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Call It an Early Birthday Present

Today the Supreme Court declined to rule that the National Do Not Call Registry violates telemarketers’ rights to commercial free speech. For the consumers who submitted more than 60 million home and cell phone numbers to the list, the move should kick off the celebration this month of the one-year anniversary of the FCC and FTC’s pride and joy. By most accounts, the registry has worked surprisingly well. According to the Direct Marketing Association, the number of households nationwide on telemarketing lists has dropped by as much as 50 percent.

I know what it’s like to remain on those lists. When my wife and I moved to Chicago a few months ago, we forgot to add our new number to the do-not-call ranks. Big mistake. We were fielding more than a dozen solicitations a day. Even after we registered, the calls continued for weeks. But they weren’t hard to cut short: all it took were the words, “I signed up for the do-not-call reg” and telemarketers were hanging up on me. It was like divulging an infectious disease on a blind date. Instant rejection.

When the registry debuted last October, Fast Company wondered if marketers would learn from the enormous public reaction to the do-not-call program. What do you think? Have companies become more savvy, respectful or creative in how they pitch their products to you?

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