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Geist Creates His Own Do-Not-Call List

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the now-all-those-companies-buy-ads-on-the-do-not-call-website dept.

Privacy 94

average_cdn writes "Canadians looking to put a stop to pesky telemarketing calls before the federal government's do-not-call registry takes effect this summer have a new tool at their disposal. At IOptOut.ca, Canadians can enter their phone number and e-mail address and simply choose the organizations they would prefer not to hear from while the website generates a mass request that the user be added to those companies' do-not-call lists. The site, a beta version of which was launched yesterday, is the brainchild of University of Ottawa law professor Michael Geist and features information on how to avoid telemarketing calls from more than 140 different companies and organizations. Mr. Geist said that iOptOut helps Canadians finish the job that the do-not-call registry failed to complete."

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94 comments

Well that's great (2, Insightful)

Draped Crusader (1174049) | about 6 years ago | (#22900236)

...for Canada!

Re:Well that's great (5, Funny)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | about 6 years ago | (#22900274)

I think this'll slowly fail after the initial capital runs out.

It's not like they'll be able to support it by selling ads....

Re:Well that's great (1)

MouseR (3264) | about 6 years ago | (#22904766)

Regardless, I dont think I want to sent out my phone number and emails addresses to some third party who might just, in the end, get hacked and stolen his juicy database.

Not that I'd trust the government wich such a database either.

Very cool! (4, Interesting)

RobinH (124750) | about 6 years ago | (#22900240)

Very cool, I'll probably tell my family about this.

However, I've noticed that since we moved two years ago, and we got a Vonage account, we don't actually get any unsolicited calls (except for the cable company which keeps trying to sell us their home phone service, but that has mostly stopped). I think it's either because we're not in the Bell directory, or because if I go over 500 minutes a month, then I pay some per minute charge, and that technically makes it illegal for telemarketers to call me, just like cell phones.

Re:Very cool! (5, Informative)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 6 years ago | (#22900420)

Fastest way to get a telemarketer off of the phone: "This is a cell phone."

Never been called by the same company twice and most just hang up on me without even a good bye.

Re:Very cool! (2, Insightful)

waveman (66141) | about 6 years ago | (#22900640)

One thing I do is I say "Just a moment". Then I leave the phone off the hook for about ten minutes. This wastes their time quite effectively. I even had one of them get quite angry at me, which was good.

Re:Very cool! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22900824)

One thing I do is I say "Just a moment". Then I leave the phone off the hook for about ten minutes. This wastes their time quite effectively. I even had one of them get quite angry at me, which was good.

I do the same thing, but every few minutes I pick up the receiver and say "hang on just a minute." One guy stayed on the line for 20 minutes. I finally couldn't keep a straight face anymore and started laughing and asking him "how stupid can you be?" Very very rude, I know, but so are the telemarketers. Wasting their time is the only way I can hurt them economically.

Re:Very cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22902236)

Heh. I worked as a telemarketer for a while (I know, the shame! For what it's worth, at least I wasn't calling people at home...). Frankly, I didn't mind being put on hold. I wasn't terribly motivated to make sales, and being on hold let me catch up on some reading. It was pretty boring once the silophone's 1-800 number shut down.

I had a collection of fun numbers to call. There was a porno theatre in Chicago that updated it list of movies every week. And I never got tired of calling Mike Hunt's secretary.

The only thing more amusing than that was getting yelled at or dicked around. Some of the people in the office would take it personally, but I found it was the only thing that would break up the soul-crushing boredom.

ps. if I ever called you or sold you a 'business directory listing', my apologies. I won't try to justify it.

Re:Very cool! (1)

dmsuperman (1033704) | about 6 years ago | (#22902888)

The telemarketers aren't stupid, they're normal people that need a paycheck and telemarketing is a job that takes very little skill. There's ads for telemarketing jobs at my school all the time, and a lot of my fellow poor college students have mentioned it. The telemarketing companies, I agree, are fucking dumb.

Indeed, it's the company not the person (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | about 6 years ago | (#22903076)

People always seem to "shoot the messenger" rather than the company doing the actual advertising. It's not the poor telemarketer's fault, they may have no other job options and they need to eat too.

Re:Indeed, it's the company not the person (2, Insightful)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903178)

People always seem to "shoot the messenger" rather than the company doing the actual advertising.

How is the person being called ment to know who this company is? Giving the name, address and telephone number of the company concerned may not be part of the caller's script; they may have been trained to give misleading information and it's very unlikely that they will know the executives home phone numbers for either their own comapny or a "client".

Re:Indeed, it's the company not the person (1)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | about 6 years ago | (#22904446)

Well, what I'm saying is that harassing telemarketers isn't helping anything, it just makes both of you unhappy (unless you enjoy that of course). I'm not saying to actually hunt down the companies and complain to them, but it would be a more fruitful action than simply annoying the telemarketer. Unless of course you are able to get the telemarketer to remove you from their lists or whatever.

