I would narrate an incident that happened with me. This would paint a good mental picture.
It’s a Sunday afternoon and you just had your weekly wholesome meal of Biryani. While watching your favorite show on Netflix, you dozed off. It is probably the best sleep you have had in weeks. And that’s when you get a call. You pick it up hastily and the lady on the other side says, mai policybazar se Reema baat kar rahi hun. (Call from a telemarketer).
See how the entire experience was ruined? This happens way too often. As a matter of fact, India was one of the top ten countries affected by spam calls in 2020, according to the “Truecaller Insights” (source). On a similar note, on an average, I receive 12-15 spam texts each day. Back in the day, we used to handle this problem with our email IDs by creating a dummy mail ID for sharing with unwanted sites or for single time use. What if I tell you that you can have a similar telephone number too? Enter Doosra: your answer to how to block spam calls and messages and protect your privacy.
What is Doosra?
First of all, it has nothing to do with cricket and Harbhajan Singh. Doosra is nothing but actually a doosra (other/second) number. It is virtual mobile number you have in your pocket that runs normally without a SIM card. An e-Sim card, if you may. Doosra has the potential of replacing your mobile number while you are sharing it with e-Commerce sites, shopping malls, dating apps, delivery apps etc. Sharing your number with unknown sources means that you will get a constant supply of spam messages and calls every day. Also, who knows some creep over the internet gains access to your number and tries to bug you. So what all does Doosra have in store?
Features of Doosra:
At the very heart of the app, topmost feature would be blocking all incoming calls to Doosra number (No prizes for guessing that). However, a lot of thought has been put behind addressing the customer’s pain points. Lets explore them quickly:
- SMS Filtering: All incoming messages to Doosra number will sit quietly in a designated space on the application until you decide to revisit them. Peace!
- Unblocking: In case you expect an important call on Doosra, you have an option of unblocking all the calls for a fixed duration or at a specific location. A good use case of this feature would be signing up for Swiggy/Zomato using Doosra application and unblocking calls while you order something for delivery agents to reach out to you. You may use location based unblocking, if you have shared your number while entering a restaurant/pub and you are expecting them to call you while you are at that location. You may turn off call blocking totally as well, if required. (only available in pro mode)
- Trusted Contacts and Services: You may maintain some contacts as trusted and Doosra would simply NOT block calls from them. Similarly, there are some services like Amazon, Ola, Urban Company, Swiggy, Zomato which are by default set as ‘trusted’. You may disable calls from them as well, manually. if you that suits you.
- Voice Mail: And even if above still doesn’t work for you, all unknown callers are redirected to a voicemail. Your callers can record their message and it will reach you instantly. This feature can also be turned off.
- Premium Number: This is a cherry on the top. You may not want to pick a boring Doosra number and you may chose to go for premium options as well. Of course these numbers are priced higher than the normal ones but more on pricing in the upcoming segments.
My Experience and Uses?
I have been using Doosra for over a week now. I did share it with a restaurant I visited on 30th December, 2020. Just a week later, I am being offered Biryani at a 40% discount from that place. So, kind of, justifies my purchase of Doosra number. And I also think the more I share it, lesser would I get distracted from all those spam notifications. That is indeed a +1 for your digital wellbeing dashboard. Some other things I did using Doosra were as follows:
My Curefit subscription ended a month ago and let’s be honest, I rarely used it. This time, since new year resolutions have to include this aspect, I was about to purchase one. However, I just realized Doosra would give me another 7 day free trial. So if you want to give an additional shot to the app/service you just tried, Doosra can be really handy.
Another related use I could think of would be of referral discounts. I could use my primary number’s referral code for Doosra number and get some freebies from multiple services on the internet. This would be possible using any other number, but again, Doosra will also block spam messages and calls when it is being used to avail those services.
One interesting case I saw over the internet for Doosra, which I intend to put to use, is on OLX. My experience with OLX is very bad. Ever since I showed interest in a product on OLX, a stupid fraud would try to act smart and make unnecessary calls every few days. Doosra would be really handy in protecting your privacy in such cases.
Doosra offers half yearly and annual subscription based pricing. Both these periodic packages are sub divided into two variants, Doosra and Doosra Pro. Comparison of the features can be found here. I purchased Doosra half yearly basic plan which costed me Rs. 499. The similar package for annual plan costs. Rs. 699.
In toto, I think doosra tries to solve a problem which has been around for a while now. More than spamming related issues, this turns out to be a war against privacy concerns. Will I renew my Doosra subscription? Well, may be. Will you purchase one?
Until next time. . .