2008-03-20

Do Not Call Register

I loathe the practice of cold call telemarketing. The Australian Do-Not-Call Register is absolutely awesome. Unfortunately the government lets charities through, which I handle by politely stating that I have a personal policy to never respond to this method of marketing, and hang up. I donate to World Wide Fund for Nature, Green Peace and the Salvation Army off my own bat, I don't need any help thanks.

I used to get two or more telemarketing calls a week, one time I had three in a night, but in the many months since registering my number at do-not-call, I have only received one telemarketing call which was a sleazy southern Asian guy who was pretending to have dialed the wrong number and wanted to know if he could talk with me anyway. I had a bit more to say to that guy than my usual polite spiel.

The do-not-call register is a major success.

I am not opposed to filling out surveys. When not in a rush at the shops, I will happily sit down and be interviewed or answer questionnaires. I seem to be targeted for this, which I believe may expose a bias in that method of research - asking people less likely to cause you problems.

I loathe spam junk email, but I subscribed to SMSpup which spam you with semi useful stuff from categories of companies that you can pick and in return will allow you to send free SMS messages from their web site. Not too bad. One of the SMSpup adverts was for OpinionWorld who have competition prizes for answering surveys. I almost passed this up but must have been particularly bored that evening. So every now and again I get an email from OpinionWorld about a survey they'd like me to fill in. They are easy enough to fill in when I am calming down from a heavy day at work. Occasionally you get tossed a gem survey like the one that sent me lollies, surveyed me about what I thought ... and paid me money to do it. Paid to eat lollies! That's special! I used the lolly money to buy the first two seasons of "The Shield" from DVDOrchard. Woohoo!

The ORU
SMSPup just sent me an ad asking me to join another survey company called "ORU" (Online Research Unit). I thought "Why not? I can has more lollies?" but I read the terms and conditions. Check out the section titled "The National Do Not call Registry" at the bottom of their old terms and conditions. Basically you gave them and any company who joins them, the right to bypass the do-not-call registry.

So I wrote an email complaining about this to the organisations that ORU touts as to their legitimacy. The Association of Market & Social Research Organisations (AMSRO), European Association of Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR) and the Australian Market and Social Research Society (AMSRS) talked it though with "The ORU" and they have removed the clause from their terms and conditions. Hurrah for the power of the cranky user! And to the willingness of The ORU to change.

I still think that the "Do Not Call Register Act 2006" needs to be tightened up so that registrants can indicate that they want to never authorise calls under any circumstances.

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