Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do You Have Evidence of Compliance Violations?

We like marketing text messaging services but everyone should play by the same rules.  Notice the message on the screen, above: Text "UTEXT + YOUR GREETING" TO 36288

That message violates carrier compliance regulations.

It's clear that cellular carriers don't treat everyone equally.  They come down pretty hard on small companies like TextPower but appear to let the Big Boys like Facebook, Twitter, NBC, Fox News and others slide when it comes to compliance issues.  We've got nothing against these big companies and, in fact, would like to be a big company someday, too.  But we're not and because of that we're being pushed around and are the victim of discriminatory business practices. 

Carriers, you see, require every marketing message that shows a short code (e.g., "Text 'PIZZA' to 12345 for discounts and free drinks!") to contain verbiage including "Message and data charges may apply. Max 5 messages/week" and other standard language.  It has to appear in every print ad, on web pages, on TV screens, be announced during a radio spot, mentioned in a tweet, added to a Facebook posting, etc.

"What?" you say.  "That's impossible.  I see marketing messages all the time that don't include that language."

Right.  We see it, too.  We don't mind that others aren't using all of that language everywhere and in fact think the whole requirement is a nuisance and downright ridiculous.  It ought to be eliminated - for everyone.  But fair is fair - if we have to comply with the rules then the Big Guys should, too.  So we're gathering photos and screen shots of violations of these compliance requirements.  

If you see evidence of a company promoting a text messaging service without all that required language we encourage you to take a screen shot (or a photo of the TV screen as we've posted above) and use this form to upload it.  Thanks in advance for your help - this will help ensure fair and non-discriminatory treatment for all companies that use short codes… yours could be one of them!

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