Calling for action and doing nothing

Link: Mobile Marketing Magazine: WIN Calls for Action on Rogue Content.

Time for my morning stroll through Mobile Marketing Magazine — today they’re looking at action on rogue content. Here’s a quote I lifted from Ben King, Wireless Marketing Manager of mobile solutions provider, WIN.

While network operators and connectivity providers are taking their responsibilities towards consumers extremely seriously, there is little we can do proactively to prevent rogue services from operating over our networks, because it’s almost impossible to identify them until consumers begin to complain.

If the industry really wanted to properly protect consumers, they’d do what the Americans do. Ever tried launching a shortcode or a service in North America without Q&A? It’s just not possible. You have to get each of the major networks to perform a Q&A test of your service first before the shortcode gets anywhere near a consumer. (Verizon always seemed to take absolutely ages to do their tests with us).

I was having a chat with one of America’s leading mobile solutions providers — similar to WIN — about this issue the other week. He was telling me about the absolute total arse it is having to get licenses and regulator clearance for everything they and their clients are doing. I lamented this and told him how we did it here in the UK: “You just turn up, get your shortcode and you’re away. Takes 30 days for the shortcode to activate — after that, you can more or less do as you wish.” But then we both agreed the US way, although a bit annoying, meant that you had a degree of control and responsibility in the way new services came to market.

Just this morning a colleague of mine asked me to help him test a new service his company are shortly going to be offering. Their ‘mobile solutions provider’ doesn’t have a damn clue about it. And you know what? I’m willing to bet that they don’t care, either. Why bother! The service my colleague is now about to offer could be a total scam — thankfully, it isn’t. The mobile solutions provider is looking the other way. My colleague has signed the contracts and his shared keyword is up and running. Yes the solutoins provider will definitely pay attention with a smile when they get some complaints. But, you know, once you’ve got the revenue from 500,000 x 1.50 billing messages and are faced with having to refund £3.00, that’s not really an issue is it? 😉

So: My point is this. I’m calling out the mobile solutions providers such as WIN spouting this nonsense. Don’t go to press, hand wringing, telling us there’s ‘little we can do’ to prevent rogue services from operating. We all know this is total rubbish. You COULD do something about it, it’s just that you choose not to do so.

Don’t mess around with the hand wringing though.

If you want to stop rogue services from operating, you definitely can. You simply review each and every new service going live on your networks AND make each service provider submit its marketing materials to you for approval. You make damn sure not one SMS message is originated or received through your network unless you’ve pre-approved the use of it.

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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