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Did Pavlov expect this?

contextually relevant ads in phone calls

From the NY Times comes the, well, concerning news about a company who has developed a VOIP program that analyzes your phone calls and delivers contextually relevant ads based on the conversation you are having in exchange for using the service for free. Of even more, well, concern is buried at the end of the article in a quote from the CEO:

“The conversation was actually changing based on what was on the screen,” he said. “Our ability to influence the conversation was remarkable.”

Is that a good path for advertisers to head down? How much backlash should companies who participate anticipate? Or will consumers use the service at all (so far the company is in private beta and not releasing numbers)?

This also begs the question as to how far into our private lives will people allow companies to go in exchange for a ‘freemium’? Ariel Maislos, the CEO of Pudding Media (interesting choice of brand name – does that imply our brains are mush?) notes that Gen-Y doesn’t appear to be as concerned with privacy as the older generations, citing Gmail as an example of a company scanning private correspondence and delivering ads based on the content, but I wonder if there are limits on how far into someone’s private life that extends? Personally, I’m not looking for that level of personalization.

What do you think?

H/T РSlashdot 

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The smiley turns 25 this year :)

The venerable mainstay of IM conversations and emails will celebrate its 25th birthday in September.

I have a love/ hate relationship with the emoticon… I use it a ton as I tend to be a sarcastic person by nature, which doesn’t always come across in written text, but I also cannot for the life of me imagine using ones outside of the standard: :) / ;) / :P / :( . What’s the point, I’d rather have a face-to-face conversation if we’re going to be showering that much emotion on each other.

What about you? Do you love emoticons? Hate ‘em? Can’t type without ‘em? Do you feel they’ve been essential in potentially mitigating the cold hard text of internet communications? Or are they dinosaurs soon to be replaced with winking and dancing avatars? (which of course would lead me into a rant about Second Life and the fact that I barely have enough time to do my own hair in the morning, let alone pick out new outfits and makeup for my virtual likeness…) Or maybe I’m just getting old. ;)

[photo credit: KaCey97007 on Flickr]

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