Re:Very cool! (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | about 6 years ago | (#22903274)

Yeah but that doesn't mean we can't make their life hard for picking a job that involves being an annoying asshole.

Re:Very cool! (5, Interesting)

cybereal (621599) | about 6 years ago | (#22901608)

One thing I do is I say "Just a moment". Then I leave the phone off the hook for about ten minutes. This wastes their time quite effectively. I even had one of them get quite angry at me, which was good.

Due to unfortunate requirement for food, water, and shelter, I had to be a telemarketer for several years. Truly this was the most painful job I've ever had, and I've worked at Taco Bell. Your strategy of leaving the phone off the hook for a while is not remotely unique. But I assure you, many telemarketers appreciate it. Seriously.

What you may fail to recognize is that telemarketing is a slave driving business. The people on the phone, we didn't make squat off the sales. What we did was maintain our right to continue working a complete day. If you didn't maintain a certain quota, they would simply send you home. And the wages? Well there was this fancy thing called a "differential." What that meant was, if you made X hours in the pay period, your wage would be increased by Y dollars. So to make the meager 7.25/hr. I was told I'd be making, I'd have to work at least 60 of the 80 hours possible in a two week period. Obviously not a difficult thing to do in a normal job but..

Imagine for a moment that you made just enough money to get by, you had maybe $30 a week after all of your bills were paid to buy groceries for you, your wife, and your daughter. You worked as a cold calling sales person, constantly searching but never finding another, more reasonable job. IN the meantime, you went to work each day, starting at 7 am to call the east coast, and sell things that nobody in their right mind would ever want to buy. If you did not make at least two sales per hour on average, you would be sent home before lunch time. Now imagine that, despite working very hard, your two weeks came up and you missed the mark. Suddenly your paycheck wasn't only less because of fewer hours, no, your rate was 30% less, putting you around 50% of what you would normally have made. What the hell would you do?

Not all callcenters are this bad, not all phone jobs as painful, but many are and I hope some of you can have a better understanding of the tenacity of phone sales people.

Oh and another aspect more relevant to your "method" is that the calls must be made constantly. Non-stop, save a few very short breaks throughout the day for the restroom. That means that the moment you hang up, the phone immediately calls another person. In fact, when enough agents are on the floor, the phone system PRE-DIALS so that when you click off one call, you're IMMEDIATELY on another. This goes on all day long. You try that sometime, and tell me how you feel after several months of it. So trust me when I say, that 10 minute break your telemarketer risked enduring was a godsend to them.

Re:Very cool! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22901788)

Heh I did it for a few months for a "respectable" company (Sears) selling extended warranties - sorry - "maintenance agreements". We could call Sears customers that were in the database and the computer spotted that their warranty on their fridge/lawnmower/whatever was about to expire. It wasn't as bad as cold calling since they WERE customers and we were told to initially inquire if they were happy with their product - but then when it came time to offer them the extended warranty (usually at around half the original purchase price) most people balked and some even became hostile.

      Of course we were on minimum wage + commission based on closed sales, but it was NON-STOP work - every time you clicked off a call you immediately were put through to another customer - and often had to wait for the computer to look up the customer's information (Hello Mr.................. Jameson, I'm calling from Sears about your....). Of course I quit that job, especially after the manager thought it would be a great idea to keep calling people until 9pm.

     

Re:Very cool! (4, Interesting)

billcopc (196330) | about 6 years ago | (#22901872)

The problem with any "bad" job is people continue to work there.

If call centers suck so bad, why do people take the jobs ? You're encouraging the abuse by enabling these bureaucratic slave drivers. I don't know of anyone who likes call centers, not as an employee, not as a victim either. The only people who like them are the so-called "clients", the ones whose products are being sold or supported, because not only is it cheap, but it also cuts maintenance costs thanks to the many people who would rather buy a new thingamajig than have to deal with retarded call center queues all afternoon.

One thing is consistent: there are always companies looking to hire, in fact many of them complain that it's so hard to find good people. I know why: they're all pissing their life away in a call center for peanuts, while the good jobs go unfilled. If you've got the social skills, patience and computer smarts to survive a call center job, those same skills could be applied in just about any other office environment for less stress and maybe even more money.

Shit, I know a lot of people sitting in cushy government jobs who barely have two brain cells to rub together. They wouldn't last a day working for a telemarketer, yet they're making four times as much money for a quarter of the effort. Full benefits, too!

Re:Very cool! (3, Insightful)

Dunbal (464142) | about 6 years ago | (#22902218)

Because they hire almost anybody and minimum wage is better than NO wage.

Their turnover on employees is pretty damned high though. I don't know many "career telemarketers".

Re:Very cool! (2, Insightful)

porpnorber (851345) | about 6 years ago | (#22905720)

So vote for someone who will replace the minimum wage with a no questions asked universal basic income. There is no reason to collaborate in building a society that sucks to live in!

