Without crowd-sourced Caller ID, we decided it didn’t make sense to include calling and texting in Mr. Number. With fewer features, the streamlined Mr. Number is now easier to use and is still the best call blocker available.
Reverse Lookup is back!
We’ve brought back Reverse Lookup so you can get more information about mobile numbers and landlines in the US. With just one tap, Reverse Lookup numbers that have called or texted you, or enter a number to see if we have a name to go with it. Your first twenty Lookups are free; after that, you can buy additional Lookups through the app (20 for 99 cents).
We license the names and numbers in our Reverse Lookup database from several different companies that collect publicly available information. This information is constantly updated to make sure we’re returning the most accurate results possible, which is why we charge a fee for Reverse Lookups.
Business Caller ID provides details and deals
When you get a call from a business line, Mr. Number does a free Caller ID lookup to find a name. If we know who called, we’ll display rich information about the business, including any offers they may have, their location and a link to their website. (You can also block the business from calling you with one tap.)
If you have any questions, visit the updated Mr. Number FAQ or send a note to support [AT] mrnumber.com, and we’ll get back to you.
How loyal are Android owners? Is spam a significant problem? How does the average person find out about new apps?
In search of answers, we reached out to more than 10,000 active Mr. Number users to learn more about their mysterious habits and compiled their answers into the infographic below; let us know if our findings surprised you!
With just 42 days until the 2012 election, Americans are paying closer attention to presidential polling results. Not much has changed since the Republican and Democratic conventions: if you look at a rolling average of the last several months, President Obama has maintained a 3-4 point lead over Gov. Romney (within the statistical margin of error).
Before putting together a survey, pollsters must think in multiple dimensions so they can reach a representative sample of the electorate. Each poll includes select percentages of different population groups, such as:
likely voters vs. registered voters
Republicans vs. Democrats
survey response rate
live interviews vs. robocalls
“Landline vs. mobile phone” is a critical consideration, but because federal law prohibits robocalls to mobile numbers, pollsters must call these numbers to conduct live interviews. Historically, pollsters have faced similar challenges; in the 1936 election between President Franklin Roosevelt and Gov. Alf Landon of Kansas, the largest polling operation was Literary Digest, a weekly newsmagazine. In its election poll, Literary Digest mailed out 10 million postcards to people who were:
members of specific clubs and organizations
previously registered to vote
listed in telephone directories
registered car owners
After counting the surveys that were returned, Literary Digest reported that Landon would beat Roosevelt 66% to 33%. As it turned out, the 1936 election was one of the most lopsided ever — Roosevelt won 98% of the Electoral College and 60.8% of the popular vote! Did the magazine get it so wrong simply because they oversampled people with telephones (40% of the population)?
Not at all. Literary Digest sent out 10 million surveys, but only 2.3 million were returned, a dramatic nonresponse bias that wasn’t recognized until after Election Day. Additionally, the survey’s sample revealed a selection bias (magazine subscribers, car owners and telephone customers) that helped skew the results toward a more affluent crowd more likely to vote Republican.
Literary Digest folded not long after releasing its 1936 survey; more scientific polling outfits like Gallup, Roper and others soon became leaders in measuring public opinion. As we become more connected and data becomes easier to gather and crunch, it’s a safe bet that polling methodology will grow even more complex; for all we know, SMS could become the next major tool for measuring public opinion!
More than two years after we launched Mr. Number for Android, Google has decided that our app does not comply with their latest content policy and has ordered us to turn off our crowd-sourced Caller ID feature. Google has told us that you, our users, cannot share your contact lists for Caller ID even if you believe you have your contacts’ permission. Although Google approved the feature as recently as last month, we have no choice but to turn off crowd-sourced Caller ID for now, because Android is not the open platform that we thought it was.
We’ll continue to provide conventional Caller ID using information we license from commercial databases. Mr. Number will still be the best free Caller ID app on the market, as well as a full-featured messaging app and the most popular call and text blocker available. But we will not be able to identify mystery and spam calls and texts as reliably as we did before. If you were paying for the premium version, you will not be billed again.
