Having been applauded at launch for its innovative idea of an ad-supported MVNO, Blyk is coming under increasing scrutiny by potential advertisers as the company fails to attract the anticipated user base. Given that media buyers think in terms of millions when it comes to new (digital) media, the 30,000 reported Blyk users must look somewhat slim--although the company insists that it's on target to hit 100,000 by this September. However, critics are pointing to the issue of the SIM-free handsets that Blyk sells. These units cost anywhere from €50 up to €370--the kiss of death for the average Blyk target audience of 16-24 years who generally expect a free, subsidised handset. There are also rumours that kids are buying into Blyk but then turning off the advertising messages which they are supposed to opt into. Certainly, every move that Blyk makes is being closely followed by existing mobile operators. The thought is that, if the ad-supported model works, then the larger operators will quickly steal the concept and offer the same deal to their own customers.