As part moving in to the new office, I decided to finally list my business on Google Maps so when people search for “Maxistentialism,” it pops up.
Unfortunately, when you try to register your business on Google, they require you to put in a phone number, and I didn’t want to do that for the following reasons:
- The only phone I have is my cell phone (I specifically asked Comcast not to supply phone service to the building, and then had to call and get it removed when they added it anyway).
- I really don’t want telemarketing robots to call my cell phone.
This left me with only one option: I had to build my own robot that I could send forth to battle telemarketing robots when they called.
To build my own robot, I bought a number on Twilio ($1/mo), which I listed with Google. Now when that number gets called, my robot recites a twenty minute passage from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities before allowing you to leave a message, which it then transcribes and emails to me.
The number is (312) 756-0182 - give it a call.
Here’s how to make your own phonebot:
- Create a ridiculous voicemail message - Audacity is a great, free, cross-platform audio editor and recorder you can use.
- Upload your audio file to a server, a public Dropbox link will also work.
- Register an account at Twilio, hook up your credit card, and buy a number.
- When you configure the number, paste this code into the Voice Request URL field:
http://twimlets.com/echo?Twiml=%3CResponse%3E%0A%3CPlay%3E [LINK TO YOUR AUDIO FILE HERE, MAKE SURE YOU USE ESCAPE CHARACTERS] %3C%2FPlay%3E%0A%3CRecord%20transcribe%3D%22true%22%20transcribeCallback%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Ftwimlets.com%2Fvoicemail%3FEmail%3D [YOUR EMAIL HERE, ALSO IN ESCAPE CHARACTERS] %22%2F%3E%0A%3C%2FResponse%3E&
- Make sure the Request URL is set to “post.”
- Go ahead and delete the SMS Request URL.
- Test it - you should be good to go.