We’re sorry for the inconvenience and we’ll keep working to bring back crowd-sourced Caller ID.
The Full Story — for People Who Want to Know
We launched Mr. Number two years ago to give you more control over your phone. We believe you have the right to know who is calling or texting you, and the right to block any person or company you don’t want to hear from again. But there was no reliable way to know who was calling you if the number was not already in your contact list. So we invented crowd-sourced Caller ID.
You may not always know who is calling you, but some other Mr. Number member probably does. When you opt in to crowd-sourced Caller ID, you let us look up mystery numbers in your mobile contacts on behalf of other users and we do the same for you for free. As a bonus, crowd-sourcing helps us to identify telemarketers, phishers, robocallers, and other kinds of spam so we can block them all for users automatically.
People loved it. We’ve spent almost nothing on advertising, but almost 5 million people have downloaded the Android version of Mr. Number and most of you opted in to crowd-sourced Called ID. Combining this with commercial sources we were able to return a name for almost 80% of the calls and texts our users got from numbers they didn’t recognize.
Mr. Number is now one of the top 200 apps for Android phones in the US, with an average rating of 4.4 from more than 60,000 users. It’s not available for iPhone because Apple does not have any APIs for Caller ID, regardless of where the data comes from, but almost 80,000 people have signed our petition to Apple requesting Mr. Number for iPhone.
Success brought competitors who offered crowd-sourced Caller ID to their millions of users. But Google has ordered all of us to turn off the feature.
Why Google Objects to Crowd-sourced Caller ID
Google contacted us in June with a number of concerns.
First, Google pointed out that your contacts haven’t consented to be in Mr. Number’s database. True, but your contacts don’t get to consent before you upload them to Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google itself. (Since Google can share data across all of its products, it’s not clear how Google uses your contact data.) Like Google, Facebook, Salesforce and every other app that works with contact data, we rely on your permission. In fact, we told you not to opt in to crowd-sourced Caller ID unless you had permission from their contacts and we offered a paid version instead.
By the way, anyone can control how they appear in Mr. Number or remove all their data from our database at any time by clicking “Your Caller ID” on our home page, without creating an account or writing to customer support or any of the hoops that other companies make you jump through.
Second, Google said that we were publishing private information: the names of people calling you. We disagreed. Telling you that the person calling your mobile phone right now is named Joe is not the same as making Joe’s phone number public. Joe has already shared his phone number with you, simply by calling you, and you have the right to know who is calling or texting you before you answer. And if Joe dials *67 to block his number, he blocks Mr. Number too.
Google accepted this and asked us to add some more disclosure language to our opt-in page, which we did.
Google Changes Its Mind — and Its Content Policy
A few weeks later Google made a subtle change to its content policy. Previously apps were barred from publishing personal information, unless authorized. Now they cannot publish or disclose personal information. Of course, all Caller ID apps disclose personal information. Google also changed its mind about authorization, telling us that you, our users, cannot share contact lists for Caller ID even if you say you have your contacts’ permission.
There is no court of appeal and we and our competitors have to turn off crowd-sourced Caller ID.
Why You Should Care Even if You Don’t Use Mr. Number
Android is not as open as we thought it was. We thought that Google’s content policies were aimed at malware and fraud. But no one has accused Mr. Number of deceiving users or doing anything illegal.
For users, it means that your favorite apps could disappear at any time.
For developers and investors, it means that at any time (in our case, two years after launch) Google can tell you to turn off key features of your app, regardless of what users think.
It means that on Android as on iOS, you need permission to innovate.
We could quit Google Play and ask you to download Mr. Number directly from our website. But you cannot install Android apps from the web without changing a setting on your phone and tapping through multiple warning messages that imply off-market apps are suspicious. Going off-market may work for hobbyists and crooks but it’s not a realistic option for a commercial developer.
