If you know me at all you know how firm my stance is against mobile spam. I have been known to tell students in my courses and attendees at my speaking events, “Do not send mobile spam. If you do and I find out I will come kick you in the shins.” Yes, I have said those exact words and I mean them.
I have had heated, but friendly, dialogues with colleagues about how adamant I am that even being able to upload a list of cell phones which have (supposedly) been properly opted-in at another company is wrong. It is that “supposedly” part that gets me. What if they aren’t and consumers are being placed on a text message list without permission? That would be so wrong and it would be mobile spam in its purest form.
It is flat out safe to say that I am a huge opponent to any form of mobile spam.
Today’s article in Mobile Marketer reporting about a class action lawsuit against Twitter for violating SMS regulations has me fuming for an entirely different reason.
Two gentlemen, who I am assuming are the type of people who would sue a coffee place for serving too hot coffee or a knife company for selling sharp knives upon which they cut themselves due to their own negligence, have filed a class action lawsuit against Twitter.
The point of their complaint is the single message that Twitter sends when someone has successfully opted out of receiving SMS. The message simply confirms that the person has opted out and will receive no further messages from the Twitter account they had been following. Furthermore it gives information on how to opt out of all remaining SMS messages sent through Twitter.
In reality this confirmation message is helpful to the person who has opted out because now they know they will stop receiving messages from the individual account and if they want to take it a step further and unsubscribe from Twitter SMS all together they now know how. And can do it easily at that exact moment.
In this scenario Twitter did not send any message without permission. Twitter automatically and immediately opted people out of SMS messages upon request and even goes a step further to tell people how to opt-out all together.
THIS IS NOT MOBILE SPAM!
Here’s why this bothers me so much. We have bigger issues to fight. Real mobile spam. The kind that is truly, horrible and wrong. Like the $9.99 my husband was charged for My Mobile Love Alerts. He did nothing but reply STOP to a message that came into him out of the blue. (And yes, I know it came in out of the blue because I happened to be sitting right next to him when it did.)
By the time we noticed the $9.99 was billed to his account Sprint had already paid the slimy excuse of a company (My Mobile Love, Short Code 34095, Phone 877-382-4750, Powered by Open Market) that did this and refused to take it off his bill.
Now, THAT is mobile spam. It is wrong and it must be stopped.
If we, thanks to the plaintiffs in this frivolous lawsuit, spend our energy fighting off opt-out confirmation messages sent to consumers who granted permission in the first place we are missing out on fighting the true spammers – like My Mobile Love, which should have been shut down by the carriers and Open Market long ago.
Hello, Open Market…reading this? Or maybe the opportunistic plaintiffs rallying against Twitter will take up this real case of mobile spam.
As the 3G iPhone goes on sale around the world I find myself wondering what it will mean to the mobile web. Some think that it will make the mobile web obsolete – that everyone will now want full web access on their mobile devices. Others see that application development for iPhone that is the real story. Yet others are launching full scale mobile marketing campaigns exclusively for iPhone users.
Clearly, application development is chock full of potential. And, while I don’t think that businesses should ignore all other mobile device users, I do believe that mobile campaigns targeted exclusively to these users will likely succeed.
Without a doubt the iPhone has changed the way the world sees mobile Internet access. This wonderous device has opened the eyes of consumers and businesses alike that accessing the Internet via mobile is not only possible, but accessible.
What I wholeheartedly disagree with is the idea that the mobile web will be made obsolete by the iPhone.
First of all, no matter how wonderful the iPhone is (no disagreement on that point), it still only has a 3.5 inch diagonal display. Screen size makes a huge impact on usability. No matter how slick the browser is and how easy it is to zoom in on what you want, you can only see 3.5 inches of a website at a time.
If you don’t believe that this impacts usability, just imagine that right now as you are reading this article your computer monitor instantly shrunk to a 3.5 inch size. How would your Internet experience change? My bet is that you wouldn’t finish reading this article because it would take too long. Instead of being able to read it quickly, scanning several paragraphs at a time, you would be forced to consume it in small bite-size chunks which would slow you down considerably. That is just one example of how screen size changes usability.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that iPhone users won’t find it easier to access the full Internet via their phones. Of course they will. This device changes how easy it is to consume full-size websites, but it does not make it easy enough to abandon the idea of having a site specifically designed for mobile consumption. A site that offers what users need when they are mobile and access to more if they choose to consume it through their small device.
Another point to consider is that even if Apple sold 40 million units today (They won’t. Some analysts predict 40 million unit sales for all of 2009.) iPhone users are a small fraction of the total 3 billion user population. The rest of the mobile world is still accessing the Internet without all the whiz-bang features. Everyone else needs specifically mobile-accessible websites. Really.
