FreeBee Data will be AOL, GAMEDAY, and Hearst Magazines, who will offer sponsor content for 1,000 test Verizon users.
The goal of FreeBee Data is to give providers a way to get their content in front of users without making them use their data allotment. Providers can sponsor things like video, audio, and app downloads, giving them several different ways to market their content to Verizon customers.
Verizon isn’t the first carrier to try sponsored data. AT&T has been testing sponsored data for two years now, but it’s still in a testing phase. Both AT&T and Verizon will likely test out their sponsored data programs to see how popular they are with users and what the general reception to them is before full-on launching them to the public. There’s also the fact that there are critics of these programs that say they violate net neutrality, which is another thing for AT&T and Verizon to consider.
What do you think of these sponsored data programs?