Ringless voice mail drops are a non-nuisance form of messaging and are an alternative to robo-calls and it really does put the power in those consumers hands where they can listen to the message or not listen to the message.


– Josh Justice, CEO of Stratics Networks, a telemarketing firm



New technology doesn’t solve every problem in society but these days it does solve a whole lot of them.

And I was recently very excited to learn that there had been a pretty good compromise found with regard to the telemarketing problem – a brand new solution that allows telephone pitchmen and pitchwomen to continue to make their pitches – but which, most importantly, keeps you from being bothered by a ringing telephone.

In the past, one solution some have proposed to the telemarketing problem is banning the practice all together, but industry reps, quite understandably, don’t want that to happen. According to one market research website, telemarketing in the US constitutes an $18 billion industry – so you know they don’t want to see the practice put to an end. But customers get tired of the constant “spam” phone calls; and telemarketers, I’m sure, get tired of all the vitriol and anger they get from people who don’t want to be bothered by unwelcome calls.

So I was delighted the other night when I saw a story on the NBC evening news about how some companies have come up with a solution that takes the interests of both sides into account. It’s an attempt to find a middle ground – a way to appease both telemarketers and the innocent people who are simply trying to enjoy their lives. Here it is: With technology, telemarketers have the ability to just bypass the ring altogether and go straight to your voicemail, so, with this marketing strategy, you won’t ever have to worry about hearing a telemarketer ring your phone – you’ll just have telemarketing calls in your voicemail that you can check at your convenience, hopefully when you aren’t very busy.   Potential customers of the product can play the message and, if it’s something they’re interested in, listen to the complete message, and, if it isn’t, then they can just hit delete.

It’s a “win-win,” with the marketing company getting its message to those customers it wants to reach, while at the same time, not bothering those people on the other end. Josh Justice, the head of one of these companies, was in the NBC report and he explained that the new “ringless voice mail drops” are a “non-nuisance” form of marketing.

After all these years, it’s good to see telemarketers finally getting the picture and seeking solutions. Having those calls in my voicemail is not as intrusive or as an annoying as a telemarketer call. Sure, it may take a little work to listen to the message and delete it, but, really, it’s no more of a nuisance than if I were to, say, go to Josh Justice’s house while he wasn’t there and shove armfuls of rotten garbage into his refrigerator, jamming it so full that he couldn’t get anything else in there.

You know, if he didn’t want that rotten garbage in there and he wanted to make space for the food he bought instead, he could just move the garbage out of the way and then put his food in. And it wouldn’t be any more of a nuisance than if I, say, took some more rotten garbage and dumped it in his car because, if he wanted to drive somewhere, he could still do it just fine with a little effort even after a complete stranger had come uninvited to his house and filled his car with rubbish. Plus, you know, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so he might really love the supposed “garbage,” and, like I said, if you don’t like rotten garbage you can just lift it out of the seat or push it aside, and that will create plenty of room to sit in your car again.

The point Josh is making about ringless voicemail drops is a very good one. It’s based on the well-known principal: You don’t want unannounced strangers ringing your doorbell, but, for some reason, you never seem to mind at all if someone creeps into your house uninvited and you see them standing there out of the blue. I guess the reason that doesn’t really bother you is because they didn’t disturb you by ringing the doorbell before coming in.

Listen, telemarketer people! Listen up and listen good, because I am only going to say this once: I don’t want your phone calls! WE don’t want your phone calls. And we also certainly don’t want your unwelcome robotic rip-off sales pitches taking up our day and crowding out important voicemails that we do care about.

Neither I, nor any of the other 7.4 billion people on the planet, want to come out of a meeting and see that we have 17 messages from 17 area codes listed as “Unknown caller,” with voice messages about baby food discounts or some BS extended warranty for our cars or about how we should contribute to the Blind Disabled Homeless Orphan’s Fund.

Josh, you can talk all you want about “non-nuisance voicemail drops” but do you know how stupid you sound when you say things like how great it is that you can pollute someone’s voicemail without disturbing them? This new “solution” demonstrates complete and utter cluelessness and it shows how scarily out of touch with reality you telemarketer people are.

You say it’s a reputable business, but if what you do is so reputable, then why are you using a fake superhero name rather than your real name? And why do the numbers you call us from not take incoming calls? Is it, per chance, because you don’t want the aggravation of having strangers call you and say things you don’t want to hear?

And by the way, “Josh,” you’re not fooling anyone by calling it a voicemail “drop.” Drop is what the rain does to water or what P. Diddy does to a new album.

Oh, and also, “Josh,” I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “non-nuisance.” I don’t think that word means what you think it means. The truth is, by even making that claim, you are proving yourself to be inconceivable.  

You people remind me of someone who used to work at the Rhino Times.

A long time ago, when I would try to work at my desk, everyone in the office would stop by and talk to me, so, when I was on deadline and really needed to get my work done, I would take my MacBook and go to the very back conference room and shut the door. One time, utterly swamped, I did that, and this coworker opened the door and walked in and said, “Hey, how come you’re always coming back here to work?”

I looked up from the computer and said, “Well, I come back here because I really need to get my work done, and, when I tried to work at my desk people kept talking to me and bothering me – so that’s why, like today, I came back here for the peace and quiet.”

And her face just lit up with understanding and she took a seat and said, “Oh yeah! I know what you mean; I hate people like that! They just talk and talk and talk and they have no realization of how annoying it is and …”

Telemarketers, you are that person – simultaneously incredibly annoying and amazingly clueless.

And, for all you talking heads on TV now lobbying in favor of this horrible new voicemail practice, how do you look yourselves in the mirror when you go to sleep at night? Who even has the conscience to work in a job like that, and spout off BS such as, “It’s not annoying to get telemarketing messages in your voicemail”?

Here’s how I picture those job interviews for lobbyist jobs advocating for the telemarketing industry. I can tell you exactly what that interview is like: You walk into a room and you hand them a resume and start to tell them where you went to school and all about yourself and where you did communications work before, and they just stop you and wave you off and say, “No, no, no. We don’t care about any of that,” and then they give you a sheet of paper and say they just want to see if you can read it while keeping a straight face, as serious as possible.  

And you read from the paper, “Robo-messages are in no way a nuisance at all, and, in fact, a recent survey found that 98 percent of people love getting robo-calls and telemarketing voicemails, and 95 percent of those surveyed said those calls offer very valuable opportunities and great deals.”

And if you somehow manage to make it through the copy without busting out laughing, you hear, “Welcome to the team, Josh – you’re our new head of Public Relations!”