Call for a price

The Do Not Call register is up and (sort of) running. You can now go here to register your phone numbers so that marketers won’t call them (well, ones in Australia anyway). This is clearly a good thing relative to the status quo but it would be remiss of me not to point out that it likely goes too far. Marketers value calling you and so would be willing to pay for that access. For this reason Ian Ayres and Barry Nalebuff have suggested that it would be better if households could set their price. Rather than block all calls, a marketer calling would have to pay for that access. They could pay a fee for the call itself and then a per minute charge. Consumers who really never wanted calls could set the fee at infinity or change it depending on time of day. This type of thing might actually help the marketers because it could sort out receivers that were more receptive. (Anderson and de Palma prove all this formally).

2 thoughts on “Call for a price”

  1. The DNC Act allows people on the register to ‘consent’ to the making of any call (see s11(2)(a)), so if you wanted to, you could publish your willingness to receive calls from anyone who agrees to pay for the privilege of calling you. The legislation also provides for you to nominate someone else to do the consenting on your behalf (s11(2)(b) cf s39), so there seems to be scope for someone to negotiate all this on a commercial basis. The crucial first step is to get yourself on the register.


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