Connect with us

Opinion Editorials

FCC fails to protect consumers, sides with slimy telemarketers

(EDITORIAL) The FCC’s stance on telemarketing is wishy-washy at best as they crack down on robocalls but allow for robo-voicemails.

Published

on

video smart telemarketing mailcell fingerprint location facetagram

FCC for you and against you

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been cracking down on the robocalls that have cost companies million in scams.

bar
But soon, the same Commission may allow robocallers to send telemarketing messages directly to your voicemail.

Newest scandal

The controversy regards so-called “ringless” telemarketers that send messages straight to your voicemail box without your phone ever ringing. These telemarketers argue that because the phone never rings, and thus doesn’t interrupt the recipient of the call, these calls should not be subject to rules under the 1991 Telephone Consumers Protection Act.

One such company, called All About The Message, is already sending straight-to-voicemail messages despites the legal ambiguity of the practice.

They wrote in a comment to the FCC that a direct-to-voicemail call “does not result in… disruptions to a consumer’s life,” and therefore, should be allowed.

Consumer advocates disagree

They argue that, although ringless calls don’t disrupt the recipient’s dinner, direct-to-voicemail calls also eliminate the opportunity for the recipient to ask to be removed from the call list. Consumers have no way to screen such calls, and they can’t be prevented with call blocking apps.

Several state attorneys general also want the FCC to prohibit direct-to-voicemail calls.

In a letter also signed by the attorneys general of Massachusetts and Kentucky, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman urged the FCC to “protect American consumers,” and discouraged them from “making it even easier for companies to spam them with costly, unsolicited, ringless robocalls.”

First amendment card

Republicans, on the other hand, argue that direct-to-voicemail calls should be protected as a form of free speech. The Republican National Convention uses straight-to-voicemail messages in their campaigning, and wrote a letter to the FCC asking them to “tread carefully so as not to burden constitutionally protected political speech.”

If you have a strong opinion about this issue, today is the last day that FCC is receiving public comments before making their decision.

To comment, go to the FCC website then search for 02-278 under “Proceeding(s).”

Robocall perils

Personally, I don’t think that the Founding Fathers meant to cover robocalls when they made sure citizens had the right to free speech. When I go out in public, I expect to be advertised to, but I don’t want the privacy of my phone invaded.

My voicemail is for my own business and personal calls – telemarketers, keep away.

While it may seem like telemarketers are trying to be more respectful with ringless calls, it also seems like a sneaky away to avoid being told directly that their call is unwanted.

Telemarketers are so classically annoying as to be the butt of countless jokes and the cause of many exasperated groans. When will they learn that we simply don’t want to be bothered – whether the phone rings or doesn’t?

#Ringless

Ellen Vessels, Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for her wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when she’s not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

Opinion Editorials

If Reddit goes IPO, will it have to shed its soul?

(EDITORIAL) Reddit is known as a firebrand, a bastion of free speech, but if they go public, will they be able to remain as they are now?

Published

on

reddit

Reddit, the eighth-most popular website on the Internet, is reportedly considering an IPO. As a site valued at over 1.8 billion dollars, this is great news for the company itself – but how much of Reddit will remain if the IPO goes through?

Reddit’s history is steeped in controversy, from minor incidents such as invasion of privacy and a few creepily quirky community members to allegations of child pornography and egregious hate speech. While Reddit’s policy has allowed it to tighten posting restrictions regarding the latter two, the fact remains that Reddit – for all its usefulness – is viewed by many as a ticking time bomb.

An IPO would certainly lend back to Reddit a degree of credibility not seen since its inception, but the problem is that Reddit itself (the haven of free speech and original content that made it so popular in the first place) might not survive the offering. Given the platform’s controversial past, many believe it likely that stakeholders would move to tighten further the restrictions on the platform, ultimately ending a significant era in Reddit’s history.

Admittedly, Reddit has come a long way since its early days of supporting user-created content regardless of persuasion: this past year saw entire subreddits shut down for violating the terms of use regarding hate speech, and the platform certainly has cracked down on illegal and abusive content. Unfortunately, the history might be too much to shake off going forward, which is why we think that Reddit’s branding won’t be a part of the final IPO.

The platform’s developers’ dedication to free speech and truth-seeking is what makes Reddit so fantastic, and that’s not liable to change – it’s the most marketable aspect of the site, after all – but perhaps the rationale behind going public lies in a sense of duty rather than routine. 2017 has seen some of the most reprehensible instances of false reporting and deliberate misguidance in recent history; maybe Reddit’s team feels that they can provide a stable news platform at the cost of some personality.

