Take the Anti-Robocall Pledge

I've decided that if I get a robocall from someone, they're not worthy of my vote.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor on

For those of you who thought we would no longer be plagued by constant robocalls, boy have we been proven wrong!

Last year, the FTC enacted a new robocall ban which blocked product sale-related robocalls. Unfortunately, the law left open a gaping loophole, which allowed political robocalls to continue unchecked.

It's almost impossible to tell just how many robocalls have gone out this election season, but judging just from my own personal experience, it's been an incredible number.

Over the past week, we've gotten about five robocalls a day, and there was a day last week (when I was writing on deadline, thank you very much!) when I think we got close to ten calls in one single day.

Again, speaking from my experience, alone, this is far more than we got during the 2008 presidential campaign, when we'd get one call every couple of days.

Now, I respect good marketing. Heck, without good marketing, I wouldn't be able to make my living, because ad sales are what, ultimately, pay writers. But this is reaching an untenable level and I honestly don't think it's helping the candidates.

There are a lot of great ways to get to know the local or statewide candidates, but getting an intrusive call in the middle of work, dinner, early in the morning, or late at night isn't the way to make the sale.

Unfortunately, there's not a lot we can do to make the calls stop. Sure, we could block any caller ID that registers as "Out of Area" or "Anonymous Caller". And sure, we could hit up our lawmakers to pass a law, but on this, they're not going to listen. You gotta know the reason those "public servants" left permission for political calls in the new 2009 robocall restriction is because they want to use them.

So I've decided on my own approach. Arlo Guthrie described it best. Hmmm, actually, I can't tell you what Arlo said, because if you go back and look at his lyrics for Alice's Restaurant, you'll find a very non-politically correct slur in there. Oops.

But the point is simple. If just I do it, then nothing really will change. But if we all adopt this simple strategy, then it can become a movement.

What's that strategy? It's simple really. Vote against anyone who robocalls you. That's it. I've decided that if I get a robocall from someone, they're not worthy of my vote.

Do you feel the same way? If so, take the Anti-Robocall Pledge. Stand up, raise your right hand, and repeat after me:

I (state your name) do hereby solemnly swear that I shall faithfully uphold the rights and responsibilities of an Anti-Robocall Pledger. I (state your name) swear that I shall vote against anyone who calls me using a robot dialer. I (state your name) also swear that I will send David home-baked cookies.

What, if you're in the swearing and promising mood, you don't think I should try to snooker cookies out of you? OK, fine. It never works anyway!

Oh, and yes, I did discover how to use polls here on ZDNet. Cool, huh? Here's a poll. Answer away.

[poll id="51"]

TalkBack below. What do you think of robocalls?

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