I have questions for the community: Is it ethical to put an advertisement in the Sprint Voicemail? Let's consider a few other questions first...
Do users welcome product suggestions in the form of image-ads when checking their voicemail? I gotta suspect that the answer is NO.
If users routinely ignore those ads, would a business choose those ad locations to advertise their product/service? Does "Kitchen Story" (made by http://www.appon.co.in/) or "Fruits Mania" (https://www.facebook.com/bitmangogames) or that cat thing target these ad positions within the Sprint Voicemail? Or do you think these advertisements show up because they're plain-old ad-network ads showing up here?
Does these ads perform well (do people click through)? If so, then I'd imagine that either people love them or they don't love them, but they accidentally tap them. I imagine that a majority of the click-throughs on these ads are fat-fingers or pocket-clicks.
If we agree that people don't want to see these ads in these positions and the businesses that advertise aren't explicitly choosing them, is it ethical for Sprint to profit from this?
Here's a hunch: No legitimate businesses target the ad positions inside the Sprint Voicemail. No users want them there. The only people that engage with those ads have done so as an accident- they fat-fingered or pocket-clicked their way to the advertiser's site. The only businesses who want those ad positions seek them on ethically shakey ground (they WANT the fat-finger mis-taps).
This kinda looks like a mess, doesn't it. Wait, it gets worse...
Why then does Sprint offer a subscription fee for the Voicemail service when the main feature offered seems to be the removal of ads. Sure there's some visual thing, some text transcription, some kind of avatar thing. Are these useful?
I've been a Sprint user for many years and it's this kind of BS that make me want to bail on the service altogether: some sprint employees in some meeting made the decision to make this happen.
Please show us that smarter people can choose a better way for Sprint's business to meet it's goals by removing the ethical challenges in your Voicemail product (for a start).