Unsolicited solicitations in the form of telemarketing calls, email spam and junk mail impose in aggregate a substantial negative externality on society. Telemarketers do not bear the full costs of their marketing because they do not compensate recipients for the hassle of say, being interrupted during dinner. Current regulatory responses that give consumers the all-or-nothing option of registering on the Internet to block all unsolicited telemarketing calls are needlessly both over- and under-inclusive. A better solution is to allow individual consumers to choose the price per minute they would like to receive as compensation for listening to telemarketing calls. Such a "name your own price" mechanism could be easily implemented technologically by crediting consumers' phone bills (a method analogous to the current debits to bills from 1-900 calls). Compensated calling is also easily implemented within current "don't call" statutes simply by giving "don't-call" households the option to authorize intermediaries to connect calls that meet their particular manner or compensation prerequisites.
Ian Ayres & Matthew Funk,
Yale J. on Reg.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/yjreg/vol20/iss1/4