With the site charging CPMs of $4 for run-of-network banners in the U.S., that amounts to an estimated $400,000 worth of mobile advertising. The company said Wednesday that a poll of more than 1,000 of its users showed that 81% wanted to support financially imperiled U.S. automakers.
"Many itsmy.com community members from U.S. cities such as Detroit that are now suffering the impacts of the economic crisis love the idea to support the people and companies with personal actions like car advertising on their personal mobile homepage," according to a statement from the company, based in Munich, Germany and New York.
The company says its mobile-only social network has 2.5 million registered users and 4.5 million mobile Web pages that include member profiles and other types of user-generated content.
To sign up for the free ads, itsmy.com said auto manufacturer marketing units or agencies should simply contact the company via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and send the mobile creatives and fill out the insertion order. The inventory offered for campaigns running between January and March 2009 will be split among all applicants, according to itsmy.com's statement.
The announcement did not identify specific automakers that would be eligible for the program. But it did say "carmakers have been amongst the best mobile advertisers at itsmy.com in the past." Itsmy.com did not respond to media inquiries Wednesday about the ad giveaway.
But the effort can certainly be viewed in part as a way to promote mobile advertising more broadly. Mobile ad network AdMob similarly gave away $1 million in mobile advertising last July in order to help spark interest in new customized units it developed for the iPhone.
For its part, General Motors has acknowledged that it spends about one-third of its $3 billion marketing budget on online advertising, search and other digital platforms.