Friday, August 14, 2009

Take Back the Beep Campaign...

Two weeks ago, David Pogue of the New York Times launched the "Take Back the Beep" campaign. It is an effort to flood the four big wireless companies with complaints. "I want them to eliminate (or make optional) those time-wasting, redundant, airtime-eating, 15-second recorded instructions that you hear every time you leave a message for someone (or call to retrieve your own)."

Since then, he claims that over 28,000 blogs have written about the campaign, and that "thousands and thousands" of complaints have poured in.

Will this ultimately be a success? AT&T has apparently already capitulated, and T-Mobile is reportedly on the brink. Meanwhile, Sprint highlighted the fact that they already let users eliminate those instructions, even though it's not well-publicized.

But perhaps the best exchange comes from Pogue's dealings with Verizon...

Verizon's PR contact hasn't responded to my request for a progress report.

He's probably still irritated at me. When ABC News interviewed him about this campaign, he told them that customers can already turn off the instructions. Which isn't true. So that night on Twitter, I said that he was lying.

He called me to let me know that he wasn't lying--he was misquoted. What he said was that you can turn off *voicemail altogether* if you don't like the 15-second instructions.

Well, O.K., but... huh?

Isn't that like saying, "My son bites his nails, so let's chop off his hands"?

My money is definitely on Pogue affecting some change here. If only he, and others with similar editorial powers, would use their influence to bring about change that was slightly more meaningful.

Net Neutrality, anyone?

*** Here are the links for sending in your complaints:

*** Verizon -
*** AT&T -
*** T-Mobile -


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