Stephen Berskson and Roger Anderson's Jolly Roger Telephone Company is a hysterical solution to annoying telemarketers. Anderson is a telephony engineer and consultant who decided to fight back against unscrupulous and annoying telemarketers by hitting them where it hurts: in the wallet. The fact that the solution is entertaining is a bonus. Barely a day goes by when you hear about some telephone scam, Jolly Roger turns the tables on the crooks too.
The solution is robots. When you subscribe to the service ($12 a year), you set up a list of allowed numbers and select your robots – there's even a Santa Claus bot. Once you're set up, non registered callers go to Jolly Roger. That's where the fun starts. When a caller gets connected, the bots recognize breaks in the telemarketer's voice patterns and responds with a series of “uhms,” and non sequitur comments. The bots also ask the caller to repeat themselves frequently. You can even record the calls. The results are pretty funny, you can hear some of the calls on the Jolly Roger Youtube Channel.
I have no idea what this company's sales are, but they get a lot of media buzz because they're fun and NOBODY likes telemarketers. Anderson figures by wasting telemarketers time, he's harming the companies (or crooks), it's a way to “fight back.”They probably want a Shark's help to get more exposure and subscribers. Will a Shark want to partner with Jolly Roger?
My Take on Jolly Roger
I used to be a telemarketer. I worked for Bell Atlantic (now Verizon) selling Centrex based phone services to businesses. We worked during the day and actually had a good product for a lot of businesses. I'm sure I annoyed some people, but I did pretty well for myself. Calls at home or on my mobile number are a whole different thing.
We don't even have a land line in our house. I usually don't pick up my cell if it's not a call from a number in my phone. Every once in a while, I'll pick up and mess with a telemarketer. I once strung along a guy trying to scam me that he was from the IRS for about 15 minutes. At the end of the conversation, he told me to f@@K off; I'm sure he was legit – NOT!
I think this is a fantastic idea and I may even subscribe, just to hear the recordings. $12 for hours of entertainment is a good deal. If I do, I'll share some here. I'm in.
Will Sharks Think this is a Jolly Idea?
I think all the Sharks will LOVE the idea, but an investment will depend on the equity ask. The success of this business depends purely on getting subscribers, so the cost to acquire a customer will be critical. What makes the business good is it doesn't cost much to run it – it's all done on a computer. If all the numbers add up, Jolly Roger may get offers just for the novelty of it .