Pudden ‘ead

There is an English expression, pudding head — pudden ‘ead if you’re from the Midlands — which is a way to comment on someone’s (low) intelligence.  With this definition in mind, let’s segway to Pudding Media, inventors of a new free phone service:

Pudding Media is building a platform that opens new advertising real estate, allowing consumers to immediately receive and respond to offers related to topics they are discussing.

And how can the consumer ‘respond to offers’?  By capturing your voice conversation, then using voice recognition to send you advertisements!  Head Pudden and CEO Ariel Maislos, gushes:

“Pudding Media’s platform marries telecommunications and advertising to benefit everyone.  Consumers gain a cool new dimension to their calls with more interesting, timely information and advertising that seamlessly bridge their virtual and real-world experiences; brands reach consumers with more targeted, relevant offers; and communications providers gain a new revenue stream.”

I’m not sure where to start with this one… Are we really so desperate to a) save a few bucks on already cheap phone rates and b) to get ‘targeted, relevant’ offers?  And does this desperation drive us to allow our phone conversations to be recorded? 

And how does this service ‘benefit everyone’?  It seems to me that benefit is to the advertisers and the phone companies, so I’m not sure how giving up a basic privacy right in exchange for advertising is a net benefit to me…

Curiously, Pudding Media’s privacy statement is silent on what would happen to those phone conversations.  In a New York Times article, Mr. Maislos — he with a background in military intelligence — claims that the calls are not kept and that the information is only used in real time.  Then he ads this gem:

Mr. Maislos said that during tests he noticed that the content had a tendency to determine conversations.

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

Remarkable? I think scary is a better word.


Author: code

Mike Waddingham is senior Information Technology management consultant with over 30 years of industry experience. He is the owner of Code Technology Corp.