Businesses should offer a mobile-friendly website in addition to their main website. If they choose to also offer an iPhone specific site as well, that is icing on the cake. Just don’t forget the cake and only pass out the icing.
Forget your carbon footprint; do you know what your digital footprint is?
Tomi Ahonen wrote a very interesting blog post about how companies can utilize consumers’ movements, mobile activities and social interaction (their digital footprint) to more effectively market to them. As with pretty much everything Tomi writes, it is worth a read. It is also worth some time actively considering the implications of digital footprints and their use in marketing.
First of all, he talks about how a digital footprint is created:
Take a typical London resident, working in the City. He (or she, we don’t care at this point) spends most weeknights and weekend nights at one area of London, regularly. Lets say the Earl’s Court area. If this customer spends most nights there, that is the real home, the real address. While we don’t know necessarily the street address of this guy, we know at least by cell identity, which section of Earl’s Court the person lives in.
He goes on to explain in a lot more detail about this concept including how to know a person’s interests, lifestyle and decision making processes by what they do and where they go with their mobile phone. It is fascinating reading.
I don’t know about you, but I read these kinds of things differently depending upon whether I am thinking like a marketer or a consumer at the moment I’m reading it.
As a consumer I am shocked to think that someone would be tracking all of my movements and activities based on the fact that I happen to have my cell phone with me at all times. It feels like 1984 all of a sudden (and not in that good-I’m-still-a-senior-in-high-school kind of way).
As a marketer I am excited by the possibilities of being able to use mobile marketing in such a way that it adds so much value to peoples’ lives that they don’t even realize it is marketing. After all, if all marketing/advertising that was presented to you was actually valuable to you, it wouldn’t even feel like marketing. It would feel like life.
After all, providing value with mobile marketing is critical (with or without the whole digital footprint concept) and one I strongly advocate. As I’m explaining in my series about what value to provide with mobile (started here), consumers simply won’t engage with mobile marketing unless there is something in it for them.
What do you think about this digital footprint concept? As a consumer? As a marketer? I’d love to know.
I do this for two reasons. First, I want to keep my blog on topic about mobile and secondly, I am very curious about how other people use their mobile devices. (Surely I can’t be the only one who speed dials accidentally at odd hours – see #1.) Anyway, here goes:
Recently I had to turn off my Speed Dial because I kept dialing my dad’s phone number when I was trying to hit the snooze button on my phone. (On my Treo 700wx the snooze options pop up right on top of the speed dial photos. If I accidentally double tapped the snooze it started dialing. Not a good thing since I routinely set the alarm for 5 AM.)
I put up with an error message showing up on my phone about a program (an alarm clock) that I have uninstalled because I have no idea how to make this error message go away. (This seems like the equivalent of 12:00 flashing over and over again on the VCR.)
I set an alarm to remind me to pick up my daughter from school. I’m afraid that I’ll be so focused on writing my book that I’ll forget.
Evidentially, my phone is a portable alarm clock.
I fervently wish that more of my friends were text messagers. Did I mention this is a fervent wish? I also wish my mom would turn on her cell phone all the time so I could call her on it, but she insists that if she needs to call someone she will turn it on then. At least my dad is reachable – he has three cell phones.
I am the room parent at my daughter’s school and had hoped to be able to text message other parents with alerts. No such luck. Out of 54 parents, only 2 of us text message. Thankfully, 26 of the 27 families do email. Note to Chase’s parents: GET EMAIL!
Since I am in the making wishes mode, I would like to request that Atlantis Quest be made mobile for my Treo so I can play this totally awesome game all the time.
I am now tagging:
Please put your 7 Things About My Mobile Use in the comments. Or feel free to blog about it and trackback here.
It is well worth the 4 minutes to watch it – the concept is excellent and the way the video was done is brilliant. Take a look and then tell me if you agree that these student’s view of the world and how they interact with it means that mobile marketing is undoubtedly the next big thing…the younger generation deals with the world in a whole new way and mobile is huge part of it.
I have to point out that when the message flashes about the “problems” they are facing are not caused by them, that I disagree. If a student chooses to do Facebook instead of listen to the professor, that is their choice and any subsequent problems caused by this are their fault. Again, if a student chooses not to come to class that is their choice and therefore their responsibility.
When I went to college in the 80s we didn’t have as many technological distractions but we certainly found other ways to distract ourselves and had to take responsibility for our own choices – so should these students. Admittedly, it is a pet peeve of mine when people blame the rest of the world for their problems and fail to take responsibility for their own life. Certainly their point about having more than just a blackboard as a teaching tool is valid.
That aside, the video is a fascinating look at technology and how it is so interwoven in the lives of college students. For better or worse.
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