#Asia GoGo, read news, and get free talk time and Internet data

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The GoGo app delivers personalised content to users on their phones and rewards them by giving them free talk time for each news article they read

GoGo Co-founders Rajat Gupta and Daman Soni (R)

GoGo Co-founders Rajat Gupta and Daman Soni (R)

It is an open secret that Indian telcos, who have spent billions of dollars to buy spectrum and lay infrastructure, don’t earn much from voice calls or SMSes — especially after the proliferation of free Internet calls and other alternatives such as Skype, WhatsApp etcetera.

So, mobile companies allegedly resorted (and are still resorting) to all kinds of illegal activities that included call dropping and activation of various value-added services (VAS) without the knowledge of the subscriber. This often prompted the miffed subscriber to switch to a different operator.

Fortunately, the telcos got another opportunity to ‘exploit’ the subscriber — Internet data. They began with cheaper data tariffs and made sure that the subscriber got hooked — and got addicted — to popular services such as WhatsApp and Facebook, especially after Internet and smartphone become ubiquitous. Then they went for a killing. They slowly began to increase tariffs, without leaving any options for the subscriber but to keep subscribing to data by paying huge bucks.

Also Read: Why I will not found a startup

But a few young Indian talents sensed a huge potential here. They began to think of ways to provide data without burning a hole in the subscriber’s pocket. As a result of their research and efforts, India saw the launch of a few startups sprouting out, providing data for free in exchange for using their various services.

ReverseData is such an app, which gives you up to 500 MB of Internet data per month for installing and using your favourite apps.

Here’s yet another startup providing free talk time and Internet data to users, not for browsing other apps, but for reading news.

Solving the content discovery problems, too

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GoGo is a smartphone app that delivers personalised content to users on their Android phones and rewards them by giving them free talk time for each news article they read. GoGo’s core proposition is to solve the problem of content discovery for Indian smartphone users and ensure affordability in content access,” says Daman Soni, Co-founder of Gurgaon-based GoGo.

Also Read: Low-cost Internet provider i2e1 nets US$500K led by growX

Soni, former Head of LINE (India and Bangladesh) and Co-founder of PK Online, built the app in November 2015, along with Rajat Gupta, who previously headed user acquisition at LINE.

GoGo is essentially an app that delivers personalised content to users. Here, the user gets rewarded with 500 points by just downloading the app. Every time the users swipes left on a news article to read it in detail, he/she gets 5 points. For every right swipe, the user gets 3 points.

“Now, if the user downloads the apps that are shown in the advertorials, they get 150 to 450 points. Users also get 1,000 points if they refer the app to their friends and if they download it on their phone,” Soni adds.

Besides Reverse Data, there are companies like mCent offering free data/talk time for using their services.

Totally ads-free

“Companies like mCent are entirely ad driven. All that the user sees on the mCent app is ads for other apps. Now imagine this, have you ever bought a magazine or a newspaper just to see 100 per cent ads? Here on the GoGo app, content is the key hook and rewards are secondary. As a company, we will always be focused on delivering quality content backed with rewarded inventory,” explains Soni.GoGo

Additionally, GoGo has developed a platform wherein any content app can embed GoGo SDK and enable engagement inventory in the user’s app, wherein he/she gets rewarded for using the core functionality of the app.

Violating net neutrality?

But doesn’t the app violate the principles of net neutrality? “In fact, GoGo is providing free data for users that can be consumed by any app on the users phone. Today data affordability is an issue. GoGo enables users to earn data by consuming content on GoGo and then using this data to say, browse Facebook or chat with friends on WhatsApp. We are not supporting one service over the other, but merely bringing affordability to the user to access various services that other apps enable on his smartphone,” he elaborates.

“We are a platform that effectively marries content, rewards and monetisation, and our platform can be utilised by any other news app to enable ‘engagement inventory’ wherein users can earn free data by using the news app,” he further notes.

GoGo targets the Millennials with its app, as the company realises that younger population needs easier access to content in a cost effective way. According to Soni, GoGo has already clocked 100,000 downloads without spending a dime on marketing.

The startup aims to reach the 10 million-user mark by December 2016.

Supports multiple regional languages

Unlike other apps which support only English, GoGo offers interfaces in Hindi, Tamil, Bengali, Telugu and Gujarati. “The fact that we have introduced content in vernacular language has increased our customer base in smaller towns and cities. We are focused on the vernacular user base, which is 3 times the size of the English-reading population,” Soni goes on.

As for content, GoGo works closely with leading media publication HT Media (which is also an investor in the startup) and a few unnamed content providers.

Currently a 7-member team, the startup is also planning to go global sometime soon and are putting its partnerships in place.

In addition to HT Media, North Base Media is also a backer of GoGo.

The post GoGo, read news, and get free talk time and Internet data appeared first on e27.

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