Is Call Blocking effective against Robocalls? I don’t think so.

From a discussion in 800notes:

Blocking is effective and should not be given a status as useless in any effort towards promoting another combating method by “converting” people away from it.

I know that correlation is not causation, but a reverse correlation would seem to indicate no causation. In the report from the FTC National Do Not Call Registry Data Book Fiscal Year 2016 on page 24 is a chart of telemarketing complaints over time since the DNC was created. I’m sure we are both confident in assuming call blocking use has gone up? The number of complaints have been increasing in the last 3 years, despite increased adoption of ‘effective’ call blocking. If it was detrimental to telemarketers I would expect, if not require, that number would go down.

Your call blocker only really serves one purpose – keep your phone (and only your phone) quiet on a repeated call. It’s a strictly personal impact. There’s no evidence that shows that it has any appreciable negative impact to telemarketers making robocalls. There’s always people that answers the call, talks to the agent/closer, and ends up buying something. That is the interaction you have to interrupt/restrict to do something about it.

Ease of setting up autodialers, extremely low VoIP costs, CNAM dipping all make telemarketing pretty easy and low cost. FTC and other reports of telemarketers making literally millions of calls per day indicates that blocking isn’t even slowing them down. Call spoofing, which may but likely not be solely or partially due to call blocking, can spoof vastly more numbers than call blockers can store – a trend which I don’t see changing anytime soon. I see more indications that spoofing has more to do with keeping their identities hidden than any impact by call blocking. But the final act of talking with the agent and making (or not making) the purchase is still the same.

Call blocking has purposes, but it’s a limited benefit. I used to block some until I realized that managing that is unmanageable, since every day there were always new numbers and long lists of now irrelevant numbers. I still have a lengthy list of blocked numbers on my cell phone, but none of them has called in years. That was before spoofing was as common as today. You may like that benefit, and that’s fine. You do what helps you. But don’t mistake that as it’s doing something to damage the robocall telemarketing industry.

We are waiting for the government to do something more. We are waiting for the telephone companies to do something more. I just think we need more people to stop waiting and start doing something now.


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