Free speech ain't free...and apparently, now it's really creepy
Just innocently minding my own business reading through some brainy blogs and I'm hit with this blunder of a business model--as David Reich explains on his blog:
"There's a new pudding that makes my stomach a bit queasy. It's called Pudding Media and The New York Times wrote about it yesterday. The company, based in Silicon Valley, just introduced a web phone service that will allow people unlimited free calling. But there's a catch, which is what makes me nervous.
In exchange for free phone calls, Pudding will listen in on your conversation to see what you're talking about. Voice recognition software will pick up on key words or phrases and then send you ads, by email or directly to your computer screen, based on what you've been talking about."
Please tell me this will go away. Or mocked immensely and then go away (so that unlike Britney, it doesn't come back).
According to the company's CEO "Pudding Media had considered the privacy question carefully. The company is not keeping recordings or logs of the content of any phone calls, he said, so advertisements only relate to current calls, not past ones, and will only arrive during the call itself."
So you bother me DURING my call? When I'm actually trying to have the conversation?
The CEO also thinks that young people, the group his company is focusing on with the call service, "are less concerned with maintaining privacy than older people are."
Whether or not young people want privacy isn't the issue--an arrogant assumption, btw--the issue is that you're a grown-up preying upon them in the name of "targeted advertising."
And that's really creepy.
I've said it oh so many times before, but here goes once more: Marketers, just focus on creating, innovating and maintaining exemplary products, services and experiences. You'll be amazed how your markets will gladly give you their time, money and loyalty without your needing to waste precious ad dollars stalking them.
They might even call you.
PS: The way this company validates this model? They pass the buck with this gem, "Pudding Media executives said that scanning the words used in phone calls was not substantially different from what Google does with e-mail." Gotta love it when a new company defends themselves by using another company's pesky practices...instead of promoting itself on its own merits.