Re:Very cool! (1)

Travoltus (110240) | about 6 years ago | (#22912344)

As a hard core liberal, I find neither the universal basic income (a dis-incentive to be productive) nor this current capitalist piggish society's sucky status quo, to be a desirable option.

Re:Very cool! (1)

porpnorber (851345) | about 6 years ago | (#22912752)

As something like an old-school liberal who knows some mathematics, I think you're very wrong. The argument for a universal income is the same as the argument for gun control: forced moves break otherwise self-regulating systems. Eating and breathing are not optional. People backed against the wall are not in the position to make rational choices; they are not in the position to make any choices. So any hope that they will act locally in such a way as to improve society globally is forlorn.

How I envision the task of public policy is to build a virtual environment which operates as much as possible in the linear domain, where the consequences of action are largely forseeable, and where the marginal incentives to rational and cooperative behaviour ('productivity', if you will), are uniform. Nonlinearities from means-tested benefits are utterly counterproductive.

I'd also like to point out, by the way, that your notion of 'productivity' may be a little narrow. In hindsight, what we consider to have been productive is art, science, mathematics—undertakings that are reusable by future generations. Unlike engineering and trade (and do not imagine that I am denigrating engineering and trade, by the way!) these are generally motivated by personal passion, even if they are facilitated by money. I think most geniuses would perform better in a world where they had to fear from offending their bosses—and, indeed, spent less of their time covering basic necessities.

The real people a universal income disincentivises are telemarketers and poorly paid bureaucrats who sit and read playboy when they are supposed to be filing completely unnecessary paperwork. And that's fine with me. Send them home, let them go fishing, because they are not contributing anyway. Who knows, given the opportunity, they might even find something to do that they care about.

Have you ever given thought to what percentage of the economy is soul-destroying and indeed socially counterproductive busy work that exists entirely as a place to park useless people—often people who have been made useless by overincentivising them with the threat of poverty—that for political reasons the government doesn't want to appear 'unemployed'?

Re:Very cool! (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 6 years ago | (#22921330)

I think most geniuses would perform better in a world where they had to fear from offending their bosses--and, indeed, spent less of their time covering basic necessities.

      The problem with the world is that the genius is usually the salaried employee/wage-slave, and the boss is the guy/gal who could brown-nose the most.

      I have never worked for someone smarter than me, until I started working for myself.

Re:Very cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22907200)

When I did this (for a week) the turnover every day was 30%.
They also had a 1 day "training" period where you didn't get paid, so 30% of their workforce was working for free.

Re:Very cool! (1)

p0tat03 (985078) | about 6 years ago | (#22903068)

I don't think *any* telemarketers are in their jobs because they *want* to be there. Sometimes you just don't have a choice - I for one do not blame someone if they choose to pester me with phone calls instead of starving.

I don't think the job market is really as sweet as you are making it out to be. For one thing, the economy goes up and down, people are unemployed constantly, and entire industries even seem to collapse occasionally. I wouldn't be surprised if some dotcommers had to make ends meet in call centers for a few years.

Not to mention you are assuming these people have the qualifications or experience necessary to take a better job than a phone monkey. Sometimes, due to life, laziness, or any number of factors, people don't get the education they need. As for government cushy jobs... most of these guys are college graduates, who often had to fight through bureaucratic hell to get to the positions they are in today. Staying in such a position is easy, but getting there is often more difficult than your not-so-cushy day job!

Re:Very cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22903572)

I used to say this, too, but it isn't so easy in reality, unfortunately. Yes, there's many better jobs available, but they're not necessarily available to YOU.

Case in point: I've got a friend who's got a Master's degree in biology. They've worked as a biologist for a couple of years, too, and need to find a new job now. The problem? While there's a bunch of jobs available in the field of biology where they COULD work, most of these have said "sorry, but with a Master's, you're overqualified". My friend's really getting desperate, and while I have no doubt they'll eventually find a job, it looks like it's flipping burgers at McDonald's for a while now first.

This is a real problem. I can half-understand why companies say these things - they want someone who'll actually stay with the job, of course, not someone who leaves again after two years for greener pastures -, but it is happening, and it might well lead to a situation where there's, for example, a biologist looking for work and a company looking for a biologist and where said biologist still cannot get said job and needs to work in some McJob instead.

Re:Very cool! (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 6 years ago | (#22906972)

If call centers suck so bad, why do people take the jobs ?

Because the alternative is starvation. As someone who has had to do telemarketing (only for two weeks, thank heavens), I can't imagine any less pressing reason anyone would do it.

Re:Very cool! (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 6 years ago | (#22908808)

Actually the alternative is social security. It's not great, but I'll actually respect someone in-between jobs better than someone who willingly makes a part of my life unpleasant in exchange for money.

In my book, someone working for a bastard is guilty by association. The employee of my enemy is still my enemy.

Re:Very cool! (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903130)

Due to unfortunate requirement for food, water, and shelter, I had to be a telemarketer for several years.

