Phonevite Blog

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What we think of Robocalls

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“I hate those annoying robocalls” is what I read in the news and blogosphere quite often. There is an organization with the sole purpose of stopping them. From my Google research of the term “Robocall”, it is mostly used in the negative sense, as famously derided by former vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who, ironically, was criticizing her own campaign’s robocalls.

So, what do Phonevite and I think about them? Well, the answer is we agree and disagree.

If by Robocalls we are talking about unsolicited calls, without permission and/or prior existing relationship, soliciting a purchase, vote, order and/or donation, then we agree and wish that these type of calls be limited or done away with. In fact, our home page and Terms of Service explicitly spell out that we do not want Phonevite to be used for Telemarketing or Solicitations. Yes, there is a way for these types of calls to be made in a non-intrusive, legal way, to people who have opted-in and/or have an existing established relationship, but we do not have the legal expertise/resources or technical system, yet, to filter appropriately and provide our customers with a mechanism to send calls only to those pertinent parties. Because of such limitation, we’d rather issue a blanket prohibition and play it safe, than mar our reputation for respect of privacy, and also, because indiscrimate spamming, whether done over the phone, text or email, is annoying and intrusive.

If by Robocalls we are talking about any type of automated calling, voice broadcasting, autodialer and/or phone tree, that uses current and future technologies available to send pre-recorded messages to many parties at once, then we disagree, as strongly, with the position that such calls should be banned without discrimination. Ask the thousands of schools that use such systems to broadcast weather-related closing announcements to the parents, community organizations that send emergency alerts to the neighbors, the churches that connect with their congregations, the sports coaches letting the team know the game is cancelled because of rain, and the overwhelming majority will tell you of the many benefits of these systems. It is in these type of community-based alerts, notifications, reminders and invitations that Phonevite specializes. We understand that these systems could be abused by people with wrong intents, and that is why we have placed several safeguards (e.g. mandatory phone number verification, opt-out prompt at the end of every call, etc.) as well as a daily monitoring system for potential misuse of our service.

The dangers of abuse exist with any kind of communication system: email, voice or text. It would be ridiculous to ban the usage of the computer, phone and/or cell phone only because of their potential to be used abusively or because someone has already used the devices for spamming purposes. I hope we don’t chop the technological tree just because of a few rotten apples. It is better to prune those spoiled branches and to diligently watch and care for the growth of the whole tree.

Written by phonevite

February 17, 2009 at 3:11 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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