With the explosive growth of SMS marketing the industry is getting its act together with an initiative to establish a text messaging preference service. For the low-down click here
Who The Direct Marketing Association and thrketing Association and the Wireless Marketing Association
When Early September 2001
The Direct Marketing Association and the Wireless Marketing Association have breathed new life into plans to launch an "SMS Preference Service". Like the existing preference services for other types of marketing, the SMS Preference Service will allow individuals who do not wish to receive marketing messages by SMS to register with a central database. SMS marketers who wish to sign up to the scheme will then arrange to clean their mobile telephone number databases on a monthly basis, so that opt-outers on the database do not receive further marketing messages on their mobiles. To fund the service, marketers are expected to have to pay anything up to £5,000 a year for the right to clean their lists against the opt-out database. The upside for those who opt to take part, however, will be that they can tell the world that they have signed up to the service and build better customer relations as a result.
Why this matters
The EU E-Commerce Directive is due to be implemented in the UK in January 2002. The directive stipulates that all EU member states must “encourage” the use of preference services for all types of marketing. By making this move, the DMA and the WMA are sensibly doing what they can to head off the threat of a statutory preference service as part of the E-Commerce Directive’s implementation.
The introduction of this new service, probably later in the year, will mean that the total number of preference services operating in the UK will be five. Two of them (the telephone preference service and the fax preference service) are statutory, whilst the remainder, the mailing preference service, the email preference services and the new SMS preference service, will all be voluntary/self regulatory. The challenge the DMA and the WMA face is to raise the profile of the scheme to a point where sufficient numbers of marketers and consumers are using it for it to have real credibility. This is a challenge that the E-mail Preference Service has not yet fully faced down, and in any event, as long as there are significant numbers of marketers out there who choose not to sign up for these preference services, there must remain the threat of statutory controls.