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Meet My Spam Honeypot for Telemarketers (Otherwise Known As My Desk Phone)


The phone on my desk rang a second time today. I glanced at the console, didn't recognize the Caller ID and simply ignored the call. A minute or two later a text message buzzed on my iPhone with a transcription of the voicemail left by the caller. I took one look and knew right away:

Yep, another telemarketer!

Just like another call earlier today. As I did my little glance-ignore-wait-for-text-message routine I realized yet again how my communications channels have changed over the years. Here is the reality:

I pretty much NEVER answer my desk phone.

Why not? Pretty simple, really:

The people who I want to speak with already know how to get in touch with me!

And the "how" comes down to: unified communications and mobile.

Unified Communications

For instance, we're huge users of Skype internally at Voxeo. I have everyone in the company as a contact, and am in a zillion various group chats with internal employees. If someone within the company wants to reach me, they will:

  • Check my presence on Skype. Am I online? If so, am I "away"? or "busy/Do Not Disturb"?

  • Send me an IM - asking if they can call me if it's urgent.

Note that second bullet... internal communication starts in IM and then migrates to voice and possibly video if our conversation needs to be "higher bandwidth" than typing.

I can't honestly remember the last time someone internally actually rang my desk phone, because, if I'm not online, there's also...


If I'm not online, or if it's urgent, people know to call me on my mobile phone. I carry it basically everywhere. And whether they dial that direct number or they call my Google Voice number that rings that phone... either way they reach me on my mobile.

It's Not Just Internal

Most of the people who I regularly want to talk to outside my company are also linked to me via Skype or one of the other IM networks (and mostly via Skype) or social networks. Or they have my mobile number. Possibly we've connected via some other way... email... Twitter... Facebook... and if we need to go to voice, we've exchanged mobile phone numbers... or we'll use an app in one of the social services (like Facebook Telephone or Twelephone) that connects us via voice through that service. They don't call my desk phone.

Which Leaves the Desk Phone For What?

Spam! Er... "telemarketing calls". Usually from someone trying to sell me some service that will magically generate millions of leads... or giving me a "personal invitation" to some event. Randomly there might be someone out there who I actually want to speak with - my deskphone number is on my business card, after all - and if so I will definitely return the call after I see the voicemail transcription.

Otherwise... it just sits there as a number out there to attract telemarketers...

How about you? Do you answer your desk phone much any more? Do people actually call you on it?

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