Nobody Signs Up For Telemarketers' Please-Do-Call List

Fake News written by James Baughn on Wednesday, January 8, 2003

from the offers-you-can-refuse dept.

In an embarassing blow to the telemarketing and teleannoying industries, a trade group announced today that not one person has registered for its "please-do-call" opt-in list.

"We figured that hordes of people would want to receive fabulous offers on credit cards and incredible deals on carpet-cleaning services," explained Anne Oying, chairwoman of the National Association Of Bottom Feeding Marketers. "But that hasn't happened."

The failure of the program isn't from a lack of trying. Last month the NABFM placed thousands of unsolicited telemarketing calls to people across the country asking if they would like to be placed on the please-do-call list at no charge, enabling them to receive "exclusive bargain offers on everything from laundry detergent to sex-change operations."

"Too many people think that telemarketers are heartless vultures engaged in a conspiracy to call unsuspecting victims at the worst possible time, such as dinner," Ms. Oying said. "That's a lie. We're human too, we have families, we have bills to pay, we have feelings. Every time I get a death threat, that really hurts."

Similar efforts by junk mailers and spammers to create opt-in lists have been more successful, but not much. The Society of Law-abiding International Marketing Experts (SLIME), a trade association of junk mailers, recently conducted a study that showed 99% of the people who signed up for the group's "please-inundate-me-with-paper" list had fireplaces or wood-burning stoves in their homes which were fueled with the junk mail.

"Almost everybody who signed up for our 'Special VIP Platinum Loyal Customer Mail Offers' program burned the junk mail they received to save on energy costs. This is a form of stealing!" fumed Kahn R. Teest, vice president of SLIME. "Don't they realize that it costs us money to send out 'special invitations' and 'you might already be a winner!' mailings?"

Likewise, attempts by the Nigeria-based "South African Shady Financial Investments Association" to compile an opt-in list of email addresses has been less than stellar. At first, the association was ecstatic when it seemed that nearly 100,000 people had signed up to receive "exciting business proposals" from Nigeria. However, closer inspection revealed that virtually all of the email addresses were owned by spammers and telemarketers from across the world, which were added to the list by pranksters, disgruntled 419 scam victims, and various anti-spam crusaders.

The Vice Secretariat Minister of SASFIA said in an email, "I AM MOST TROUBLED BY THIS DEVELOPMENT,we only want to form business partnerships with Americans so we can share in wealth that would otherwise be squandered. We will not tolerate this fraud." The email was signed, "Eng.Kumalo Diliza B.Eng.{SAU} M.Eng,MNIM,PHD." A postscript said, "If you would like to participate in deal involving US$14.4 million of overinvoiced money that must be exported from Nigeria right away, please send fax to 0031-641 075 328."

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