Free Stuff (With Ads)! Business Model Makes A Comeback

from the techdirt-welcomes-you-to-1998 dept

That stalwart of the dot-com bubble days, the get-something-free-if-you-watch-ads business model has popped up again, with some company offering free VoIP calls through an app that displays big ads. We’re reminded of the dot-com-era company that gave people a few minutes of free long distance in exchange for listening to ads, that like so many of the other free stuff companies, went the way of the dodo. One thing to consider before dismissing this out of hand, though: isn’t this the sort of thing people are expecting from Google? Hopefully, though, they’d do it less obnoxiously, as Engadget points out the service’s end-user agreement says they’ll retain contact info of anybody called by someone on their system for marketing purposes. So perhaps it’s free calls not in exchange for watching some ads, but for selling out your friends.

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