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Take Back the Beep

I've long wondered about those 15-second instructional messages you get every time you try and leave a cellphone user a message. I know I need to wait for a beep. I also know I should unwrap food from its packaging before eating it and that the magic box in my living room doesn't imprison very tiny people for my viewing enjoyment. So what's with the monotone lady telling me how to use voice mail? As with so many other things, this appears to be a very clever way for corporations to add a couple more dollars to their bottom line. David Pogue explains:

Over the past week, in The New York Times and on my blog, I’ve been ranting about one particularly blatant money-grab by American cellphone carriers: the mandatory 15-second voicemail instructions.

Suppose you call my cell to leave me a message. First you hear my own voice: “Hi, it’s David Pogue. Leave a message, and I’ll get back to you” — and THEN you hear a 15-second canned carrier message.

....In 2007, I spoke at an international cellular conference in Italy. The big buzzword was ARPU — Average Revenue Per User. The seminars all had titles like, “Maximizing ARPU In a Digital Age.” And yes, several attendees (cell executives) admitted to me, point-blank, that the voicemail instructions exist primarily to make you use up airtime, thereby maximizing ARPU.

Sheesh. I'd prefer they jacked my rates up by a dollar and stopped wasting my time. David Pogue, however, is actually doing something about it. Enter his campaign to Take Back the Beep. Join him.

(Via Kevin Drum.)

By Ezra Klein  |  July 31, 2009; 2:39 PM ET
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thanks for posting this.

Posted by: jkaren | July 31, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Use e-mail.

Posted by: bluegrass1 | July 31, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

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