So anyways, apparently Michael Arrington was sitting in his brand spanking new TechCrunch offices one day, consumed with a problem that he had to solve. "If I want John Bredehoft to read my post about Information Age Prayer," he thought to himself, "how do I get him to read it?"
Well, Arrington must have figured it out, because I did read Too Busy To Pray? Don’t Worry - Indulgences Are Back!.
OK, I'll grant that this isn't exactly a Johann Tetzel situation, and the money isn't going to the Pope, but Information Age Prayer does offer a service in which you can pay to have a computer utter a synthesized-speech prayer for you.
Or, as they put it:
Information Age Prayer is a subscription service utilizing a computer with text-to-speech capability to incant your prayers each day. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said even if you wake up late, or forget.
We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying. Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen.
At Information Age Prayer we think our service should be used like a prayer supplement, to extend and strengthen a subscriber's connection with God. Traditional prayer is an integral part of this connection and should never be forgone, even after signing up.
You can subscribe for yourself, or you can purchase a subscription as a gift to friends or family.
But this isn't something that Tetzel would have liked. As Arrington noted, Information Age Prayer has one...um...improvement over older prayer chains:
Choose a Religion from the left menu.
Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, and Muslim prayers are offered at present. However, "other religions are not yet supported."
Now as part of my new focused blogging, I'll ignore the religious aspects of Information Age Prayer (at least here) and concentrate on the business aspects.
Prices are determined by the length of the prayer, although discounts are available. For example, as I type this a daily recitation of the Lord's Prayer is available for $3.95/month. Apparently the Hail Mary prayer is not currently discounted, but is available for $19.95/month assuming 10 recitations/day; "[h]ere is where the Information Age Prayer service really shines allowing you to purchase more than you would ever be able to say on your own."
And Information Age Prayer offers packages. The Complete Rosary ("show God you are serious") is available for $49.95/month, and there is a Jewish package available for $25.95/month. For Muslims, the First Daily Prayer is available for $3.95/month ("You may not fulfill your daily obligation to pray through this service, nevertheless, praising God is always encouraged and it certainly doesn't hurt to have this holy prayer voiced!").
Now it's quite possible that a service such as this may face some barriers of acceptance in the market. One of the ways that they try to mitigate this problem is via charitable contributions.
At Information Age Prayer we think our service should be used like a prayer supplement, to extend and strengthen a subscriber's connection with God. Houses of prayer are an integral part of this connection and so we donate 10% of revenue from subscriptions to verified 501(c)(3) charities.
And it turns out that Michael Arrington isn't the only person talking about the service. I found another blog post from someone called...the Friendly Atheist. Hmm, wonder what he thinks about the service?
Obviously, whether real or not, this is just designed to take advantage of (or expose) people who think prayer has some real effect on their lives. I’d love to know who’s behind it...
Um, TFA, all ones needs is a whois search, in which you put your hands on the keyboard and information miraculously app- oh, I forgot. OK, so I did a whois search at networksolutions.com and found:
registrant-lastname: Private Registration
registrant-organization: 1&1 Internet, Inc. - http://1and1.com/contact
registrant-street1: 701 Lee Road, Suite 300
registrant-street2: ATTN: informationageprayer.com
Apparently someone's hiding under a bushel.
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