Are you constantly being harassed by unwanted spam phone calls? You may want to see what the folks at the California based telephone company, Jolly Roger, can do to help you out.

At least twice a day I get spam phone calls in regards to a car I don’t have, to a survey I didn’t take, or to a credit card I don’t have. Let’s not forget all the calls about home security and lawsuits from the IRS. And maybe the most annoying of all are the calls from real life people that won’t take no for an answer. You tell them no and they just won’t stop trying to sell you their amazing product you can’t live without. Jolly Roger’s promise is “Our robots talk to telemarketers so that humans don’t have to!”

“the most annoying of all are the calls from real life people that won’t take no for an answer”

Someone that you don’t want to talk to calls your phone and their robot will keep talking to them keeping them on the line, talking in circles until the telemarketer has their fill and hangs up. Here is the background story as found on from Roger himself.

jolly roger historical photo goodkinThe Origin Story

“I have had the same two landlines for about 15 years and I used to get a lot of telemarketer calls. When my son was old enough to answer the phone, he got a call from a very aggressive telemarketer who said “some bad words” so I had enough. I work on telephone systems for a living and I said ‘Hey, I’m a phone guy, I should be able to do something about this!’ so I did.”

“I basically set up an ‘opt-in’ whitelist of caller-ids. If you call my house, you get a message that says ‘hey, if you are a real person press any button and you’ll ring through to my house. If not, I’ll send you to voicemail and you can leave a message.’ If you press a button, you ring my house, your caller-id is white-listed, and you’ll ring though next time you call.”

jolly roger logo goodkin
“I created a fairly sophisticated algorithm that performs a handshake (hello? hello?), then engaged (yes, uh huh, right). Then when it thinks the caller is suspicious, it says something completely inane. If the caller stops talking and there’s a long silence, it goes back to handshake. There’s a bit more to it, but that’s pretty much the general idea. As you’ll hear from the calls on this blog, it has been working like a champ!”

“Telemarketers have machines that dial thousands of numbers and when the machine thinks a human has answered, it cuts through to an agent as quickly as it can.”

“So I modified the emails to include a link to send calls to this robot. And to prevent telemarketers from getting suspicious and hitting the robot again if they called back, I added a 1 hour delay before it would answer again. If they call back within an hour, they get a disconnect message.”

“I wrapped it all up in a ‘pirate’ theme around a Jolly Roger pirate flag. I’ve been intercepting telemarketers for over a year. I have blocked thousands of calls to my house. The telemarketer calls have been entertaining and I really should update the robot to include more entertaining chatter. But it has served me well and there are only a few callers who figure out it’s a robot.”

[via jolly roger]



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