Were there really no other possible jobs you could have done?

What you may fail to recognize is that telemarketing is a slave driving business. The people on the phone, we didn't make squat off the sales.

Any employer will try and pay its employees the least it possibly can. This is even the case with businesses in the "grey" or "black" economy.
The reason "telemarketing" along with "door to door" selling is such a problem is that it involves disturbing people in their own homes. Whatever else might be wrong with the likes of prostitution or selling illegal drugs, at least they tend to follow the rule that customers have to activly seek suppliers.

Re:Very cool! (1)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | about 6 years ago | (#22904764)

I actually sympathize with the poor bastards that have to take such a crappy job. I assume they lack better choices. I don't sympathize nearly enough to listen to a spiel but I do try to say f*** off politely.

Re:Very cool! (1)

pherthyl (445706) | about 6 years ago | (#22901048)

Even faster. Pick up, say "Hello?" If there's no response within 1-2 seconds its a telemarketer and you can immediately hang up. They call lots of people at the same time and it takes a few seconds for them to put a human on when you pick up. Completely foolproof, and I haven't talked to a telemarketer in years.

Re:Very cool! (2, Insightful)

allanw (842185) | about 6 years ago | (#22901164)

Are you absolutely sure you're not getting any false positives there?

Re:Very cool! (1)

pherthyl (445706) | about 6 years ago | (#22901526)

Pretty sure. First of all, I only do this for numbers I don't recognize. If its a real human they will respond in a reasonable time. I can't think of any situation where an important call would use an automatic dialer. I've been called by Visa about some issue with my card, and they always use real humans that respond right away.

Re:Very cool! (3, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 6 years ago | (#22901574)

If it's a real person, and they actually want to talk to you, they'll figure they got disconnected somehow and call right back.

Re:Very cool! (2, Funny)

jwsmith00 (262885) | about 6 years ago | (#22901534)

I prefer "Hello (short pause) Hello (long pause) Hello (long pause) Hello (short pause) Is anyone there? (short pause) Hello" Click. They sometimes call back after they realize there was nothing wrong on their end.

Re:Very cool! (4, Funny)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903222)

I prefer "Hello (short pause) Hello (long pause) Hello (long pause) Hello (short pause) Is anyone there? (short pause) Hello" Click. They sometimes call back after they realize there was nothing wrong on their end.

An alternative would be to do the same thing, but in a language the caller is not expecting and hopefully dosn't understand. Possibly one of the few situations where it can be an advantage to know Klingon.

Re:Very cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22901162)

FTW if it's a chick esp. foreign accent I start a phone sex conversation with her using her bait words. "I would really enjoy having you service me" etc.

Re:Very cool! (5, Insightful)

Jorophose (1062218) | about 6 years ago | (#22901340)

For some reason people like to rage against telemarkerters...

But really now this is the most reasonable way to handle the situation if you don't want to be called back because management doesn't seem to understand the concept of "No thank you, I'm not interested.".

I've worked with telemarketers, and the stuff people do to them is rather crazy. It's not the grunts you want to bitch at, complain to the heads of the company.

Re:Very cool! (1)

icepick72 (834363) | about 6 years ago | (#22902116)

've worked with telemarketers, and the stuff people do to them is rather crazy.


Considering "crazy stuff" is done to telemarketers, presumably moreso than other industries, we have to assume there's something fundmentally wrong with telemarketing and *all* those involved, not just the heads of the company. I mean the average person being called never speaks to the head of a company -- they speak to a telemarketer on the front line. Telemarketing takes a special type of person.

Re:Very cool! (1)

adrianmonk (890071) | about 6 years ago | (#22902482)

I've worked with telemarketers, and the stuff people do to them is rather crazy. It's not the grunts you want to bitch at, complain to the heads of the company.

Sure I do. Not because I mean them ill-will, but because the more miserable I can make the job, (a) the higher turnover will be (thus causing problems for the management because of the effort required to hire new people and the lost productivity due to training and ramp-up time) and (b) the more money people demand in order to do it (thus causing problems for management).

Of course, I prefer not to make anyone's life miserable if at all possible, which is why the do-not-call list is a great thing. And naturally this only applies when I have no realistic means of contacting the management directly and have to make do with providing negative reinforcement in other ways.

Re:Very cool! (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 6 years ago | (#22907296)

Not because I mean them ill-will, but because the more miserable I can make the job, (a) the higher turnover will be (thus causing problems for the management because of the effort required to hire new people and the lost productivity due to training and ramp-up time) and (b) the more money people demand in order to do it (thus causing problems for management).

Telemarketing is already miserable enough that no one will do it for any price longer than they absolutely have to. If you're reduced to working in that "industry", you aren't in any position to make demands, you take whatever is offered and hope it will get you food. Consequently, the turnover is already the maximum it will be: the rate at which people find other, more prestigious and enjoyable jobs, such as cleaning toilets or hand-combing through someone else's garbage for lost possessions.

