I’m SO EXCITED to announce a new service from Jolly Roger Telephone that will AUTOMATICALLY protect your mobile phones! I’m calling it Pirate Voicemail for now.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Do I have to mention that messaging and voice rates may apply? Your mobile carrier will probably charge you for the call to 206-259-4950. If you do not have a plan with unlimited minutes, then do not use this service! Also, Pirate Voicemail will send you a text when it gets a real person, so don’t use it if you have to pay for messages!

The instructions below will tell you how to use this service. This is brand new and probably for the hard-core shakedown crew only. If you want to be on my shake-down crew, I’d love some help testing this. But please read all of this, especially the disclaimer at the bottom!

This is how it works:

Pirate Voicemail REPLACES your current mobile phone’s voicemail. So this gets tricky and it’s important you understand how it works. To activate it, you type in a code in your phone (I can support AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile and all MVNOs using those services. Is there anyone else?) The code will set your phone to forward to 206-259-4950 if you don’t answer or if you reject a caller. So when you don’t answer your phone or don’t recognize the caller, the call will come to me. This is where Jolly Roger Telephone takes over. This is how I will handle the call:

  1. If it’s a telemarketer (according to my lookup with trueCNAM), I will answer with a bot (and send you the recording of course)
  2. If I don’t know if it’s a telemarketer, I will answer with a pleasant greeting asking the caller to prove they are human by pressing 1. If they don’t press 1, they are encouraged to leave a message.
  3. If they do press 1, then I will text you to let you know that caller was human. At the same time, I’ll tell that person I texted you, and ask them to call back, and you might answer the second time. They can leave a message here too. Once a caller proves they are human, I never challenge them again – future calls are simply sent to a voicemail greeting.
  4. Each caller will be challenged THREE TIMES (and warned). After three unresponsive calls, I will answer with a robot from then on.
  5. Note: Anonymous callers will always be challenged. When they press 1, you’ll get a text so you’ll know to answer when they call right back.

Please note that all telemarketers use predictive dialers (these are the machines that try to detect if you are a human). All predictive dialers will stop at step 2 because they think they have reached an answering machine. Almost all predictive dialers will throw your number back into the queue and will eventually call you back. They cannot help it, and they cannot ever stop. So eventually they will trigger step 4 and will get a Jolly Roger Bot, which will then engage the telemarketer and it will be extremely entertaining for you.

After EVERY call, you’ll get an email to tell you what the caller did or didn’t do. More importantly, there will be links so you can tell me what to do the next time that caller calls.

So next time you get a call from an unrecognized number, you can ignore/reject it and Jolly Roger will *professionally* handle your legitimate callers, or *unprofessionally* handle your telemarketers. It should work well for you small-business owners who get tons of calls on your mobile phones.


Disclaimers, etc.

This is new. Naturally, I try to write bug-free code. I’m pretty confident that I will not deliver your voicemail to the wrong place. I’ve handled over 400,000 calls so far and never mis-delivered a recording. And I’m pretty confident that I won’t answer with a bot when it’s not appropriate. My vendor, trueCNAM is really good about being cautious about their scores. But there may be various problems with the emails. You would be surprised how complicated this got. There are 25 possible “states” for the caller and I had to craft an email for each one. My servers could crash. Godaddy might flag me as a spammer. My telephone carrier may think I’m a text spammer and block my texts. The texting thing could get really expensive. Hopefully your $6/year will cover it.

No more “visual voicemail” from your carrier. I just email the recordings of your voicemail. Maybe someone wants to help me with a smartphone app that will provide a visual voicemail interface. Or perhaps someone can turn me on to a voicemail transcription service? Cheap.

Your voicemails will be emailed to you un-encrypted over the internet. If you get confidential or urgent messages, then please do not use this yet. If you listen to the voicemail greeting, you’ll hear me tell the caller that I’m just going to deliver via email. Maybe this isn’t a big deal. There are TONS of voicemail systems that do the same thing and none of those make it obvious.

This service is perfect for the young kids or elderly who don’t really use voicemail. If you are the parent of tweens or the children of the elderly, then you can get these emails sent to you. My kids have never bothered to record a voicemail greeting, so this is perfect for them. And the elderly get tons of medicare scammers calling, so you’ll hear these scammers speaking with bots that they think are your parents.

Potential Enhancements

I’m working on a way to provide a VCARD (emailed and texted) so you can accept a pre-built contact for known humans. Some of you will probably want to record your own voicemail greeting too. But there are several recordings to deal with so that will get complicated too. Bulk whitelisting is another. And after a while you’ll probably want to see your whitelist and blacklist so I need a way to provide that too. Once we all use this for a while, we’ll come up with our own wish list. Please send that to me.

This service is available to ALL active Jolly Roger subscribers – Deep Six, Cannon Shot, and Summon a Pirate. I hope that it will replace Summon a Pirate and I’ll convert everyone over to Deep Six. This is probably NOT for the Google Voice users out there. I’m pretty happy with my existing Google Voice product.

If you are a subscriber of Jolly Roger Telephone, you should be able to use this. If you have any problems, please email me at support@jollyrogertelephone.com. That will generate a ticket so I won’t forget to handle it. If you don’t like it, feel free to tell me why. I can probably fix it, but there are limits to the integration with mobile phones.

Ready to try it?

Here are the codes to activate/deactivate the Pirate Voicemail on your mobile phone:

  • If you have AT&T, TMobile, or use an MVNO of these, dial **004*12062594950# to enable it. Dial ##004# to cancel it and go back to your regular voicemail.
  • If you have Verizon or an MVNO of Verizon, dial *712062594950 to enable it. Dial *73 to cancel it and go back to your regular voicemail.
  • If you have Sprint or an MVNO of Sprint, dial *282062594950 to enable it. Dial *38 to cancel it and go back to your regular voicemail.
  • If you have Cricket, I think you dial *742062594950 to enable it. Dial *740 to cancel it and go back to your regular voicemail. Maybe a Cricket user can verify this for me?

Immediately after enabling it, please call your mobile from a different phone and let the call last at least 6 seconds. When the call is over, you should get an email from me describing what I saw. If you do NOT get the email, then cancel this service and contact me at support@jollyrogertelephone.com to let me know that it failed.

Thank you everyone! This is my biggest announcement yet!