Someone submitted a random story earlier on Monday asking us to comment on a company named Sennari, whose claim to fame seems to be that they want to build "loyalty" programs for mobile phones. The person who submitted the story did so without any links to actual coverage about the company, and it seemed a bit more like a promotional post than an informative one (such that it wouldn't be surprising to find out the person who submitted the story was somehow associated with the company). However, it appears that some news is leaking about the company, including the fact that they just raised some cash from some well known VCs to develop this loyalty program. Realistically, the company is just yet another mobile gaming company. The twist is that they want to associate games with mobile operators in a way that builds up loyalty. You play enough games, you win some points and you can get prizes and stuff. The company claims it has a bunch of patents -- which seems pretty questionable. The idea of "loyalty programs" is pretty well established, and just moving it to the wireless world doesn't seem like it should be patentable. More to the point, however, is the question of whether or not this type of loyalty program would work. People change mobile phone service providers because they think their current service sucks. Unless these are really incredible prizes, it seems unlikely that a few trinkets and some games are going to keep people tied to their existing provider if the service quality isn't good or the plans aren't priced competitively. In fact, plenty of studies over the years have shown that loyalty programs aren't particularly helpful if the service sucks. In other words, no matter what you give away, if the things that matter aren't there, that loyalty isn't going to show up.
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