A startup has come up with a new way to make money from phone calls connected via the Internet: having software listen to the calls, then displaying ads on the callers' computer screens based on what's being talked about.
For instance, a caller talking about going for dinner might see ads to local restaurants and restaurant review sites, while someone pondering whether to buy a new computer might see ads for computer stores. Relevant unsponsored links also appear.
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"Sometimes crazy things pop up. It actually enriches the conversation, which is very cool," said Ariel Maislos, chief executive of Puddingmedia.
On Monday, the Silicon Valley-based company is launching a public trial of the software on its Web site, http://www.ThePudding.com. Visitors will be able to place free calls to U.S. and Canadian phone numbers from their computers using headsets or microphones. The phone numbers are entered via a Web browser, which is also where the ads and links show up...
Eventually, Maislos hopes to be able to expand the service to cell phones. In that case, ads would pop up on the caller's screen after the call.
— Red Panda, Light Reading