When a little does a lot

Co-founders and brothers Steve and David Hillier.
Co-founders and brothers Steve and David Hillier.

A startup allowing people to rent their computer and smart phone screen out as advertising space for charity has launched today. 

Each day advertisers pay Little Lot to update new advertising wallpapers on people’s electronic devices, with 75 per cent of the money raised then going to the user’s choice of one of 10 charities.

Charities taking part include World Vision, Paw Justice and the Starship Foundation.

Little Lot’s target audience is the young and tech savvy, with the goal being for many people to make a small contribution each day, co-founder David Hillier said.

“We’ve all got busy lives, we don’t always have a lot of spare cash, but what most of us do have is a smart phone or a computer. 

“It’s a new way of giving that costs you nothing, and actually builds a relationship with your chosen charity.”

Little Lot allows users to create a list of topics they are interested in and rate ads as they appear, creating a profile which determines the kind of advertising they see in the future.

“Spray and pray is over. We’re connecting our audiences with content they’ve already told us they’re interested in and eliminating the inefficiencies of traditional media,” Hillier said.

Little Lot is a follow-up project to Donate Your Desktop, with the other co-founders of the original company Bennor McCarthy, Nelson Rayner and David Hiller’s brother Steve all co-founding the new project.

When asked whether Little Lot could be profitable in New Zealand when giving away three quarters of its revenue, Hillier said it could be but it would require a “fairly considerable audience”. 

It would be looking at expanding overseas as New Zealand lacked the population to support a highly profitable business, he said.

The ability for customers to provide feedback on the kinds of ads they like to see is valuable and by adding an element of choice it makes people feel that their privacy and the information they choose to share is being respected, smartphone and tablet advertising specialist Snakk Media’s CEO Mark Ryan said.  

“Putting the wrong ads in front of the wrong people is just a waste of time, it’s a waste of money and it’s upsetting consumers, and brands don’t want that to occur,”.

Little Lot won a Netexplo Top 100 Digital Innovators award in January this year and the software’s development was made possible by a $200,000 seed investment and Ministry of Science and Innovation grant.

Little Lot is currently available on Mac, PC and Android smart phones.