In what it's calling the first campaign of its type, Comedy Central is giving fans of the show “Crank Yankers” the opportunity to send free “Crank Calls” over the Internet. Comedy Central said the campaign is generating tens of thousands of calls a day.
Comedy Central is using the Push TO Talk service from eStara, Reston, VA, to run the campaign. The technology lets users send a Voice over the Internet call containing an audio crank call clip from “Crank Yankers” to a friend. That call is then synchronized with an e-mail that is sent to the recipient promoting “Crank Yankers” while letting the recipient know who sent the call.
“Crank Yankers” is a new series airing on Comedy Central at 10:30 p.m. Sundays. Throughout the show, actual crank phone calls are aired and become the basis for Yankerville, a twisted town inhabited by puppets.
To prevent abuse, Comedy Central implemented several call security and call authorization measures. Each call requires an individual authorization code, the service tracks IP addresses and telephone numbers to prevent abuse or unauthorized use of the system. The system also sets time parameters to prevent late-night calls.