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"Hi, this answering machine is sponsored by [brandname]. You
can leave a message for [your name] when you push the
pound key in 10 seconds. [commercial starts and lasts for
minutes, eventually you are connected to a salesperson]"
The commercial itself is served from a central server and the
ad agency pays a few dollarcents per 'broadcast' commercial,
more if people listen to the whole commercial and a % of the
sale if a transaction is made.
You can select yourself which companies/products you like
and don't like to be advertised on your answering machine.
You don't want your friends to listen to bad commercials for
bad products. If the caller knows that you have selected the
commercial yourself they will listen more carefully to it than
to a radiocommercial. And advertisers pay more for such a
commercial. A sort of automated worth of mouth system.
||This is quite close to what my Orange and T-Mobile answer services do anyway - both are branded and both allow a degree of interaction by the caller, though neither connect you to either company.
||Or BT land lines, for that matter.