Thousands of Calls Blocked, Thanks to Contest Winner

Technology to block robocalls is a huge win for consumers and for challenge competitions this year.

The FTC awarded a prize to Aaron Foss, creator of Nomorobo, in April. The technology went to market September 30, and the tool has already blocked more than one hundred thousand calls.

The FTC did a number of things right in setting up and managing this challenge competition — among them, creating a competition focused on mission and designing the challenge to track measurable results.

The agency also framed their challenge in a way that anyone who had an interest in the topic could enter the competition. This brought in a wide range of solvers, from high-tech developers to non-technical people who had a passion for stopping this phone spam.

Foss shared some statistics and details that show how the FTC challenge is making an impact and helping citizens:

  • Nomorobo has 14,000 users and is protecting over 18,000 lines (on 5 VoIP carriers)
  • 219,000+ people have signed up saying they want to use the system if their carriers enable the “simultaneous ring” feature, which would allow Nomorobo to work with their customers
  • Comcast has reached out to Nomorobo and is working diligently so their customers can use the service as soon as possible

Foss says there is a deluge of emails from thrilled consumers because their phone lines have finally gone silent.

Robocall enforcement used to be a game of whack-a-mole. With the technology challenge, the FTC received 798 submissions — a huge success. FTC’s challenge managers continue to track results from the initiative that started more than a year ago and tell us that whenever they talk with Foss, he emphasizes that he’s grateful for the experience because he never would have known or thought about this problem without the challenge competition.

Along with the technology developed through the challenge, there is a list of tips in this video, Robocall Challenge: Consumer Tips & Tricks.