Say It Ain't So: eBay Stoops to Auto-Voice-Call Ads


If there is one form of advertising on the planet more annoying than unwanted mobile text ads, it must be this: unwanted mobile voice call ads.  And eBay is apparently about to bring to them to you.

Austin-based start-up Unwired Nation and Apptera have created a “Voice Publishing Platform” that allows customers to call you with an automated voice-response system (already annoying) and insert .08 to .10 second ads into it.  This might be tolerable if carefully explained: “You can pay us $5 a month for this alert service, or you can allow us to play you ads”.  The Unwired system also reportedly lies to you, however, telling you that it is playing the ad while “your information is retrieved”–as though your information hadn’t been “retrieved” before the call was placed (they’re calling you, remember).

The Unwired system makes the call and sells and serves and the ads.  Apptera targets the ads.  And eBay, which has already been using voice alerts to notify users about closing auctions, will apparently just watch as bidders conclude that the real purpose of the “voice alerts” is so the e-commerce giant can sell ads to make a few more cents.   Matthew Nelson, ClickZ

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