This Might Work: Locket Wants to Pay You Watch Advertising

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) - Nobody really likes to see advertising on their smartphones. It's an annoyance we try to ignore. An annoyance we're forced to endure.

But, what if someone offers to pay you to consider looking at smartphone ads, what then? That's what the new Locket mobile advertising app is all about.

Locket is an application made for smartphones running on Google's ( GOOG) Android operating system. It promises to pay you a penny for each time you look at your phone's lock screen You don't actually have to look at, read or watch the ad if you don't want to. You get paid for being offered the chance to be enticed.

The app's developers explain the idea in simple terms: "Swipe In! Cash Out!" You turn on your phone and see a full-screen ads on your lock screen If you swipe left you'll see more of the advertisement. If you swipe right you'll be taken directly to your phone's home screen as you normally would. Either way you get paid.

There are limits though. Locket will pay you up to three pennies per hour to use the software. It comes out to a maximum of 72 cents per day (if you stay awake to use your phone 24 hours per day) for possible maximum of $262.80 per year. For just for clearing your start screen. You can ask for your payout in cash, a gift card or direct the funds to be used as a charitable donation.

Company CEO and co-founder Yunha Kim explains "We glance at our phones, on average, 150 times per day which is why we believe the smartphone lock screen is the most valuable unused real estate in advertising."

Locket was founded back in March and has received $500,000 in funding by Green Oaks VC (only three days after the idea was pitched) and a small number of individuals termed "rock stars" who reportedly come from the entertainment and marketing backgrounds.

At this point Locket's employees work out of the same midtown Manhattan apartment where the founding members live. The scene has been described as looking somewhat like what was immortalized in the film "The Social Network" but without Hollywood-imagined perks.

In the official press release, the company says it has already partnered with a number of Fortune 500 companies to advertise on the beta Locket platform. Currently, a handful of undisclosed advertisers have signed on for early trials. More are expected within a month.

But the company isn't desperate. It has rejected potential ads from a number of unnamed companies. Especially those provided by some online advertising networks. Locket co-founder Christopher Crawford told me early software testers didn't like receiving full-screen ads promoting certain dating or "win-a-tablet" Websites.

The Locket app is currently available for downloading in the Google Play store. Next up will be a version for Apple ( AAPL) iOS devices. Crawford added the company's goal is to "hit all smartphones", including Microsoft ( MSFT) Windows phones, as quickly as possible.

--Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's senior technology correspondent.

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