Cell Phones to Get Ring-back Advertising Courtesy of Perceptive Impression’s Promotel
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Cell phones are the newest frontier in advertising, it seems. Just last week we reported on Bluecasting’s “your discoverable phone is our playground” attitude, and now along come Perceptive Impressions and Promotel, Inc., who want to put their advertising in your ear – every time you make a cell phone call.

You know how when you call someone, and you can hear it ringing before they answer? And you know how some cell phone carriers are now allowing you to customize your cell phone service by replacing that ringing sound with music, so that your callers hear your music of choice rather than the ringing while waiting for you to answer? Well, that’s a ring-back tone.


Now, imagine that ringing, or music, replaced with a paid advertisement.

You see, Perceptive Impressions, of whom nobody seems to have heard, owns a controlling interest in Promotel, Inc. (of whom nobody has ever heard either, perhaps in part because they only just incorporated). Promotel’s principals, in turn, hold the patents on “ring back technology.” At least that’s what they say.

They also say that if they have their way, “the music will be replaced with targeted advertisements the company creates” and that ring-back ads “are the newest advertising platform.”

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So that when I call you, instead of hearing “ring ring, ring ring”, I’ll hear “Troubled by an itching, burning sensation?” But only once, because I probably won’t call you anymore after that.

At least not until you switch carriers to one which doesn’t support ring-back advertising.

Because that’s what may very well happen – a backlash by cell phone subscribers, ticked off that the service for which they are paying is also double-dipping, and alienating their friends and business colleagues who call them, with ring-back audio spam.

 

May the backlash be swift, and successful.

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5 thoughts on “Cell Phones to Get Ring-back Advertising Courtesy of Perceptive Impression’s Promotel
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  1. I think there may be another solution to all of this. Instead of using your personal number when subscribing, why not use a Brring number. Google Brring and see what I`m talking about if u don`t know already.

  2. Ron Maness – I agree that this can be done in a sensible way. Specifically, if you can select each person who gets an ad-ringback – i.e. yes when your mom calls you, no when your boss calls you – AND you direct a portion of the ad revenue to the user, so it lowers their monthly phone bill, most people would recognize this as good business sense. Your mom may have to listen a five second ad but knowing that it saves her child a few bucks a month on the phone bill, it will seem worth it to her wouldn’t it?

  3. Whoa!! Some facts: First no cell subscriber is going to be “forced” to place an advertisement on their Ringback service. Be assurred if it is done, it will be voluntary. There are many cases where a subscriber might WANT to place an ad to be heard prior to answering the call such as a Real Estate sales person, a plumber who wants to detail the “summer special”, an association that wants the caller to hear an important message before the call is answered, etc. Some of the world’s major advertisers are considering this form of advertising FOR WHICH THEY WILL PAY THE CELL SUBSCRIBER to use but nothing is in the market today. Certainly consumer behavior will drive the success or failure but there are many very credible circumstances where advertising in this media can be beneficial to the caller and to the called person. Promotel is NOT a wireless or wireline carrier. it will come but hopefully it will be done in a professional way by professionals. I think it will.

  4. Unfortunately there will be some that don’t have the option to change services because Promotel is the only game in town, or their area. But for a company to force this kind of crapola down the throats of their customers is just plain old rude. Perhaps when they lose enough business over this fiasco they will come to realize just how bad a decision this was. Hopefully they will earn the well deserved bad reputation which will put them out of business creating a warning to future providers not to force feed ads down the throats of the ones that keep them in business. We can only hope……..

  5. If ads are going to start playing on my cell phone, I hope the companies are ready to cut me a check to buy advertising time on the physical property as well as the air time I “own” since I pay for it every month. Just like radio, advertisers have to pay the stations for air time, since the radio stations “own” it (or rent it from the FCC) when they pay their licensing fees.

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