And there is no training involved in telemarketing. You call, read through a script, and if you get a sell, fill in a simple form.

Re:Very cool! (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903202)

I've worked with telemarketers, and the stuff people do to them is rather crazy. It's not the grunts you want to bitch at, complain to the heads of the company.

So all telemarketers will transfer you to a director if you ask or give you a list of names and direct (including home) numbers if they cannot transfer the call there and then?

Re:Very cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22906150)

For some reason people like to rage against telemarkerters...
It's not the grunts you want to bitch at, complain to the heads of the company.


Telemarketing is basically spamming. It is theft of time, a theft of human life experience. It is a blight on society. There is little difference between encountering someone on the street trying to sell you or your kids drugs or pitch their religion or conspiracy theories at you and having your phone ring with a telemarketer and a sales script on the other end.

So no, it's not just the heads of the company you want to bitch at. If you want to make the lives of absolutely everybody on the other end of the phone as miserable as you possibly can, you're perfectly justified in doing so. From the head of the company right down to the single mom who took the job two days ago because her kids are hungry and her MoneyTree account is tapped out. Anyone who aids or abets telemarketing might as well be carrying a sign around that reads "I am engaging in unacceptable behaviour, treat me as you will".

Re:Very cool! (1)

marafa (745042) | about 6 years ago | (#22906678)

enlighten me. why would that sentence make them hang up?

Re:Very cool! (1)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 6 years ago | (#22922676)

It's very illegal to call cell phones because you're 'paying' for the call. Incoming calls on landlines are free.

Same reason it's illegal to *67 a 1-800 number, because they're paying for the call.

Re:Very cool! (1)

rikkards (98006) | about 6 years ago | (#22901614)

We used to get bugged the most by Direct Energy. The last time they called I told them that since they don't seem to respect my wishes, why would I want to do business with them. It's been a while.

Normally I say "Take me off your call list". This usually works. However there is one that I still get which is an automated call and if you don't say you are interested, it will hang up. Next time, I may hit 1 as I am interested... in getting off their call list.

Re:Very cool! (2, Interesting)

Dunbal (464142) | about 6 years ago | (#22901720)

I usually interrupt the telemarketer and ask his or her name and the company they represent. Then I tell them to place me on their "do not call" list. Usually this works. A few times I have been called back by the same company days later. Again I immediately interrupt the telemarketer, ask their name, and ask to speak to their supervisor. Once the supervisor comes on, I inform him or her that I am currently recording this call, and that on day X at time Y I was called by employee "Z", asked to be placed on the "Do not call list". However I am being called again. I tell the supervisor to please ensure that I do not receive any more calls from their company. Usually does the trick.

Re:Very cool! (1)

Albert Sandberg (315235) | about 6 years ago | (#22904302)

I have a secret number. That way I can opt-in on everybody that should have it. I have a cell phone which is public but currently almost no companies call at it (and most of them where I've been a customer at one point). This doesn't keep of auto dialers, but I generally tell them that they phoned a secret number and ask them to put me on their do not call list, and nowadays I recieve maybe one call a month at tops.

fp? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22900262)

what, is everybody busy reading the article or something?

This man lives to his name (1)

billsf (34378) | about 6 years ago | (#22900378)

If the government fails, at least someone knows the spirit of governance! Lets wish Mr. Geist (spirit in Germanic languages) the very best. Is this a possible cure for spam where its legal or the laws are inadequate? Would this sort of citizen action hold up in the USA, where the most profit from spam is made? (This is total speculation based on original research.)

         

Re:This man lives to his name (4, Interesting)

garett_spencley (193892) | about 6 years ago | (#22900456)

"Is this a possible cure for spam where its legal or the laws are inadequate?"

All this does is send an e-mail on your behalf to various organizations asking that you be placed on their internal do-not-call-list. By-law any company in Canada that engages in telemarketing must remove you from their call list when requested.

The ironic part is that the system actually sends out bulk e-mail in order to operate. Whether or not that is "SPAM" is open to interpretation.

Re:This man lives to his name (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | about 6 years ago | (#22901122)

The ironic part is that the system actually sends out bulk e-mail in order to operate. Whether or not that is "SPAM" is open to interpretation.
That would really depend whether or not the emails were solicited and whether or not they stopped when requested.

Calling somebody should be considered consent so far as one is contacting the individual to opt out or inform them of the mistake. If the system only does that and stops after the notification is made then it isn't spam.

The only tricky part is setting things up so that it isn't ripe for abuse. And ensuring that the system won't continuously churn out emails for requests that have already been completed.

http://www.catalogchoice.org/ [catalogchoice.org] is a similar idea applied to catalogs. The site just sends opt outs, and in some cases opt ins when the person wants a new catalog, and they send a request to the business to stop sending more. The basic way that it's set up makes it advantageous for both sides.

