Most people have never heard of “ringless voice mail” where a party can leave a voicemail on your cell phone without the phone ringing …
In some unique circumstances, like in a controlled environment such as a hospital, aircraft, school or military installation, being able to convey information without interrupting or annoying the recipient is an excellent idea. However, when that same technology is used by persistent telemarketers or scammers, the technology turns toxic.
An entire industry is springing up around ringless voicemail injection technology. Some marketing service vendors are guaranteeing success – three attempts at inserting a message for a fixed price, and you need not pay for failed attempts. Some vendors will even help you craft and record your message using a template design and then execute your marketing program.
Other vendors are trying to push the technology to only to uses that are beneficial and welcomed by the recipient.
How it works …
Essentially ringless voicemail uses server-to-server communication, without a call being made to the consumer’s phone and without any cost to the consumer. The vendor’s software initiates a landline-to-landline session directly with the mobile phone carrier's voicemail system and inserts a message directly into mailbox storage – without any initial ring or alert. The consumer will see an alert that a voicemail exists.
Legally telemarketers and others can currently harass you with unwanted messages – even if you are signed-up with the often-ignored do-not-call registry.
The Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission are looking into advanced rulemaking that might further control the use of the technology. The pro argument is that the recipient does not suffer any interruption in their activities and there is no cost to the recipient. The con argument is that this is just another form of “robocall” that uses your device without your explicit permission. Of course, sensing big bucks before a major political campaign, the issue is being politicized. On one side you have the consumer activists like the progressive National Consumer Law Center who believes that this should be a controlled business practice, and on the other side, the GOP and United States Chamber of Commerce who believes this is just another low-cost, high-impact marketing tool to improve our economy.
Bottom line …
Like all forms of advertising, the recipient’s acceptance or rejection of the effort is dependent on the usefulness of the message and the degree to which it interrupts one’s daily activities or imposes an additional cost burden on the consumer.
And, like all forms of controversy that can be politicized as a revenue generation device before an election cycle, you can bet the greedy, corrupt politicians will have their hands out.
We are so screwed.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius