May 01, 2015
YouMail Survey Shows the Dark Impact of Spam Alternatives
By Steve Anderson
Contributing TMCnet Writer
Recently, we had a look at a growing trend in the business field, the use of cloud-based interactive calling systems as a different kind of spam that didn't involve email or unusual food choices. While the early word made this spam alternative seem insidious, that measure only got more pronounced with a new survey from YouMail (News - Alert), showing the impact of such systems on everyday operations.
Perhaps the biggest problem the YouMail survey points out is that the common measures of countering spam phone calls, otherwise known as robocalls, simply don't work. Seventy-four percent of mobile phone users in the United States are getting spam calls every month, and it's starting to have an impact on small business productivity as well. Thirty-five percent of respondents reported at least one spam call per day, and 60 percent of respondents reported losing time to these spam callers as well. Sixty-nine percent claimed to have no good way to deal with spam calls other than hanging up or deleting the message and carrying on with the day.
As for how to deal with such matters, ideas ranged widely. Twenty-five percent of respondents supported some kind of new legislation to address these issues, specifically a ban on “...the ability to send spam calls and messages altogether”. A significantly larger portion at 71 percent, meanwhile, preferred to bring in a software app that can identify and block spam calls automatically. The standard measure of protection, the federal Do Not Call Registry Act, which generated the federal Do Not Call list, was regarded as either “mostly ineffective” or “practically useless” by 52 percent of respondents.
With such statistics in mind, it likely won't prove surprising to find that YouMail actually has a software feature geared toward preventing spam callers. Known as Smart Blocking, users are given the option to ignore calls when there's any doubt over who's actually calling. YouMail then steps in to handle the rest, making the spam caller believe it's reached a disconnected number. Since spammers often maintain lists of disconnected numbers—which are then shared around—YouMail's CEO Alex Quilici (News - Alert) expressed belief that that would drive down the numbers of spam calls arriving for YouMail users.
I don't get many spam calls myself, but I hung up on Rachel at Cardholder Services often enough to know that I'd rather not hear from her any more. The losses of productivity aren't necessarily that large, but it's enough to break into a normal workflow and lose that couple of minutes getting back into the groove. Not always easy, and certainly something I'd rather not do in a day. Of course, I'm likewise concerned about getting the government involved, and if a software app can do the job, then by all means, carry on.
One way or another, people aren't particularly interested in spam. Highly intrusive, often annoying, and likely not all that effective, hopefully the market will discover that spamming doesn't work all that well and move on. Until that day, though, there are things like YouMail's Smart Blocking system to help.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino