Robocall Registry An Assault on 1st Amendment Rights

June 28, 2008

As I have read through the numerous blogs, articles, and podcasts regarding the political Do Not Call Registry, I begin to wonder “what are we doing to ourselves?” I mean we blame George W. Bush for eroding our personal freedoms in the name of public safety and fear. Some zealots come knocking on our door about a registry and you graciously sign away your freedoms.

What freedoms do you ask? How about your right to make robocalls into a Congressional District to poll voters about your political leaders ability to lead. Your rights to run a successful campaign with little or no money against an incumbent that may have a 6-7 figure war chest.

How is the common man supposed to compete with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama? How many of us really have $10 Million that we can pull out of our bank accounts to pay for a presidential run? How about a Congressional run? Robocalls are a way to reach a large portion of the population with platform issues that can cover more ground than a knock at the door and a highly unorganized HQ campaign calling.

Thousands of Americans would rather give up this right because they are annoyed a few times a year? I still have to watch the commercials, but there isn’t an uproar over the vast amount of money being spent to annoy us for 30 seconds on television. Why don’t we ban commercials as well. Why don’t we ban mailers. Why don’t we ban people knocking at our door. Why don’t we ban lawn signs, bumper stickers, pins…heck why don’t we just ban candidates!

That’s where America is headed. One out of two eligible voters gets to the polls since the 1960’s. We may have seen a spike in a few presidential elections, but the Election of 2000 saw 50%. That is sad. In my county, it is 35%. One out of 3 people go to the polls in off-election years. Australia has it right because there is a fine associated with not voting so 95% turn out. New York State wants to make money, have them pass a Compulsory Voting Law. Then again we might see “real” politics happen and that would undo everything these 20+ year legislator office holding runs. They would actually have to follow through with campaign promises!

I find that the people that complain too much about the robocalls are really just a minority of people that cornered the market while no one was looking. States that are less populated are going to pass laws against robocalls because its cheaper to run a campaign. Try running a simple school board campaign in any number of suburbs of California, Florida, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Texas. We won’t see those registries pop up anywhere near those states because it’s not feasible to run campaigns there and legislators rely heavily on contacting the most people for the cheapest price!

While I applaud Shaun Dakin’s efforts to flood the market with articles, blogs, and interviews, its an uphill battle that he won’t win. You might have Indiana and a few other states locked down, but try your business in New York. I will laugh at you. Politics is big business here. Just to run for local office, you better have at least $1 Million in your war chest.

I think that Dakin’s efforts are noble, but futile. He acts just like a politician with the website and the “thanks for emailing us, someone will get back to you shortly” message. I don’t think he’s replacing anything. I would suspect that at one time, he probably worked for the United States Postal Service. He’s either being supported by lobby groups for the USPS, or by the Postal Unions themselves. I mean Dakin, you must understand that politics is moving forward with technology, what makes you think that stopping robocalls is going to stop the politicians from going to your house?

Wait until the personal video, where Joe Schmoe is running for County Legislator and he sends a personalized video mail to your television. Text messaging is on the rise in political campaigns. They are reaching you when you aren’t home? What’s the difference when they aren’t calling your house but they are texting you while you are at the grocery store, at the mall, in the car, the list goes on. Texting is a different technology than robocalls with some similarities. No laws written have expressed any kind of language that omits being texted. There is nothing mentioned about SMS technology. That’s because the leadership in our country probably can’t even text a message to anyone!

It has been my experience that the people complaining about robocalls are registered voters that don’t go to vote. They just belong to the party since they signed up when they were 18. I would highly expect that the majority of the people on Dakin’s registry are non voters that are enrolled in a party. They use the excuse to say they are registered to friends, but they really don’t have views, are politically motivated, or even care who represents them in Congress. They try to drum up these reports and studies that show young people are the most apathetic. Well it’s because the majority of “lifer” politicians ignore them. So why should they vote? Then when they do have the chance at age 30 something, those “lifer” politicians get voted out simply because they outlived their usefulness.

I blame the Baby-boomer generation for these robocall registries. A picture of Dakin on one of the corporate social linking sites shows him to look into his 40s. No wonder why he doesn’t like robocalls, his generation never experienced the Computer Age quite like my peers did. He wasn’t around during the MTV channel premiere because he was most likely either in the work force or in college. There was not a wide proliferation of television sets. People do not use media today like they did back then. They were too busy burning bras, their draft cards, and fighting to invoke a counter culture. Well here we go! They are all now retiring and becoming the fastest block of voters that don’t vote! They also contributed to the rise of a whole slew of political cronies throughout America that is only interested in serving themselves.

The Baby Boomers fear technology. They don’t understand that you can text an order to Starbucks in NYC and get the coffee when they arrive and already pay for it. I will admit that some of them are technologically savvy, but that is because their work or 3rd career forces them to learn these “darn fangled” devices.

Everything is a home invasion for these people, while my generation embraces it. Big Brother is watching you! Yeah okay, you bought right into the current administration’s hands. Meanwhile you are cutting the last few ties that bind you to the political process.

People complain that their representatives don’t do more for them. They complain that they never hear about their accomplishments in government on their behalf. People complain that they would like their opinions to count. Well the lazy baby boomers have come up with the Do Not Call Registry because they didn’t feel they had to leave their house. God forbid they would have to drive or walk to the local County Board of Elections office and erase their number on the list. No, people like Dakin have to make a huge spectacle out of everything! Even though the same technology could save a life during a hurricane, alert the neighborhood to a predator, find your pet, get a prerecorded message from Joe Schmoe telling you that he’s currently passing a bill that could cut your taxes and leave it on your voice mail.

No we don’t want to be bothered because we would rather complain. Well burn your bra, Dakin! When you die of old age, the rest of my generation will just repeal your selfish laws and registries because robocalls make sense. You might find the calls to be ridiculous, so just buy an unlisted number, build a moat, fall off the grid, and you and the rest of your followers can buy a nice tract of ranch land in Wyoming that Alan Thicke is selling and drink the poison Kool-Aid.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not here to single anyone out except Dakin and his non-voting followers. There are plenty of Baby Boomers that are doing the right thing. However that is slightly less than about 40 million people. In a country of over 300 million, that is about 1/7th of the total population and I am taking into consideration that those figures works in 1/3 of the total population divided by 50% of voters (1 out of 2) in that age bracket…give or take. You combine that with the results of the 2000 Elections and you have 100 million people once you combine the 1/4 of young and elderly voters.

I also don’t think all politicians are bad, just the ones in New York State. Only because they have lacked true initiative to do anything remotely advantageous for the people. They spend twice as much as the rate of inflation and then tax the people to death! No wonder more people are leaving this state! A correlation? Gee I wonder!

However I can attribute my parents’ generation and their actions to today’s society. I just think that they are put off by technology that they are scared of and want it to disappear because they lived in a Cold War society that thought hiding under a desk would protect them from an atomic blast. At the same time, many of them, about 50,000 according to Dakin, don’t care about anything except themselves. Dakin doesn’t even like when people call his house using Findtoto.com in order to have the neighborhood search for their pets. That’s the kind of person Dakin is and that is the kind of society he chooses to be involved in. I think it’s poisonous to America and everything it stands for.

In conclusion, I say that not voting, burning your draft card, and signing up for the Robocall Do Not Call registry is un-American. The only thing that Dakin is fostering is the movement towards complete and utter apathy! He’s the type of guy who would watch you get shot on his lawn, complain that you are bleeding on his grass, and go inside his house and not call the authorities. If 50,000 people want to join him, then at least we have a collection of phone numbers to start when it comes to texting the Hell out of them!

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What To Do When Robocalls Annoy You

June 21, 2008

Hi Kids!

Today I am going to talk to you about Robocall Safety. Every year I listen to people complain and threaten me, my company, and my very well-being because they received a robocall. Now if you follow my advice, you too will be able to rid your house of those pesky robocalls.

Step 1. When you fill out your voter registration form, don’t include your phone number! If you don’t want them to call you, stop yourself here and you won’t have to follow the remainder steps. This step is the most important!

Step 2. If you already have a number on your registration card, call your local County Board of Elections and ask to have your name removed.

Step 3. If you are too lazy to do that, sign up for the supposed registry. I am sure that “CEO” will help you to become the apathetic voter you aspired to be!

Step 4. When you have completed steps 2 and 3, please suspend the urge to call every robocall company on the web. Unless you feel like being a complete lunatic, be my guest. Don’t be surprised if the people you are talking to didn’t actually handle your calling campaign.

