BT - the British telecoms group that dominates fixed line telephony - have announced a new privacy service - which, as well as selling a caller identity service, encourages people to sign up for the Telephone Preference Service (TPS)- which prevents telemarketers from calling you.
Some have commented on the irony of this coming from a company that benefits from the UK call centre industry, and others have suggested its a cynical way of gaining a competitive advantage - BT will still be able to call its customers as it has a relationship with them, whilst rivals will not.
The most depressing response has come from - yes, you guessed it - the marketing industry. The pages of Precision Marketing are full of whining Telemarketers protesting that BT is wrong to tell people they have a choice over whether they get annoying intrusive phone calls.
We applaud BT and encourage people to sign up for the TPS - as we mentioned a while ago the numbers using this service are growing rapidly. Press reports put the current numbers at 8.6 million - up from around 2 million in 2002 - with 20k a day signing up.
If marketers measured the negative effect of their actions - unwanted phone calls, junk mail, pop ups you can't close and really annoying ads - then maybe there would be less consumer antagonism towards marketing and advertising. Its time for a new approach!