You have to give them your address and the name on the mailing, but it's just information which is already publicly available to the company to get the correct mailing stopped.

Re:This man lives to his name (5, Funny)

DittoBox (978894) | about 6 years ago | (#22900996)

Your post advocates a

(x) technical ( ) legislative ( ) market-based ( ) vigilante

approach to fighting spam. your idea will not work. here is why it won't work. (one or more of the following may apply to your particular idea, and it may have other flaws which used to vary from state to state before a bad federal law was passed.)

(x) spammers can easily use it to harvest email addresses
( ) mailing lists and other legitimate email uses would be affected
( ) no one will be able to find the guy or collect the money
( ) it is defenseless against brute force attacks
( ) it will stop spam for two weeks and then we'll be stuck with it
( ) users of email will not put up with it
( ) microsoft will not put up with it
( ) the police will not put up with it
(x) requires too much cooperation from spammers
( ) requires immediate total cooperation from everybody at once
( ) many email users cannot afford to lose business or alienate potential employers
( ) spammers don't care about invalid addresses in their lists
( ) anyone could anonymously destroy anyone else's career or business

specifically, your plan fails to account for

( ) laws expressly prohibiting it
(x) lack of centrally controlling authority for email
(x) open relays in foreign countries
( ) ease of searching tiny alphanumeric address space of all email addresses
(x) asshats
( ) jurisdictional problems
( ) unpopularity of weird new taxes
( ) public reluctance to accept weird new forms of money
( ) huge existing software investment in smtp
( ) susceptibility of protocols other than smtp to attack
( ) willingness of users to install os patches received by email
(x) armies of worm riddled broadband-connected windows boxes
( ) eternal arms race involved in all filtering approaches
(x) extreme profitability of spam
( ) joe jobs and/or identity theft
( ) technically illiterate politicians
( ) extreme stupidity on the part of people who do business with spammers
( ) dishonesty on the part of spammers themselves
( ) bandwidth costs that are unaffected by client filtering
( ) outlook
(x) botnets

and the following philosophical objections may also apply:

( ) ideas similar to yours are easy to come up with, yet none have ever been shown practical
(x) any scheme based on opt-out is unacceptable
( ) smtp headers should not be the subject of legislation
( ) blacklists suck
( ) whitelists suck
( ) we should be able to talk about viagra without being censored
( ) countermeasures should not involve wire fraud or credit card fraud
( ) countermeasures should not involve sabotage of public networks
( ) countermeasures must work if phased in gradually
( ) sending email should be free
( ) why should we have to trust you and your servers?
( ) incompatibility with open source or open source licenses
( ) feel-good measures do nothing to solve the problem
( ) temporary/one-time email addresses are cumbersome
( ) i don't want the government reading my email
( ) killing them that way is not slow and painful enough

furthermore, this is what i think about you:

(x) sorry dude, but i don't think it would work.
( ) this is a stupid idea, and you're a stupid person for suggesting it.
( ) nice try, assh0le! i'm going to find out where you live and burn your house down!

Re:This man lives to his name (1)

Nosferatu Alucard (713350) | about 6 years ago | (#22901488)

For some reason, I find posts like this absolutely fasinating. Are these actually typed out or generated? I'd totally put ideas against a test like this. It's like organized criticism!

Re:This man lives to his name (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#22905544)

We just keep the blank form and place Xs where appropriate. It's fun because everything fits it so far :^D

Do not call (2, Insightful)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | about 6 years ago | (#22900454)

I think I'll just stick to my never listed and currently unlisted phone number.

Re:Do not call (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22901102)

I think I'll just stick to my never listed and currently unlisted phone number.
Wait a minute, isn't your method just "security through obscurity" since a nine-digit "secret" phone number is hardly cryptographically secure? As for me, I'll just stick to continuing to not have any kind of phone at all, which shouldn't be too difficult to keep up considering -- as you can tell from my cryptographic analysis above -- that I don't have any friends. :)

Re:Do not call (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903242)

Wait a minute, isn't your method just "security through obscurity" since a nine-digit "secret" phone number is hardly cryptographically secure?

It's even less "secure" than the number of digits might lead people to expect. Certain combinations of numbers are always invalid according to the numbering plan, others will always lead to places the telemarketing company certainly does not want to call and lists of allocated and unallocated numbers (which are likely to be in groups of something like 10,000) are hardly secret.

Re:Do not call (1)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | about 6 years ago | (#22926480)

Most systems use a database of existing numbers, it seems to me. They don't just dial one after the other. My evidence is simple. I don't receive solicitation phone calls.

Re:Do not call (1)

mrbcs (737902) | about 6 years ago | (#22902242)

Bots don't need a phone book.. they just call incrementally. I've had telemarketer call on an unlisted and number blocked phone. There's no way they got that number from anyone.. yet they called... and got hung up on.