There are many companies operating out of many states and cities and counties. Heck some campaigns are running their own robocall setup and we never had anything to do with it. So don’t blame us. At Instant Call Blast, we review all the messages going out from our equipment. If we don’t like your message or it does not follow state and federal guidelines, we will deny your call blast.

Bottomline, don’t blame the robocall company for sending you the robocall. Blame yourself for giving out your phone number. Once you give an organization that information, they are free to distribute it any way they wish according to their guidelines. Since the dawn of telemarketing, that has always been the golden rule. Just use the same rules that govern your use of your Social Security Number and I don’t have to hear your complaints.

I mean who really has the time to call each and every company listed on the web? A person with too much time on their hands protesting the robocall when they should have gone out and voted! Statistically 1 of every 2 people of voting age doesn’t vote in this country. I am a firm believer that the robocall complainers are a large part of that other 50%.

Be Safe Kids and Don’t Do Drugs!

Brought to you by the Robocall Ad Council


Worst Provider Award Goes To…

June 17, 2008

The worst provider award goes to Nufone.Net for taking 3 weeks to get back to me (today) on a help desk ticket. I had my 800 number with that company since I started in this industry. Well not exactly, the company I was with previously was a Nufone number. All the same, I am not sure what the problem is these days with VOIP providers and resellers.

This guy, “Admin Jeremy” proceeds to tell me about how it was my fault his company was duplicating tones on my 800 number. He proceeds to tell me that I had to upgrade my software and a whole slew of things to make the problem go away. He went so far as to tell me that it was not possible for his company to be at fault…except the part where it took 3 weeks to answer my help desk ticket. Even then the guy never expressed any type of apology for his company’s behavior.

Apparently according to “Admin Jeremy” I had to be a post paid customer and not a prepaid customer in order to receive support. What this dufus doesn’t understand is that he never responded to the help desk ticket. So what difference does it make? There is no Customer Support or Help Desk phone number on their website and they sell phone numbers! Real shady!

Either way, Nufone.Net is the worst company and I don’t care that they don’t refund my money. I am tired of these VOIP Providers and their “company of one” mentality. It just goes to my theory that just because you have a background in IT, IS, Telecom, and a mixture of them all, you still have to be able to deal with your customers. Unfortunately you can’t learn customer service in school. You can’t learn this gaming 18 hours a day in a Warcraft expansion game. It involves you actually talking to people and dealing with their problems. You can’t just open up a company because you have the expertise in the industry. It takes many other factors that go into building a company. Most importantly, you need to be able to take care of your customer’s issues.

JP at Binfone.com has been my saviour. He took care of me when I ported my number from Nufone (which took a week to get ahold of…another reason I knew I was not at fault). I was up and running within 3 days, the minimum amount of time it takes to port a number. I hopefully have distanced myself from everyone that is incompetent and I can move ahead. Best part of all, I didn’t have to upgrade anything. That’s because there was nothing wrong with my setup because it was designed by CT Integration Systems with Rochester Institute of Technology telecom expertise.

Here is a link for another guy who thought Nufone went out of business:

http://lists.digium.com/pipermail/asterisk-biz/2004-November/001082.html

Another:

http://lairds.org/Kyler/stupidity/Jeremy_McNamara

http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t233111-p2-re-is-nufone-going-out-of-business.html

http://lists.digium.com/pipermail/asterisk-users/2004-May/039645.html

http://ircarchive.info/asterisk/2007/3/16/1.html

Wow! I didn’t know I could find all this on the first few pages just Googling “Nufone.” Maybe I should have done that before I dealt with them! Reading through most of the dialogue, Jeremy McNamara hasn’t learned his lesson about handling customers over the years. I feel sorry for people who can’t learn for their mistakes. It just shows that these types of people have no capacity to learn, but will probably own another company someday…

I will just name my award the Jeremy McNamara Award for Worst Provider. The saddest thing is that I have a whole list of names of people that could be named for this award. People just never learn anything about customer service. I have found that the largest concentration of customer service violators come from this industry. That is why I wished that the Federal Government licensed these people. That way it will weed out the incompetent people. Man this really burns me…

** As a disclaimer (for a certain someone), I am going through old emails and I don’t see your direct link except that I do know that you were an owner/representative of Plainvoip that has my money and I have no knowledge of any other owner. I think your type is dispicable and I will edit my blog for you, but please note that I don’t buy your “innocent” act when you left a message on my voice mail. Your old employer had quite a few things to say about your behavior at Molten, Inc. This is not a coincidence.

