Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Avon calling?

Since I've gotten into the habit of blogging about industry news of interest, I thought I should mention this article from the NY Times. I've seen this story in three news sources today: "Company Will Monitor Phone Calls to Tailor Ads."

In a nutshell, Pudding Media is an internet phone service (like Skype) that's supported by advertising. Calls are free for the user - but the catch is that voice recognition technology listens to your call and serves up ads on your screen related to what you're talking about on the phone. Again, I say - creepy.

Looks like this is the future of advertising, though. I found out in reading this article (apparently I'm behind the times) that Google does the same thing with the emails you send, serving up ads related to the topics of your conversations.

Again, I raise the privacy question. What are your thoughts? My regular readers know this is probably the 5th article I've posted recently dealing with the same issue. So what do you think? Is it a violation of privacy? I tend to think this one isn't, since you voluntarily sign up for that phone service. But it does sketch me out a bit that the founders of Pudding Media used to do intel for the Israeli military. These people aren't playing around.

I leave you with a quote from the NYT article. This should give you something to think about. What say you, blog readers? Or should I call you "targets":

"We can never obtain too much information from the targets, and I would love to get my hands on that information," said Jonathan Sackett, chief digital officer for Arnold Worldwide, a unit of the advertising company Havas. "Still, it makes me caution myself and caution all of us as marketers. We really have to look at the situation, because we’re getting more intrusive with each passing technology."

Food for thought.

1 comment:

Ben said...

I know that adding a 's' after the 'http' and before the ':' makes your mail 'secure,' but I don't know if that keeps google out. I always notice that the ads are creepily close to what I'm emailing about. Though occasionally there are some interesting ones that I wonder how they came to the conclusion that I would enjoy them.

Is that creepy? Yes. Will it ever stop? Probably not. Do I ever click on the ads? No!

Honestly, I don't know how to 'fight the man' on this one. Let me know if you figure it out.