At any rate, the IPO itself isn’t set in stone, and is unlikely to take place for quite some time. As the situation develops, it will be interesting to see if Reddit embraces its past, or sheds it altogether.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

‘Follow your passion and the money will follow’ is bulls**t advice

(EDITORIAL) Following your passion can create success, though it may not be financial. So should you really just “do what you love” and hope for the best?

Published

on

follow your passion

If you asked anyone who knows me, they would tell you that I’m a strong advocate for people following their passion. However, when I encourage people to pursue their dreams, this comes with a big asterisk.

I recently heard someone use a phrase along the lines of, “if you do what you love, the money will follow.” Um… no.

While it’s great that you’ve found something you’re passionate about, that’s only a trillionth of the battle. You need to be willing to work your ass off and be willing to sacrifice everything in order to make that enthusiasm into a success.

Most people that have started their own business will tell you that it took a while into the process to begin paying themselves. Again, if it truly is your passion, this is all worth it in the end. But if you like food and shelter, it might not be.

Say, for example, your passion is acting and your goal in life is to become a famous movie star. Now, you can’t pull a Tobias Funke and simply say, “I’m an actor” and then expect everything to miraculously fall into place.

Like any other passion, you need to invest in yourself. You’ll need to get headshots, take acting classes, and find a flexible day job that allows you to go on auditions. Cutting corners on any of this in order to expedite the process or save a few bucks will end up hurting you in the long run.

For the sake of this article, let’s define “passion” as loving something so much you couldn’t imagine doing anything else… you would even do it for free. And, as there is no correlation between having passion for something and money, you just might.

While doing what you love is admirable, be aware that it may take an incredibly long time to see results in the form of numbers. Because of this, it’s wise to always have a back up plan to support yourself financially and pursue passion with a strong business plan in tact.

It is never wrong to want to follow your passion. I personally think that everyone should give it at least something of a shot during the course of their career so that you never ask “what if?” But following passion because you read a cliche statement can lead to major financial and emotional losses, so put on your business hat before blindly chasing dreams.

Continue Reading

Opinion Editorials

Tech CEO tweet ruins years of a young designer’s hard work

(EDITORIAL) With a tweet here and there, thoughtless questions have potentially bullied a young Asian woman in tech out of her career.

Published

on

naomi wu tweet

It’s hard enough for women, particularly women of color, to make it in the world of tech, without rude jerks questioning if you literally exist.

Sadly, that’s what happened to Naomi Wu, also known as “SexyCyborg,” a 23-year old cyberpunk superstar from Shenzhen, China who has amassed a huge following for her 3D printing experiments and other techie pursuits. Wu has 140,000 followers and millions of views for her YouTube channel, where she shows off her experiments and provides educational tutorials.

Unfortunately, some rude dudes from America can’t seem to imagine that a young Asian woman is capable of the feats that Wu has accomplished.

Dale Dougherty, CEO of the DIY magazine Maker (and an official schmuck), has cyberbullied Wu so badly that it is said to have damaged her career. He tweeted, “I am questioning who she really is. Naomi is a persona, not a real person. She is several or many people.”

This despite the fact that Wu says that she has actually spoken to Dougherty, and that he knows she is real. “For Westerners who don’t understand the important of reputation in China it seems like a very minor thing,” says Wu, “it is everything here and there’s no repairing this.”

Wu has even lost a sponsorship deal from a 3D printer company over the accusations that she isn’t who she says she is.

Dougherty eventually apologized, but Wu says that “the damage had been done” at that point, and that Dougherty knew the accusations would be “devastating” to her “reputation and professional prospects.”

Wu says that the attack is motivated by white male entitlement to tech spaces.

She says that she can’t imagine Dougherty attacking “a white lady from San Francisco.” Wu has been an advocate for diversity in tech and maker spaces. “I kept pushing for more inclusion – not just me, other underrepresented people,” she says. “They didn’t like being pushed. This is payback.”

We stand behind Wu as she continues to push the edge in tech spaces, and say shame on you to bullies who won’t make space for women and racial minorities. Sorry you’re not as cool as SexyCyborg, but that’s on you and you need to get over it.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

The
American Genius
News neatly in your inbox

Join thousands of AG fans and SUBSCRIBE to get business and tech news updates, breaking stories, and MORE!

Emerging Stories