You might fill the Internet with your “I am a cool telecom guy, choose me as a resource.” However I am well aware of your history, whether or not you were directly involved with leadership of these companies, you represented them. To me and the legions of unhappy customers you left in the wake of at least two (that I know of) companies, there is no difference between ownership or representation. If you are truly innocent, then maybe your ability and judgment to work with legitimate businesses really sucks! At the very least, with your knowledge of the operations of many of these “scam” companies, you owe an apology to the screwed customers for knowingly allowing people you helped and doing nothing.

Your name actually causes many other people to NOT do business with that company. I wonder how you live with yourself and get up everyday. I seriously consider your ethical behavior and I hope that you personally don’t open a business in New York because you are a phone call away from the Consumer Protection Bureau. I have mentioned to several ranking politicians here about companies that “set up and fold” only to set up again without criminal charges. I hope to seriously cause some politicians to regulate the reseller industry. I will make it harder for people like you to continuously set up your companies and scamming others; giving companies like mine a bad name. Oh and the whole “I was just following orders” excuse won’t fly with a judge. Ask the guys at Nuremberg.**


Do You Know Your VOIP Provider?

June 11, 2008

One of the things that I had to deal with during my timultuous time of setting up Instant Call Blast and my previous company was the myriad of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) providers and resellers that have invaded the web. I dealt with at least 17 different companies to become vendors for my calls before I decided to see what it took to become one myself.

I pride myself on being completely honest. That is something that is a rare commodity in this industry. You want to know who I am? Google “Anthony Morelle.” Of course then you have to figure out if I am the DJ, the Penn State Quarterback, the City of Rochester City meter thief, or some newscaster. I am none of them, but I do hail from Rochester, NY. I do post on other blogs occasionally.

The point I am trying to make, and I cannot stress this enough, find out who you are dealing with. Political affiliations aside, the most important thing to figure out is “are they reputable?” I had a provider in my early days of going solo tell me that he was in business for over 12 years when a background check on his company only showed 2 years. Being in the VOIP Reselling business is quite a challenge. Being involved for over 10 years is unheard of. These companies go out of business faster than you can say “Voice Over Internet Protocol.”

There are other companies that I compete with on the Internet that are less than reputable. It’s important to understand who you are dealing with. I can’t stress that enough. You will see some shady things going on when the prices are real cheap. There is a reason for that folks! I am selling you a pretty reasonable product. If there is only one way to receive payment, then you might want to figure out why.

If a company is affiliated with another, larger VOIP vendor and the reseller tells you that the reason your calls stopped is because the larger company doesn’t like robocalls or voice broadcasts. That person is lying to you and I would highly recommend a refund. Most of the larger companies like Verizon, XO, Comcast, Level 3, Time Warner and many others thrive on these types of calls because they are still making money. One company I dealt with directly told me that they signed up 3 companies like mine last week. Prerecorded phone messages are the wave of the future when getting a message out compared to the cost of postage.

If your provider decides not to answer your help ticket, they joined this place:

http://www.myvoipprovider.com/VoIP_Provider_Graveyard/

The worst part about everything is that the government does nothing. Companies go under, take your money, and set up shop somewhere else under a new name. There was a guy I knew about that owned 3 different VOIP reselling companies in a few years and was still able to operate within the United States. That guy should be in a cell somewhere. Other providers have already been there. Find out who you are dealing with folks.

It doesn’t matter if they are selling you time for a penny a call or half a penny. You get what you paid for. You may be treated with no dignity, no respect, and have to deal with a person who may not even know the definition of “business ethics.” I am only telling you this because I feel you should know. As a former customer to at least 20 companies, I have the experience to know that you will be ripped off when you don’t do your homework.

Why trust me you ask? Well because I am trying to bring back business ethics and customer service to this industry. You aren’t just a bunch of walking dollar signs and I truly believe that I can be an example and a beacon for many of my customers who have been burned in the past by other companies. This technology is very useful with every day applications. You just have to find the right people to deal with.


