Before voicemail, callers would get the message that no one was home when the phone just rang and rang. Now, in an effort to get rid of voicemail, one app is reviving that idea.
The No More Voicemail app aims to decimate voicemail by routing callers to a virtual number that rings indefinitely, or until the caller gets tired of waiting for the beep and hangs up. Calls aren't routed into the never-ending ringer until the recipient either dismisses the call or ignores it. The idea is to train callers to switch to texting, rather than leaving voicemails.
Some people might wonder if such an app is really necessary, given that consumers can switch off their voicemail with their wireless carriers. But one of the app's designers noted on a tech website that many people aren't aware that option is available.
"Carriers do weird things once they've turned off your voicemail, like play messages or just hang up when people would have reached your voicemail," Nate Kapitanski, a partner at the company behind No More Voicemail, wrote on tech site ProductHunt. "No More Voicemail is a little more subtle."
Voicemail, for those who haven't gotten the message yet, is on a serious downward slope. From October 2013 to April 2014 alone, the volume of voice mails in the U.S. declined 8 percent, according to Vonage. About 80 percent of callers don't bother to leave voicemails these days because they don't think anyone will listen to the messages.
Some big businesses are catching on and cutting back on voicemail. In 2014, Coca-Cola (KO) offered workers the option of turning off their voicemail, and reported that only 6 percent of employees opted to keep the function.
It may seem like a handicap for businesses to bypass voicemail, but the fact is that most Americans now view it as a time suck instead of a useful tool. That's especially true of younger Americans. Only 10 percent of teens with smartphones say they use them to place calls to their friends, but almost 60 percent say they use the devices for texting.
There are other options for the voicemail-adverse, however. Google Voice, for instance, takes voice messages and converts them into texts (although from personal experience, the speech-to-text translation isn't always accurate), which allows people to delete their voicemails without fear of missing anything.
No More Voicemail is aimed at millennials who may not understand voicemail technology, Kapitanski wrote on ProductHunt.
"We think voicemail is a thing of the past and that it just makes life a little easier to never have to worry about checking and returning voicemails," Kapitanski told TechCrunch. "If it's important, people will text you or message you on one of the various messaging apps."