NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Hate telemarketers? Then you're gonna like this. One company is offering consumers the opportunity to make money every time they listen to a pre-recorded sales pitch in the middle of dinner.
According to New York-based Adnoodle, a division of Rights Marketing Inc., 15,000 people currently are making $100 or more each month by registering on the company's Web site Adnoodle.com.
"As far as we know, this is the first time ever that consumers are being offered such a service," said Daniel Shifrin, CEO of Rights Marketing, which has a patent pending on the concept.
Shifrin's idea is to pay people for every telemarketing pitch that they agree to receive for a set bid, anywhere from 25 cents to a dollar.
"It's a reverse bid, similar to how eBay works," said Shifrin. "Consumers set the terms. In other words, they say,'You pay me X amount a call, call me these number of times, for these products.'"
|Adnoodle customers make a bid to be paid between 25 cents to a $1 for each telemarketing pitch they receive.
Adnoodle, which launched in February, is already adding about 1,000 registered users a day, Shifrin said. He anticipates hitting a goal of 1 million users over the next couple of months.
To reach that end, the company has a pilot program with Data Resource Consulting Inc. , an e-mail marketing provider with a database of about 30 million customers.
"The basis of the pilot is to see how we can gain more people for Adnoodle through our e-mail campaign," said Laura Betterly, president of Data Resource Consulting.
Consumers "pitch" price bids to advertisers
So how does this work?
People who register with Adnoodle.com list up to three phone numbers and an e-mail address where they can be contacted. Yes, there is an age limit --18 and older only.
They will be asked personal information such as spending habits, type of products they like to buy and brand preferences and the amount they want to earn per minute. "The sweet spot is 25 cents a minute. That will attract more calls," said Shifrin. "But BMW might want to reach you even if your bid is $1 or more."
Advertisers pick their target audience based on customer profiles and bids. Once you're set up with Adnoodle, expect 10 pre-recorded, 15-second calls a day, earning you your bid price per call on condition that you accept and actually listen to the call. You're not paid if you hang up.Payments are transmitted via PayPal.
"About 10 percent of people will cheat the system but we're hoping they will be ferreted out by the other checks we have in place," Shifrin said.
Will it work?
"I think this could be a very interesting way to deal with the telemarketing issue for consumers," said Chris Hoofnagle, with the Washington D.C.-based consumer advocacy group Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).
Will Shifrin's idea actually work?
The closest historical precedent for his business model were the paid-to-surf sites that sprouted during the 1990s dot-com boom and fizzled just as quickly.
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These sites, such as AllAdvantage.com and CyberGold, would pay people by the hour to view online ads, e-mails and Web sites. They disappeared either because they were giving out more money than they were taking in as revenue, or the process was too tedious for consumers.
Shifrin defends Adnoodle on both counts. "The 1990s were indicative of stupid spending of cash. We're very conservative with how we're spending our money," he said. Shifrin would not discuss the financial structure of his set-up but he did say that two "big" telemarketers were already working with Adnoodle, including "one of the big five telecom companies and a cosmetics firm."
"Unlike the Internet, this system is easy to use. It just involves a regular telephone. That's why we've seen many seniors signing up," Shifrin said.
Lou Mastria, spokesman for the Direct Marketing Association, says Shifrin's idea is interesting, but he has his doubts. "Are people more likely to buy a product if you pay them 25 cents to listen to a sales call? You can't guarantee that," he said. "People may like [Shifrin's] model, but it doesn't mean it will work for the industry. You can't ensure that these calls will be converted into actual sales."