Markets in everything, yet again…

Now you can get paid to hear ads and take telemarketing calls:

Adnoodle has signed up 15,000 consumers who have agreed to listen to recorded telemarketing pitches, speak with telemarketers and respond to e-mail solicitations — for a price. He says 500 to 1,000 people are enrolling daily, and he is planning a promotion campaign on college campuses this month before he “hard-launches” the program this spring.

“It’s all about getting value for the consumer — because consumers have value, right?” says Shifrin, 35, whose other company, AutoWraps, pays consumers to put advertising on their cars.

To enroll, consumers go to and decide the minimum per-minute payment they would accept — generally, the lower the payment, the more companies will contact the consumer. The recommended range is 10 cents to $1.20, but registrants are advised that “bids” of 10 to 50 cents are likely to draw more ad calls. Participants also have the option of being paid in entries to a $5,000 Adnoodle sweepstakes.

Registrants also choose the ad vehicles — telemarketing, e-mails, or both — and they can choose the window times they’ll receive the ads. They complete a survey that asks gender, age, number of children, interests and consumer behavior, so companies can target products and services.

The typical Adnoodle sales call is a recording and states upfront its cash offer for listening. Not enough coin? Too busy right now? You can accept or decline — no obligation. Each ad runs a minute or more. The consumer must correctly answer a multiple-choice question at the end to get paid. “Knowing that the person who heard that message understands the content is really a leap in advertising,” says Shifrin [emphasis added].

At the end of the call, consumers can opt to receive a coupon for the advertised product or talk to a live representative — or hang up. Payment is via PayPal, the online payment company.

“For 2 1/2 minutes a day, if your average price is $1 a minute, you make $80 to $100 a month,” says Shifrin. “Not bad, right?” Actually, it’s more like $75.

In other words, it pays better than blogging. Here is the full story. Here is the website, if you want to sign up.

My take: If you think the idea can work, you have a very cynical view of human nature. You must think that people, listening to ads only to earn some money, nonetheless cannot resist buying the product. On second thought, does that sound so wrong? On the plus side, pricing ads and customer time has long been a theoretical dream of economists. That being said, I’ll bet against this project lasting, especially once word gets round and the pool of applicants changes. A sufficiently hardened idiot or curmudgeon can’t be convinced by anything. Or how about outsourcing the receipt of the phone call? And you will recall that pay-to-surf web sites bombed in the 1990s.


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