Posted May 24th, 2013, in: Evil Robots
The Evil Robots are Calling! A new form of spam.
Robots are scanning Craigslist for phone numbers and leaving voicemails that are based merely on the generic category of the craigslist ad. In this case, it’s the automotive sales section, although I’m not selling a car. But notice the voicemail is as if I am. No one read my ad. As with blog comment spam, if there’s n mention of anything specific to your actual ad, it’s probably a robot.
Here’s the message: voicemail.mp3
Actual Message Transcript:
Hi, My name is Michael and I work for Once Driven. The number here is (855) 844-2646. Uhh, we’ve got some clients who are shopping for vehicles, and I’m going through a list of vehicles like yours. I’d like to find out more about it and, um, tell you little bit more about what we can do to help you get it sold. Uh, there’s a small fee for the service. It’s well worth it. I’ll tell you about it when you call. We do guarantee the results. So give me a call before 5 today. Uh, the number is (855) 844-2646. Have a great day.
In my opinion, we should penalize companies for using this technique for marketing purposes for two reasons
1. It’s against the craigslist’s code of conduct
2. It’s simply annoying.
So to oncedriven.com, you guys suck for spamming me when you have nothing to offer me and my ad says it’s NOT OK to contact me with other services. I hope this post effects your SEO and public images in the way you have earned!
Google Voice’s Transcipt (for fun):
Hi, My name is Michael and I work for one street in the number here is (855) 844-2646 we’ve got some clients were shopping for a vehicles. And I’m going through a list of vehicles like yours. I’d like to find out more about it and tell you little bit more about what we can do to help you get it sold. There’s a small piece of the service It’s well worth it. I’ll tell you about it when you call and wedo guarantee the results. So give me a call before 5 today. The number is (855) 844-2646. Have a great day.
UPDATE: I wrote OnceDriven via their website to tell them that I was getting around 100 hits per day to this post (now it’s more like 200). This is what they wrote back, followed by my response.
On Jul 9, 2013, at 2:46 PM, Once Driven Management wrote:
Thank you for bringing your thread to our attention. If we may, we’d like to take this opportunity to clarify several of the concerns raised in your thread.
With respect to the calls themselves, OnceDriven receives hundreds of requests from buyers every week. Our representatives attempt to locate vehicles similar to those buyers ask us to find. We were concerned that some people saw this as a form of harassment. As opposed to random marketers trolling online classifieds, we zero in on a unique opportunity to bring buyers and sellers together. While there is some margin for human error, it was disconcerting to see that some people were contacted who were not actually in the vehicle selling market – these must have been administrative errors and we are working diligently with our representatives to bring that number down to zero.
We want to point out that OnceDriven accepts consumers’ requests not to be contacted again. As some of the people in your thread expressed difficulty in contacting us, we’d like to clarify the process. Contrary to one poster’s comments, you do not need a representative’s extension. While you can always contact our toll free number, we have decided to take this one step further as some people have experienced delays being placed on hold. We’re providing a link at the end of this response for people who do not wish to be contacted to enter their number and/or email and notify us of any concerns they may have. If you would be so kind as to bring this to people’s attention by placing it prominently on your thread, we would be very grateful.
Here is the link:
We noticed some comments from people regarding the excessive volume of calls. We are aware of numerous legitimate and illegitimate third parties reaching out to online posters as they contact our very own customers. It is likely some of those calls are being mistakenly attributed to us.
Thank you for giving us an opportunity to respond to your thread.
So this is what I wrote back:
Why would your company have contacted me about my “vehicle” when I wasn’t selling one? I was selling a pair of motorcycle saddlebags. And every time I reposted the ad, I would receive at least one call from OnceDriven. It always referred to my “vehicle.”
Shouldn’t it be pretty clear to me that you guys are merely indiscriminately screen-scraping phone numbers from the auto sales part of craigslist and robo-dialing them?
Is that NOT what you’re doing?
I’ll update this post if they respond to my questions.