Invention #1: the pay-me-to-talk-to-me phone

Abstract: if somebody calls me, they get a warning there is an extra charge of 1 euro per minute that I will switch off during the conversation, except under special circumstances. This should solve the problem of people trying to sell me something over the phone.

Early this morning somebody called me on my landline. I did not answer, because it is usually some rude salesman from Asia who forgets to check the time in Europe. As it turned out (after checking my answering service) it was my roommate.

Lately, uses of my landline have been limited to a few: it enables my ADSL, it is a back-up for if ADSL fails, and it is a cheap method for outbound calls. And it lets vermin salesdroids call me. I would, as many people I know have done before me, cancel it completely, but somehow that seems a great waste of resources. And really, I would be happy with the few uses I get out of it, if the phone weren’t at the same time a source of problems to me. I really hate talking to insurance-selling scum. I don’t mind people trying to sell me something; I mind the way they approach me as if they aren’t.

Now the phone system has got a feature that e-mail doesn’t; it can relay charges. So my idea is this: let my phone company implement a service where if people call me, they get a message that says this call will be 1 euro per minute on top of the regular charge. Except, that I can cancel that extra charge during the call, and probably will. I on the other hand get a message telling me which button to press to cancel the extra charge.

OK, come to think of it; this is a bad idea. Because if it is going to be successful, only legitimate callers will be hurt in the end. And if it is not going to be successful, there is no point in having this service.

Any ideas on how to extend this so that only bad-faith callers will be hurt from the beginning?

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