Farming (4, Insightful)

ChatHuant (801522) | about 6 years ago | (#22900530)

Good way to collect active and not spam-trapped e-mail addresses, and maybe link them to phone numbers as well. As a company, I may not send mail or call the phone numbers Mr. Geist is so nicely forwarding to me, but what stops me from selling them to spammers? I don't have a direct relationship with the customer, so, AFAICT there is no legal issue.

Re:Farming (0, Troll)

protobion (870000) | about 6 years ago | (#22900814)

Or , if one were to be cynical, what if Mr.Geist is operating precisely such a farm to later sell the numbers to companies not listed on their website?
This is a formula to make tons of money at one shot, the company be damned later.

Re:Farming (1)

Nichotin (794369) | about 6 years ago | (#22901026)

Spamming these e-mail-addresses is probably very inefficient. They are trying to avoid advertisement after all.

Re:Farming (1)

TheSpoom (715771) | about 6 years ago | (#22905556)

Spamming these addresses has effectively zero cost. Therefore, since there are real people at the other end, there is no reason for a spammer not to add them to their overall list.

Re:Farming (1)

celest (100606) | about 6 years ago | (#22902224)

You are mistaken. It is a legal issue.

PIPEDA requires that you use any electronically collected personal information (including information sent via email) only for the purpose for which it was given, and you must get explicit consent to use it in any other manner.

As such, companies that receive personal information in an email request asking that they never be contacted may only ever (legally) use that information for the purpose of ensuring that the requesting person is never contacted.

Anything else is a violation of federal privacy law.

Re:What are the penalties? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22903476)

It may not be legal but if the fines for violating that law are less than the money made by such violations then most companies will do it anyway. In fact, in the US (not sure about Canada) a company can be sued for not doing it anyway and paying the fines as companies have a duty to maximize profit no matter what.

Sad (1)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | about 6 years ago | (#22900742)

It's sad when incompetent people fail to do a job they were payed to do but then a guy with much less in resources goes and does it no problem. Sadly this is happening more and more lately.

how to deal with telemarketers (2, Interesting)

the brown guy (1235418) | about 6 years ago | (#22901240)

Having worked as a telemarketer for a few weeks, the most effective way to get them to not call is to say: a) No English. b) I'm not over 18...and no nobody else in the house is either.

Re:how to deal with telemarketers (2, Interesting)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | about 6 years ago | (#22901370)

Ah, yes - it's even better if you actually speak an obscure language. I speak Welsh at people with clipboards or Bibles who try to talk to me in the street - strangely, I'd never thought of trying it with telemarketers. Though I think often the problem is that they have my name from somewhere, so I have to at least find out whether they're legitimately calling to, say, offer me a job or something before telling them to screw themselves.

Re:how to deal with telemarketers (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903262)

Ah, yes - it's even better if you actually speak an obscure language. I speak Welsh at people with clipboards or Bibles who try to talk to me in the street - strangely, I'd never thought of trying it with telemarketers.

Presumably you don't live anywhere near Wales :)

Re:how to deal with telemarketers (1)

psychodelicacy (1170611) | about 6 years ago | (#22908456)

:) England, in fact. But even in South Wales, where I grew up, Welsh is really a minority language. There, though, I speak to the clipboard/Bible people in French instead!

Re:how to deal with telemarketers (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | about 6 years ago | (#22903170)

Tips for getting rid of a marketer once you have one on the phone are helpful, but the real question is how to stop them from disturbing the peace of your home and disrupting your concentration in the first place.

Re:how to deal with telemarketers (1)

JimFive (1064958) | about 6 years ago | (#22921386)

Tips for getting rid of a marketer once you have one on the phone are helpful, but the real question is how to stop them from disturbing the peace of your home and disrupting your concentration in the first place.
1. Remember that your telephone is a device for your own convenience, not anyone else's. Therefore...
2. Turn off the ringer on your phone
3. Don't answer the phone
4. If using a landline - Turn down the volume on the answering machine

And, if there are certain people that you must allow to interrupt you. then...
5. Use a cellphone that allows you to set the ring specific to the incoming number.
6. Don't ever let your company buy your cell phone.
--
JimFive

Michael Liberal Geist (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22901364)

yawn

How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang up? (1)

Hamster Lover (558288) | about 6 years ago | (#22901554)

What is so fucking difficult about simply saying, "No thanks," and hanging up, or just hanging up, period, no conversation required? No need to be rude, angry, uncivil or impolite, just businesslike. And I don't need lists, web sites, government agencies and university professors, albeit one that has my thorough respect, to accomplish something as simple as "no."

I used to work myself into a froth over these calls until I realized it's just a phone call.

Re:How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 6 years ago | (#22901610)

That's fine, except that they call you back. The newspaper used to call me once a week to see if I wanted a subscription. Their calls are specifically designed to make you feel guilty for hanging up on them.

What's wrong with getting yourself added to their internal do not call list? What's wrong with a convenient service that adds you to all of them at once?

