Any insights on HN on this problem?
This space is toxic but the underlying problem is the tension between individual privacy (DNC and off-directory numbers) and public-commons good.
That, and the truly bizarre decisions made regarding CLID in the payload and as presented by the apps: Why do we let people lie about sender-ID? This is like MANRS in BGP (Internet routing) -we shouldnt' allow injection of lies at origin.
Hard to police but high benefit (like BCP38/MANRS)
In HN lingo - where's the product/market fit? Who are the "customers" who'll pay to have this problem solved? How much will they pay, and how often? Will they recommend it to others in a viral growth mechanism?
Who's going to build a free non-spam version of that, how are they going to resource/monetise it?
I'd bet good money that what you want exists, but requires a subscription. How much would you personally pay for access to a non fucked version of this? (Or alternatively, can you imagine a market for the search data that you could sell on to pay for development/hosting/profit to run this? Maybe phone scammers would pay you for access to the list for numbers consumers are looking up?)
There was also the "pink pages" which was privately own4ed/run, which only listed businesses, and monetised by leaving your business out (often while lying to you about all your competitors paying for listings) or by offering larger ad spaces to paid listings with just basic names/address/phone number listings if you didn't pay. These were monetised as basic "pay to be listed" or freemium/promoted listings.
Neither of those two business models survived the web and smart phones. These days 99.9+% of the numbers I call just come out of my contact list. I probably got those numbers by asking people, saving their caller id number when they called me, or I found it on their email sig or website.
Neither of those two business models provide an obvious way to monetise people who say "I have this phone number, and I want to know who it is, but I don't want to call it up and ask (or I did that and they wouldn't tell me or I don't believe them)."
one thing i noticed more recently is the language used; before, you'd search "867-5309" and get the usual wording like "Looking for 867-5309?", now it's "WHAT THE HELL DID 867-5309 DO?!?!??!" or worse :D
This is just the ghetto of the internet and its extremely frustrating. I don't know how to solve this - I just don't understand why it is like this?