What the bloody hell is this thing, anyway?

For a long time, the needs of desperate nightclub patrons needing a socially-acceptable solution to undesirables chasing their phone number was provided by the site The Rejection Line. There was a number you could give someone that would work, just not as they expected.

Sometime in June (with the last message being from June 23, 2010) the number was disconnected and the site has sat dormant since.

This site is a copy of that idea, done by someone with almost no programming and web development skills whatsoever. The result is something that is HOPEFULLY an acceptable replacement for the great service that was The Rejection Line.

Where is it located, and is it still active?

The phone for rejectionline.com.au is located in Brisbane, Australia. It accepts numbers from anywhere in Australia, and is reposted to Twitter, Facebook and a RSS feed automatically.

And yes - it's active right now! If you want to trial, ring 0406650430 and leave a voice mail. Or send an SMS. Or just ring until the mailbox answers and then hang up - your call will show up in the missed calls section.

So how do I use it?

Anytime you get in one of those situations where someone wants your mobile number to 'text you later', but you really dont want them to be able to hassle you.... give them the phone number for Rejection Line - 0406 650 430. This number is simply a mobile number that converts SMS text into an entry on rejectionline.com.au. If they ring it, noone will answer and they'll get only a generic voicemail box. Now you can enjoy the rest of your night out or day at the beach with friends without worrying if that creepy guy is going to ring you later. And of course, if you do decide to check up on what they've been trying to say to you, you can jump online and read their comments whenever you please.

Alternatvely, use the number on those annoying online forms and surveys that demand a lot of personal information. Or to your boss at the fast food chain you work at casually. Or on your Myspace and Facebook profile to see who the real stalkers are. The ways you can use this are... well, kind of limited actually. But whatever, its good for a laugh.

For quick access to this site or its number - put it in your phone now. Either bookmark this page in a mobile browser, or make an entry in your contact list for 0406650430. That way when the situation calls for a quick response, you've got it ready to go!

Why isn't the number easier to remember? and Why isn't the message a REAL rejection message?

I toyed with the idea of using a number that was easier to remember, but decided against it for the purposes of stealth. A number like 0411 114 114 sounds like a great idea to remember, but as more people use this service it may be so easy to remember that someone recognises it when you give it to them! That's the same reason I chose not to have a real rejection message when people call. It's more of a stealthy rejection, with the main aim being to keep someone off your back. If you give them a 'real' rejection message, the first thing they'll do is be mighty pissed off with you. This is not something you want going on if you're still at the same club, or the same office party, or whatever.

My messages arent showing up!

Incoming messages are filtered a bit to try and weed out undesirable texts. Specifically, texts that contain website URLs, email addresses, website/script code, confirmation codes, personal identification numbers (PINs) and blank content will be dropped. Any incoming call (and subsequent voicemail) that has come from a private number is ignored. Anything sent from outside Australia is ignored.

To make it simple - the only things rejectionline.com.au accepts are 'normal' text messages, and identifiable calls. This is pretty much every legitimate message and call received anyway, but at least it stops the spammers ruining our day :)

Wait a second, wasn't there TWO numbers for this site?

Originally, I set this site up using a virtual mobile number from Exetel. Unfortunately, a virtual number is very limited in what it can do - it can send and receive SMS, but that is all. When you try to call a virtual number, it will simply disconnect on you. That's not a very effective camaflouge if you're trying to hide your real number from somebody, they'll be immediately suspicious of that. So I enlisted the help of a $2 starter kit, a 365 day recharge and a little bit of Android magic to setup a second phone number. This number is a 'real' SIM card, sitting inside a 'real' phone. The phone itself is a Samsung Galaxy i7500, running the Android operating system. The app that handles the SMS gateway is called SMSSync, made by a non-profit company called Ushahidi. Update 11-10-2013: After 3 years, 12000 messages and 37000 calls I updated the device to a Samsung Galaxy Note N7000. Since I made the site fairly generic in terms of the receipt of messages, it only took a few small modifications to get the app integrating just as nicely as the virtual number did.

For a while I ran both numbers in parallel, but after a while the virtual number stopped receiving calls and texts so I disabled it. The "real" phone running Android provides all the integration the virtual number did, but at a fraction of the cost (since I had the hardware lying around anyway).

Why the hell did you bother?

Because I could. Well actually, because I couldnt. Which I guess is why I did it - to learn HOW to do it, so I could do it. And then to do it, just because I could. Besides, I got lots of enjoyment out of The Rejection Line and didnt want to see it fade away altogether.

Your website sucks!

Rejection Line is quite literally the first website I've made that actually does something. The rest were the occasional MS Frontpage generated abortions, or very basic scripts to do a basic task. This website is essentially me teaching myself PHP, CSS and trying my best to follow 'best practices' of web design. If I've failed anywhere, I'd love to hear about it! Although if you're going to whinge, do try and make the complaint a little more in-depth than 'it sucks'.

For anyone interested, the website was created entirely over SSH using vim. All graphical effects are done with CSS where possible, with a dodgy gradient image as backup should the browser be unable to render the CSS. If anyone out there is better at me at design (read: this means everyone) and wants to whip up something prettier, I'd appreciate it.

I'm getting sent messages from this number! Why are you messaging me??

I assure you, I'm not. Lots of services exist which allow you to send SMS and spoof the 'from' number. This is most likely where the messages are coming from. The best course of action is to ignore them, and if the harassment continues take the record of the received messages to the police. Spoofed messages are very easy to trace, and you'll find the real culprit very quickly if its serious enough for authorities to get involved.

Whats with the location?

The location is provided by Reverse Australia. For mobile numbers, its not very accurate - numbers get allocated to certain areas but in reality get sold Australia wide - not to mention can be ported, recycled, and the owners just generally being 'mobile' and not staying in the location the number was sold in. These numbers are typically marked as 'best guess' and probably shouldnt be relied on too heavily for backtracing and internet policing.

Fixed/land lines are much more accurate, and are marked as 'accurate'. While theres still the possibility of errors, its much more likely that the location is correct.

Unlike 'greypages' of old, Reverse Australia does not use the IPND (Integrated Public Number Database) and is thus a legal service to operate in Australia