I am not a lawyer and only really like one lawyer on the planet*, but I’m pretty sure Google is taking great liberties with my phone number. Something tells me this should be multiplied into the millions if not more.

The core of the Federal CAN-SPAM act says “you can’t telemarket anyone with whom you do not have a pre-existing business relationship.”  Do Google searchers have a “relationship” with Google Maps, for example. I sure don’t, but that hasn’t stopped them from robo-calling me 2-3 times a week recently to talk about opportunities and offers.  Then there’s some other division of Google that calls about “my business listings.”  Truth be told, I probably spend about $50 a month on adwords, so maybe I do have a “commercial relationship.”  Does Google assume that relationship spans every one of their business units in the massive Google ecosystem?  What would the FTC cops say…hopefully they’d say “no way.”

If Google told me that I had to answer and then hang up on 3 spam calls a week to use the browser or Google maps or Gmail, all of which I adore, I’d say yes and keep hanging up. What GALLS me is their PRESUMPTION that I have given this permission.

The real answer to this question is “I don’t know.”

What do you think…and what should we all do about it? Time for Bing?

*The brilliant(and sorta only) lawyer I adore is my wonderful son-in-law Ross. Fabulous father of my magnificent granddaughter, Maya Rose, and husband of my equally wonderful daughter Rachel. (Really important details, to me anyway!)

Bob Dorf speaks with, coaches and trains startups in lean customer development all over the world. He blogs at and tweets @bobdorf.


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