July 19, 2013 — -- According to the data, most look at their phone's lock screen more than a hundred times a day. With a new app, every one of those looks or swipes could put some money in your pocket.
The catch? You've got to plaster your phone's lock screen with advertisements.
Locket, which launched on Thursday for Android phones, turns the front of your phone into a billboard. You put in your age, gender and location and it feeds you relevant ads. Every time you swipe to see more information about the ad the company will pay you one penny.
Right now Locket caps it at three cents an hour. If you were to look at three ads every hour for 12 hours a day you'd make 36 cents a day. Multiply that by the days in a year and you could make about $130 for the year. That money gets saved into a Locket account within the app and when users want to redeem the cash they can get it through PayPal.
The company is working on ways for users to redeem via a gift card or give it to a charity. Users can redeem cash once they hit the $10 mark. You also get $1 for referring a friend.
It might not seem like a huge pay off, but Yunha Kim, the 24-year-old co-founder of the company, says that with other advertisers that one-cent cap could be increased. She also says the idea goes beyond just paying users: it about surfacing good, relevant and useful advertising to people when they need it.
"At first many people say 'I have enough ads in my life,' but as soon as they see the application and the beautiful ads they don't see them as ads," Kim told ABC News.
The company is working with Fortune 500 companies on creating attractive mobile ads and has rejected some advertisers for ones that don't meet their standards. Kim wouldn't disclose the names of some of the first advertisers, but when we tried out the application we were shown two ads from AXE, the male body spray, and one from Locket itself. Locket is run by six people and has received funding from Great Oaks Venture Capital and other private investors.
Other companies have had similar ideas about taking over the front of devices with ads. Amazon's Kindles are available with what the company calls "Special Offers," which include a series of geo-targeted ads. Those ads bring down the cost of the device itself. Facebook's Android Home software also takes over the home screen of Android phones with Facebook images and updates and will include advertisements at some point.
While the idea of replacing a photo of a family member or pet with an ad might seem odd to most, Kim feels that ads on the homescreen can be very useful to some. "You're not getting anything from seeing ads everywhere," Kim said. "We can show you things like the latest movies and tell you what's available at a discount around you. Our play is about targeting you better and giving you better ads, while also giving you some pocket money."