Albert’s Fun Fact Science Corner; Ads

The year is 2046. You look at your phone and see a notification. Your earnings per mention rate has just gone up to $0.004/mention for Adidas footwear. The speech advertising space is a competitive market, with advertisers trying to sell their ad space nearly as fiercely as companies want to buy it. It wasn’t all that revolutionary when marketing teams started buying ad space in people’s speech. Much of the technology required for it had already been perfected by online advertisers. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google would collect data on users that they could report to advertisers. They built machine learning algorithms that could predict which advertisements had the best conversion rate to sales and only buy ad space where it would be most effective. 

When RepMe first went on the market, it was a niche idea that promoted itself as being in the end user’s interest. You got the money from advertisers for all the data you were giving up. No longer was that value taken from you by those big tech companies. Businesses could pay RepMe for ad space. Users would let their phone record their conversations, and they would be paid small amounts of money every time they mentioned a brand to someone. The machine learning models would predict when the user was in an especially important conversation and pay them more. “This bong hit has been sponsored by Pepsi,” you’d say, and everyone would laugh. You just made four cents for practically nothing. If you really endorsed the product, your rate would go up. 

Some people got pretty into it. They would meet in groups to advertise for each other. An hour or two of naming brand after brand in a room with enough people and you could make some twenty, thirty bucks all while standing around sipping coffee. Though it seriously tanked your mention rate if you did it too much. 

As RepMe became more common, some critics got tired with the idea of shilling their speech for companies. Yeah, you make some cash for little effort, but am I really so low that I’ll do Albertson’s Pharmacy a solid for less than half a cent? These critics started only mentioning brands that they also supported. What brands you sponsored became part of their aesthetic, their social choices. 

“I love AudioTechnica, I think they provide some of the best value per dollar in the high end audio market.” 

“Darn Tough socks are the only socks I wear for serious outdoor work. Wool wicks sweat is naturally antibacterial, stays warm when wet, and Darn Tough offers a lifetime warranty on all their socks.” 

“I only buy Dropps laundry detergent. They use entirely recyclable packaging. We really need to keep microplastics out of the ecosystem, you know?”

You mention to someone that you love Enlightened Equipment’s outdoor gear. He responds saying that he likes Mountain Hardware better. Your watch chimes at you. You are being notified that, should you insist on Enlightened Equipment’s superiority, you will be rewarded handsomely. They’ll give you a 50% off coupon for the next raincoat you order from them. They know you’ve been looking for a new one, and to make a little cash you’ve been telling everyone about this ultralight rain coat that they should buy. The rain coat is $180. You stand to save $90 here. 

“Mountain Warehouse doesn’t have shit on Enlightened Equipment’s weight to coverage ratio. The Enlightened Equipment Visp is made from cutting edge tricot material. It uses some of the lightest nylon and most repellent DWR on the market without sacrificing breathability. It has pit zips for temperature control, velcro sleeves to prevent ingress at the wrists, and it weighs less than half a pound. It folds up so small you can fit it in your purse. Perfect for a week long backpacking trip in the Olympic rainforest or for a rainy night on the town.” 

The man checks his phone. He shakes his head and waves you away with his hand before walking off. You smile, feeling superior for making the obviously better choice of brand to rep. You defended a good cottage company. You’re helping small businesses. It makes you proud to drive traffic their way.

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