Re:How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 6 years ago | (#22902062)

What? If I suspect you're a telemarketer, you've got about 3 seconds to explain why you're not a telemarketer, and another 10 seconds to qualify that statement. The second I get any grief I hang up. You're letting them waste way too much of your life if they get to the point where they can try and guilt you about something.

Re:How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang (2, Interesting)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 6 years ago | (#22902210)

I'm not talking about ME. I don't feel the least bit of guilt about telling them I'm REALLY interested and then setting the phone on my subwoofer for the next ten minutes.

Now, my grandmother, she comes from a different era, when hanging up on someone who's talking to you is something you didn't do. She's also characteristic of the demographic who tend to believe things nice people on the phone tell them. In other words, precisely the demographic scummy telemarketers are after.

Personally, I think the world would be a much nicer place if the general public let advertisers know in no uncertain terms that they're not appreciated.

Re:How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang (1)

BMojo (315620) | about 6 years ago | (#22901646)

We get 3 or 4 calls a day. I'm sure some have it even worse. Our phone has become almost useless because we only answer numbers that we know. It gets on your nerves. I don't know how you can say it's a simple task to deal with; it's a never ending task.

landline=outgoing only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22902138)

That's how I deal with it, landline is for outgoing calls only, we only give out the cellphone number. No telemarketers on cells, so we can completely ignore any incoming calls on the landline, because they are 100% spam then. Stuck on dialup anyway for net connection, so have to have the landline, but it is useful to keep costs down on the cellplan, which is cheapest pre-paid we can find. It's worked out OK enough. Even if businesses harvest the phone number, it is useless to them because we just *do not* answer that phone. People who need us call on the cell, I might call them right back on the landline if it is long distance and our cell minutes are running out, and that's about it. If it is strictly enforced, you'll never get another spam call again, you can even just turn the ringer all the way off.

Re:How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22901678)

What is so fucking difficult about simply saying, "No thanks," and hanging up, or just hanging up, period, no conversation required?

      Because if you do that, you WILL be called again in a week or so, "to see if you've changed your mind". I used to be a telemarketer. I know how the system works. Unless you specifically ask not to be called again you'll just be fed back into the system and the computer will dial you again. If you specify that you do not want to be called then I have to tick a little box that says to ignore you from now on.

Re:How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22902780)

What you mean to say is that they check the box saying 'remove from list' if I'M LUCKY. I've been getting calls a lot lately, always early in the morning, always from some number showing up as 'California Call' that is mysteriously disconnected if I try to call back (to see what company it is). It's usually an automated message talking about my car insurance. Please note that I don't own a car. >_

I have tried to opt out there...it says 'press 2' to get off the calling list. Didn't work. Have asked for supervisor...mysteriously got hung up on (or told that the supervisor was busy and that they would call me...pfft, right). Have asked for the telemarketer to take me off of their list...obviously that didn't work.

On top of that, I'm on the 'National Do-Not-Call' Registry of the United States. I try to complain to them, and basically they won't let me even though I've been on the list for far longer than their 'grace period', where you may still get calls.

Re:How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903306)

On top of that, I'm on the 'National Do-Not-Call' Registry of the United States.

Do all the calls you get originate in the US? Nothing much to stop the operators being in another NANP country. Let alone the possibility that they might be anywhere on the planet and using a VoIP service which provides them with outgoing only telephone numbers which are in the same country as number being called. In which case unless a regulator had the right powers they will end up playing "whack a mole".

Re:How about just a simple, "No thanks," and hang (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903272)

What is so fucking difficult about simply saying, "No thanks," and hanging up, or just hanging up, period, no conversation required? No need to be rude, angry, uncivil or impolite, just businesslike.

Comments like this really need an "irony" tag. An alternative POV would be "My phone my rules. If you don't like the results of calling me then don't do it."

opt out? (1)

joko0406 (960162) | about 6 years ago | (#22902894)

why would you have to opt out? should be reverse. And where did they get your number? With proper privacy laws those calls should be a non issue and indeed they are here (germany). Unless you have a contract with someone they are not allowed to bother you and mostly that works.

Re:opt out? (1)

mpe (36238) | about 6 years ago | (#22903318)

why would you have to opt out? should be reverse. And where did they get your number? With proper privacy laws those calls should be a non issue and indeed they are here (germany). Unless you have a contract with someone they are not allowed to bother you and mostly that works.

Also where this is done properly consent for a company to call you for one purpose does not imply consent for any other purposes. e.g. if you give them a number for a company to contact you about the delivery of goods they can't then call you to try and sell you something you havn't ordered from them. But could use it for something related to any later orders you may make with them unless you give them other instructions.

What authority does he have? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#22903490)

Seriously, what makes this guy any different from say... me? I can setup a web site call it "MY DO NOT CALL SUXORS!" and get tons of people to sign up, but what good is it if

  • Companies don't honour it
  • It no legal standing

Just seems like a lot of pissing in the wind to me

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