Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Chieftain of the Pudding race

Via Thomas Otter

The strangest business model yet - get telephone calls for free if people can listen in and append ads.

"There's a new Skype competitor, dubbed ThePudding, on the Web. And ThePudding is completely free*. All you have to do is agree to let Pudding Media listen in on your calls. To compensate users for the breach of privacy, the company claims, "ThePudding uses breakthrough technology that makes your conversations fun and interesting." In other words, anyone using ThePudding will be served contextual ads based upon topics overheard in your conversation! "

Both Thomas and Pangloss agree that it may be legal, but wow, it's just damn weird. In some ways, it's just Gmail for phones - people already seem moderately happy with a model of free email storage in return for content of emials being scanned and ads appended.
But telephone conversations are so much more personal and intimate that, well, Pangloss would not sign up.

We seem to be approaching the furthest limits of the "it's ok if consent given" privacy model here - a model which already seems in the web 2.0 context to be entirely broken.

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