A Few Things You Should Know About This Industry

June 11, 2008

Some Things You Need to Know About Robocalls, Voice Broadcasts, and Emergency Notification

Instant Call Blast understands that there are plenty of other companies out on the Internet that provide similar services to political campaigns. As we speak with potential clients, we have know that many people do not understand exactly what a “Robocall” or automated voice message is. Here is a list of things you should know when doing business with a company like Instant Call Blast!

What is a call blast?

A call blast is a voice broadcast, robocall, or recorded alert that has a message. Using it with a list of contacts, it blasts out that message to thousands of people at once. The message can be compressed into a .WAV file, an MPEG, other recording media, or simply a landline phone.

Do companies charge more for robocalls than others?

The price of a robocall can vary because there are many different reasons that go into the price of a phone call. A company that sells you calls for a penny, may be using phone technology that allows for the cost of the connection to be less than a penny. The provider isn’t telling you what is the quality of the call or whether they are reselling the call to you, degrading the quality.

The entire industry could sell their calls for a penny a call, but not all companies are going to give you the best quality. Price is the least determining factor when making a decision. Everyone price shops for the best product for the price. It is no less different with robocalls.

Is sound quality important for my call blast?

The VOIP industry uses a codec (G.729A and G.723.1) for VOIP that may be between 13 and 15 kilobytes per second for a prerecorded message. Is your message really worth poor sound quality? What does that say about the efforts of your call blast when someone gets a call from a call blaster, hears the message, and it is all garbled?

At Instant Call Blast, we employ the latest codecs that the VOIP industry has invented. It allows us to give our customers 64 KBPS. It will seem like the caller is sitting next to you, speaking face to face!

How many people will hear my message?

Each Call Blast is determined heavily on the list itself. Where did you get it? Is it reliable? Can you quantify the results before you actually blast out calls? These are the important questions you should be asking yourself.

Instant Call Blast has the latest in Answering Machine Detection (AMD) software which will play your message after your call goes to voice mail. Your connect rate will also determine how many “live” people listened to your message. That will determine your percentage. Using more than one call round targeted for different times will also increase the effectiveness by up to 15%! On average, Instant Call Blast has seen lists that were at most 80% effective. The results may vary largely on how relevant your list is and how up to date.

Most companies will only contact a number once before counting it as a call. You might as well hand your money over to the provider and let them keep the money upfront. You want the provider to attempt more than once? Well that is an extra fee.

At Instant Call Blast we attempt contact your list up to and including three times only paying for the additional rounds. We clean your list for free and we will only count the calls that were connected. That’s better than many other companies in the industry!

Will I get a report when the call blast is over?

Every customer will receive a report almost immediately after the call has been made. You will receive a short report with relative statistics as well as a comprehensive report outlining the activity on each call on the list in a spreadsheet format. The report will be emailed to your address on file. If you plan on using the call list again, you can see what information needs to be updated or removed so that you can have an even more effective call blast next time around!

Are there any fees when setting up a call blast?

You should not be charged for anything except the calls themselves. If you are being charged for anything else, you are probably getting ripped off! There should be no reason you are paying for list cleaning, list maintenance, reports, extra rounds. All that can be programmed with virtually no effort at all. If you are getting “pennied” to death by other providers, you might want to make a switch to Instant Call Blast!


Welcome To The New Instant Call Blast!

June 1, 2008

This blog is designed to give feedback, talk with other customers, talk about new products, and everything Instant Call Blast! We are not just a political voice broadcasting VOIP company anymore! With our products, you can do everything from getting members to your meetings, tell parents about sports game delays and rain-outs, contact patients, guests, and customers! You can even create a robocall for your religious gathering!

Instant Call Blast would really like to know what you are thinking. So we have decided to publish pages with certain topics that relate to any problems or questions that you may have regarding our services. We hope that you enjoy our voice messaging services as you use it to make money, keep people informed, Get Out the Vote (GOTV), and wake up from a good night’s sleep. If we can make our services better, we welcome those comments as well. We would also welcome constructive criticism, but please use discretion and keep in mind that any use of vulgar language will not be tolerated!

If you have any serious issues that are of a pressing matter, please contact Instant Call Blast at customersupport@instantcallblast.com. Enjoy our site and check back monthly for our newsletters. Join our email list and you will be up to date on all activity and specials.