This #FeatureFriday, we’re focusing on one of our most useful tools, Spam Score. We’ll tell you why it’s a necessity, how it works and the ways in which we’re working to make it even better.
Why Spam Score?
A recent study from Marchex estimated that incoming spam calls cost small businesses nearly half a billion dollars a year. While the Do Not Call (DNC) Registry has been helpful in limiting the amount of spam calls made to consumers, it clearly has not offered businesses the same protections. At Whitepages Pro, we decided we could do something about that.
Whitepages Pro has long helped companies avoid spamming consumers, offering them the DNC Registry status of consumer phone numbers and the number’s line type to assist with TCPA compliance. But likewise, we needed a way to help businesses avoid receiving spam calls.
To help users of all Whitepages products deal with incoming spam, we created Spam Score, which determines whether or not the calls are legitimate or coming from your least favorite spammers—Nigerian Royalty, anyone?
How does it work?
Spam Score is featured in Whitepages Pro and Whitepages Caller ID. The popularity of our Whitepages Caller ID application allowed us to track billions of calls per month. By applying some proprietary algorithms to this data, we created Spam Score.
For our Whitepages Pro customers (both Pro Web and Pro API), we expose Spam Score on a scale of 0-100% for any phone number searched for via a Reverse Phone Query, or linked to a queried entity. For most use cases, any incoming call that receives a score above 5% would be suspicious and very likely spam. It is possible for our customers to filter these calls out of their systems, save the time of their agents, and reclaim their portion of that half a billion dollars identified by Marchex at the beginning of this post. In recent customer tests we successfully identified more than 90% of the spam numbers that were wasting the time of call center agents. Widespread use of our Spam Score data would help businesses greatly.
In the case of Whitepages Caller ID, users see a flag for all incoming calls that we identify as spam along with other users’ comments on the number. They block the number and everybody wins (everyone except the spammers that is).
How are we improving Spam Score?
We are beginning to leverage the feedback we receive through Whitepages.com and our Whitepages Caller ID app to specify the type of spam that is connected to these numbers. We are also looking into the best way to present this data to our customers. One such proposal is to simplify our scoring to provide only the distinctions between zero, low, medium, or high likelihood of spam activity.
I’m happy to report that we are finding a lot of success protecting our customers from devoting their resources on accidentally taking spam calls. We are not content to rest on this success, and are always working to improve the breadth and quality of the information we can provide.