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Sponsored information distribution method and apparatus

Image Number 3 for United States Patent #7483522.

A database having information sought by a consumer, a database containing consumer attributes, and a database of advertising messages are made responsive to telephone calls placed to an interactive voice response (IVR) system. Alternatively, the databases can be linked to a web site responsive to consumer input. Either system can deliver the advertising messages to the consumer. The database of consumer attributes contains information already known about the consumer that can be used to decide on which advertising message to deliver. The consumer initiates activity by calling the interactive voice response system or accessing the web site. Software identifies the consumer via the consumer-inputted identification and delivers an advertising message likely appeal to the consumer. The advertising message can include an offer to purchase a product or service. The offer can be taken during the advertising period and recorded so as to be sent to a sponsor. The system then disseminates information sought by the customer, such as student grades. Alternatively, software resident at the Web site reads the identity of the customer who is accessing the Web site and recognizes and ascribes various attributes to the customer. The customer has the opportunity to either view the information or, preferably, interactively respond to the advertisement or offer by seeking additional advertisements or by placing an order for the products or services of the sponsoring vendor.

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