We hope that Google will realize this and let you the users decide which products have struck the right balance between privacy and utility. Alternatively, Google could stop calling Android an open platform and pre-approve all new apps.
Once again, we’re sorry for the inconvenience and we’ll keep working to bring back crowd-sourced Caller ID.
You might be asking God to give you a financial miracle, or even some things around your relationships and family matters. This is why I’m calling you, because God urged me and spoke to me about praying for you.
Being a prayer partner, being someone that’s standing on the sidelines praying that everyday your needs will be met; if you’re ready to join my prayer closet where I pray over thousand of people and you are the only one missing, I want you to press a zero so I can transfer this call to the prayer closet. And this way, I can have your information so I can begin to start praying for you non-stop.
If you’re really ready, press zero right now because I know your miracle is right around the corner. Your struggle will be over. Press zero now to be transferred to the prayer closet.
DIFFERENT MALE VOICE:
To be removed from this call list, please press “three” now.
failed to provide their name or the name of the person on whose behalf the call was made
did not leave a callback number
making unsolicited calls to mobile phones is prohibited
The TCPA allows individuals to go after violators to pursue civil penalties for breaking the law, up to $500 for each violation. In certain circumstances, the law allows a judge to triple the amount of damages:
A person or entity may, if otherwise permitted by the laws or rules of court of a State, bring in an appropriate court of that State– (A) an action based on a violation of this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this subsection to enjoin such violation, (B) an action to recover for actual monetary loss from such a violation, or to receive $500 in damages for each such violation, whichever is greater, or (C) both such actions.
If the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly violated this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this subsection, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount available under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.
In a followup, we’ll show you how to file a civil complaint in state court so you can pursue damages against individuals/companies you believe have violated the TCPA.
We really appreciate the people who use Mr. Number. Since we can’t buy everyone a cold lemonade and shake their hand, we came up with another way to say “thank you” — the Mr. Number Summer 2012 collection! (click to enlarge)
If you’d like to tell the world about your favorite communications app, visit our Facebook page and post a message declaring your love of Mr. Number (along the style and size you prefer). We’ll send shirts and stickers to the first 10 people who respond!
Download the latest update to Mr. Number and when your contacts use Mr. Number, you’ll know when they’ve read your messages. As an added benefit, your messages will be faster and free which saves you money.
Sending messages via Mr. Number is faster than sending them through your mobile provider, plus we also show you crucial information; a single checkmark means your message has been delivered; a second checkmark appears when the recipient has read your message.
Texting with Mr. Number is just as secure as texting with your mobile carrier; your messages are encrypted in such a way that they can only be read by your intended recipient.
Another major benefit in our recent update: Mr. Number is now available in 9 languages:
Android users are international, so these localized versions of Mr. Number make it easier for you to stay connected to friends, family and coworkers around the world.
Fast, free texting across the globe — 每個電話應該以這種方式工作 *
For Crystal, the manager of a family restaurant and catering company in California’s Central Valley, Mr. Number is a valued member of the team.
“I can stay in touch with my staff, vendors and clients without the constant interruption of being on the phone. Mr. Number tells people where I am and what I’m doing… or what they need to do.”
Because she’s wary about auto safety (and expensive moving violations), she’s determined to “never use my cell phone in the car.” Instead, Crystal updates her Availability in Mr. Number to let callers know when she’s stuck in traffic or making a supply run.
If a call comes in while she’s behind the wheel, Text Back Availability tells callers when they can expect to hear from her. “Last week, I was waiting on a call from one of our chefs, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to talk to him. After he called, he got an automatic text message letting him know I’d be late because of a freeway accident.”
Good timing and clear communication are essential to providing quality food service. “Because he knew I’d be late, he delayed some dishes so we everything came out of the kitchen on time. Nothing worse than overcooked shrimp!”
Today, Crystal’s favorite feature is the incoming call prompt that displays who’s calling, along with the last time they called and the last text message they sent. “In a second or two, I can see what my team is up to or a client’s last text message, all without breaking my stride. I love Mr. Number!”