Today it often feels like we are constantly tethered to our phones. It can be downright exhausting trying to keep up with the endless stream of calls, texts, emails and social media feeds. To make matters worse, chances are you have received at least one of those annoying calls with an automated message on other end of the line trying to sell you a product you don’t want, or even worse, trying to bait you into providing your personal information. The industry term for this type of harassing and unsolicited call is known as a Robocall.
So, what is a Robocall? A Robocall is a call that is initiated by a computer auto dialer to deliver a pre-recorded message. You know “hello, this is Jane Smith running for congress”. In fact, the genesis of Robocalls in the US can be traced back to candidates running for political office in the 1980s that used the technology in an attempt to win over potential voters. Today, most Robocalls are associated with telemarketing campaigns.
Some Robocalls are even designed to mimic similar area codes and local numbers that might appear familiar to you in an effort to get you to answer the phone when it rings. Others may have the capability to spoof existing numbers from your contact list.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the governing body responsible for creating and enforcing rules around the use of Robocalls. According to industry contributions in a recent FCC report, consumers in the US may have received nearly 50 billion Robocalls in 2018 alone. Nearly half of those calls were likely scams. Fortunately for consumers, the FCC recently adopted a policy that now allows suspected illegal and unwanted calls to be blocked by default.
The benefits of the FCC policy are that companies can now use data analytics, machine learning and other technologies to block Robocalls. We see this new policy as an opportunity to improve the industry for everybody, businesses and consumers.
Any reputable pay-per-call network will leverage several of these Robocall blocking technologies to screen for and eliminate as many Robocalls as possible before they have an opportunity to hit the pay-per-call network. The most advanced pay-per-call networks may even apply their own systems and techniques for Robocall screening and blocking, including the ability to categories calls based on varying levels of suspicion in order to distinguish between desirable and undesirable Robocalls. So, for example, a desired Robocall from your doctor’s office or child’s school may be allowed into the network, but a Robocall from a telemarketer on the other hand would be blocked from the network.
Robocalls will continue to be a nuisance for businesses and consumers alike. Therefore, the goal is to align yourself with an experienced pay-per-call network that is a thought leader in the space and will proactively work to eliminate as many bothersome Robocalls as possible.