Verizon rep Dave left reader John a very strange message on his answering machine.
John called asking about the ads Verizon is poised to put ads on the internet services accessed by its cellphone users.
Dave says the ads will only be there if a consumer wants them.
This seems to defy common sense and reality, unless of course a user can truly opt into receiving the ads and receive a service discount, for instance.
We had a little chat with John.
johnnyconsumer: in reference to your verizon ad story: I called them yesterday because I saw the times piece, and they called me back today with a message..the guy said "We're just exploring it and we're not REALLY going to do it"
johnnyconsumer: which stinks of bullshit to me
johnnyconsumer: the guy left this bizzare message on my answering machine
benpopken: can you send it to us?
johnnyconsumer: I can try
johnnyconsumer: in the message he says that the customer will have the option to recieve the ads or not
johnnyconsumer: whcih also stinks of bullshit
johnnyconsumer: do you have a link handy to the thing where you can record messages?
johnnyconsumer: the mssage is on an actual answering machine, not vm or anything
benpopken: placing a microphone by the speaker might be the easiest thing to do
johnnyconsumer: I'm downloading audiohijack and I'll try sticking my ibook near that
johnnyconsumer: the backstory is that I called because I saw the article (Cleverly dumped on possibly the slowest news day of the year, the 26th) and I'm thinking of getting a smartphone so I called sales
johnnyconsumer: and they transferred me..3 times. The guy who left the message was with the "data" department
benpopken: "we just floated the pretend story to see what the backlash would be"
johnnyconsumer: that seems to be the gist of it
johnnyconsumer: is skype still doing that free skypeout thing?
johnnyconsumer: I think I could call into my answering machine and playback and hijack the audio
benpopken: i think free skypeout ended
benpopken: there's gizmo
benpopken: (Link: http://www.gizmoproject.com/index.html)http://www.gizmoproject.com/index.html
benpopken: i wonder if he's really talking about optin or optout
benpopken: or if he has any idea
johnnyconsumer: yeah. it sounds like he called marketing, got some talking points and tried to regurgitate them
johnnyconsumer: I'm pretty sure he was just a level 1 rep
benpopken: "sure you can opt out, but then you can't use verizon for the internet"
johnnyconsumer: or you can pay 10 bucks a month for noads
johnnyconsumer: like, if it was an interstitial per meg of xfer that got me 10% off my data bill I'd be totally down with it
johnnyconsumer: and it sounds like they've done some cool things with ads.. like the show your phone at dunkin donuts with this optin ad and get a 99 cent latte
johnnyconsumer: but this stinks of "rates will stay the same/go up and you'll have to deal with it"
johnnyconsumer: like the movie theatre ads
benpopken: "before you begin surfing, tell us, would you like to receive ads? if not, that's cool, just ignore this message"
benpopken: what a dumbass
benpopken: execs are saying that they're going to do ads
benpopken: and he's saying they're not
johnnyconsumer: it doesn't really sound like he got his talking points from marketing right
johnnyconsumer: because what I get from the message is that verizon "may" be "trying" some sort of "test program" with ads what will always be optable
johnnyconsumer: and the times article pretty much said "Hey we're forcing ads. Cool, huh?"
johnnyconsumer: maybe I'll call verizon's marketing and see if I can't get something less stinking of lies
benpopken: or stinking sweeter
%u2014 BEN POPKEN