The Wireless Advertising Association is probably the world’s leading trade body representing companies operating in the sector. So what it says about ad messaging on mobiles is worth checking out.
Who: The Wireless Advertising Association
Where: New York
When: May 2001
The Wireless Advertising Association ("WAA"), the leading global industry body representing hand held device makers, carriers and operators, software developers, agencies, retailers, advertisers and service providers, released its first set of standards for wireless advertising. Apart from creative standards and measurement definitions, the WAA Privacy Committee has produced a set of Guidelines on privacy and spam. These offer a number of definitions which might beneficially be used more widely in the interactive advertising world. "PII" is data which can be used to identify or contact a person uniquely and reliably. "Push advertising/messaging " is defined as content sent other than at a time when the recipient requests it. "Pull advertising/messaging" is requested by the recipient. "Standard opt-in" requires active choice on the part of the individual to express permission. "Confirmed opt-in" involves verifying any permission given by for example sending a message to an individual who has given permission, asking that individual to positively reply to confirm that permission has been given. "Wireless spam" is defined as push messaging sent without confirmed opt-in. "Opt-out" is defined as taking action to withdraw permission.
Having set these definitions, the Guidelines go on to lay down general principles. These require WAA members to adopt privacy policies regarding PII that are readily available to consumers at the time the PII is collected and encourage business partners to do the same. Explicit consent must also be obtained before using data for purposes other than those disclosed at the time of collection. Other aspects to be dealt with in privacy policies are set out in detail. When it comes to sending marketing messages, the WAA states quite clearly that although in e-mail marketing "Confirmed opt-in" might be regarded as the highest level of subscriber permission, in the wireless marketing sector it should be the baseline.
Why this matters:
All the indications are that "opt-in" will be regarded as the baseline permission requirement in m-commerce, but are we all clear what "opt-in" or for that matter "opt-out" actually mean in practice? The WAA’s definitions help here, but are still not sufficiently granular to tell us clearly for example whether having the opportunity to untick a ready-ticked "opt-in" box is in fact "opt-in."