Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Coming soon to a phone near you: Spam VoiceMail

Stop the presses! Stop the presses! Breaking news...
Yes, folks, it's not just for your inbox anymore.

OK, Stop me if you've hear this one:

I just received voice mail from the CEO of XXXXXX a prominent high-end query and reporting tools company, concerning their upcoming conference in Florida.

(I won't mention them by name, they don't deserve ANY PR, even what little attention they might garner from here...)

Now, keep in mind I did attend one training seminar for one of their products. It was really more of a single-day Introduction and Advanced Demo, with no hands-on. And that occurred years ago, for a project that barely came to fruition and has since been dropped due to lack of interest.

I have received the usual periodic e-mails and junk mail. But this.

Is this a by-product of flat-rate LD becoming available to the business community?
Should it? Have I 'opted-in' by never refusing e-mail and mailings?
Does this fall under the new no-call list legislation?

BTW, as with all things, my preference is NEVER the legislative path. SWBC offers me a service that rejects calls without proper Caller-ID information. Occasional stripping of codes during LD calls has required extra effort on my part when calling home while on the road, but this is a small price to pay for the HUGE drop in sales calls.

I must confess, I kind of miss the dinner-time intrusions. I love playing with them, getting them off script. Or, even better, the time-zone-difference, so-what-time-is-it-here-where-I-am, now-what-do-you-think-I-am-doing-right-now trick. ;-)

Hint: Want to foil the auto-dialers without paying a fee to Ma Bell?

Ever since the girls were babies, Cathy and I planned on emulating proper phone ettiquette. We have always answered our phone with the phrase "Barr residence" rather than the ubiquitous Hello.
A vast of majority of times, if a voice does not respond right away, you will hear a series of clicks and then a dial tone. The auto-dialers are programmed to expect a certain set of 'typical' answers to the call. If it doesn't interpret your verbiage as within it's acceptable parameters, it doesn't think it is a valid answer and goes on! Try it.

Now that businesses will have to deal with VoiceMail boxes filling with spam, we may see technological filtering for such problems. I have wondered why Caller-ID filtering hasn't appeared for the consumer market.

As with all things, the market-driven solution can keep pace with changing conditions faster than any governmental threat of force.

And it gives you, the consumer the control.

GASP! ;-)