Originally published: February 2, 2011
Last updated: February 2, 2011 - 2:03pm
CTIA and the Mobile Marketing Association announced the creation of a joint task force that will streamline the process for Common Short Code (CSC)-based mobile marketing programs in the US. Led by executives from the two organizations and from the mobile marketing program ecosystem, this new group will focus on two areas: shortening time-to-market for mobile marketing programs and supporting those mobile marketers who best adhere to consumer protection guidelines.
These efforts will help businesses connect efficiently with millions of wireless customers, while helping to build increased consumer trust in mobile marketing campaigns. With more than six billion text messages sent and received daily in the US, many large and small businesses have deployed successful CSC-based mobile marketing programs. CSCs are five- or six-digit numbers that are used for text or multimedia messaging mobile marketing programs such as mobile giving, tele-voting and marketing promotions. According to an August 2010 Mobile Marketing Association “View from Madison Ave.” study, these CSC marketing campaigns are increasingly becoming a mainstay for many leading brands, non-profits and governments. The joint task force will work to create uniform guidelines across carrier networks. It will also carefully balance monitoring of the CSC-based mobile marketing programs to ensure consumers are protected and campaigns are appropriately functioning. Finally, the group will recommend mechanisms to reward consistently trustworthy performers and explore potential enforcement mechanisms to drive greater compliance.
Michael Weinberg, staff attorney for Public Knowledge, said: "We are encouraged that the wireless industry has at last recognized that there is a problem with the long time it takes to obtain a short code, and has set up a group to work on the issue. At the same time, we look forward to further explanations about who will be on the task force, how the new rules will be compiled and whether there will be a mechanism for those denied short codes to have a dispute resolved. The process would benefit from a lot more transparency and broader inclusion from all stakeholders. While the industry has been quick to boast about the importance of short codes in public safety, civic engagement, and commercial activity, they have failed to provide safeguards for the public that reflect the critical importance of short codes. In the larger sense, the fact that the industry continues to treat short codes as mere ‘marketing campaigns’ rather than a vital service similar to phone service underscores the reason why the Federal Communications Commission needs to act on our long-standing petition to recognize that texting is the 21st Century equivalent of a voice call — and deserves the same protection. They are increasingly integrated into everything from political action campaigns to evacuation alerts. No industry self-regulation, however well intentioned or well managed, can replace the safety net of FCC oversight consumers deserve."
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