BlackBerry’s BBM Stickers are selling well and you shouldn’t be surprised

It’s a proven revenue strategy

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Tempting though it may be to poke fun at BlackBerry’s latest revenue source—stickers—they do appear to be selling well in a couple key markets. And by stickers I don’t mean the kind children paste on their binders. No, these are BlackBerry Messenger stickers: essentially, giant emoticons, which have actually been hugely popular in Asia. And it’s there and Africa where early sales of BlackBerry’s stickers, which launched earlier this week, have been strong.

According to Forbes, BBM Stickers, which come in $2 packages, are selling particularly well in markets like Indonesia and South Africa. For a closer look at the numbers, click here. These so-called stickers come in all forms, from yellow smiley faces to WWE superstars and Shaun the Sheep. Yes, they even have The Undertaker.

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But don’t consider this a bold move for BlackBerry. The company is simply following in the footsteps of BBM’s competitors. More and more, messaging apps have been cashing in on paid-for stickers. Jon Russell, writing for The Next Web out of Bangkok, explains that stickers have become the norm in Asia, having been introduced by all the major messaging apps. Even Israel-based Viber, which in February sold for $900 million to Rakuten, a major Japanese e-commerce firm, jumped on the bandwagon late last year. The logic is simple: Build a critical mass of users with a free app, and then offer them treats for forking out extra cash. It’s a microtransaction business model, used by the likes of FarmVille and Candy Crush Saga, which have certainly flourished here in the West.

In short, BlackBerry is coming late to the game, though it’s understandable why. BBM initially existed as a reason to own a BlackBerry, but fewer and fewer people own BlackBerrys these days. The company decided to salvage BBM by turning it into a free app for iPhones and Androids (and CEO John Chen recently confirmed BBM will be coming to Windows Phone as well). The obvious question then is, if people aren’t buying BlackBerrys, how does BBM make BlackBerry money? Enter stickers.

Stickers may or may not ever become big in North America (QR codes, for example, while huge in Asia, never caught on here), but considering the amount of resources it requires to bundle together a few illustrations, it’s hard to imagine this move will do anything but help the company’s bottom line. And while BlackBerry has other plans to help monetize BBM, like ads and a money transfer service, its silliest-seeming one will likely play a key role. Line, for example, a Japanese-based messaging service, earned $31.5 million from stickers in Q3 last year—about 20% of its revenue.

4 comments on “BlackBerry’s BBM Stickers are selling well and you shouldn’t be surprised

  1. Who on earth buys stickers!? Not of anyone I know buys stickers!.. Its a complete waist of time and effort! Nobody likes them and nobody ever uses them! And 2 Dollars for a pack… Wow that’s a lot of money for what 5 or 15 stickers. The app so called ”BBM” is no longer the way it used to be… its lost its awesomeness as a social app… the first time BBM came for apple and android it was perfect! Absolutely the way it was on a normally BlackBerry. And now they just ruined the app, made it incredibly huge! And takes up so much ram that with a phone of 1gb ram it fills the ram up more and more constantly making the phone almost unusable… However this wasnt the case when it didnt have the stickers added to it… Nobody wants the stickers! JUST READ THE COMMENTS PEOPLE ARE WRITING ON THE PLAY SORE AND ON THE APP STORRE! The development team of BBM does not listen to what the people want of the app… Only about what they can do to get money out of it… And the constant rate me popup annoys everyone! I have rated it but i still get that annoying popup! They have the Google play store adds popping up now too… And now the unofficial adds??? (The ones that tend to be known as the virus adds) SERIOUSLY?! With every update since the stickers came the BBM app just keeps getting worse, more and more unuser-friendly, more ram eating and bigger and bigger in storage space!

    PS. Stickers where FaceBooks Idea… Maybe stop copping them…
    And Since the Stickers came from FaceBook, Why don’t we leave it as FaceBook’s… (Stickers only work on FaceBook and FAILS on any other apps)

    Thank You.