Update to mobile phone code is good news for Australian SMS marketing

Topic: Guides, Industry News, Marketing

ACMA (The Australian Communications and Media Authority) has made moves looking to tighten up on rules surrounding premium SMS messages.The regulator is looking for consumer feedback on a draft code of practice based around the area of mobile premium services.Currently, premium SMS providers using text message software are regulated under a code developed in 2009, launched following an escalation of consumer complaints over intrusive SMS messaging. The existing code is well policed – premium mobile service providers can find themselves up in the Federal Court and fined up to $250,000 for repeated breaches of the code.“The current code has contributed to a 90 per cent reduction in consumer complaints about mobile premium service expenditure over the past three years,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.“Public consultation on the draft replacement code is vital to ensuring that consumers are able to have their say, and that the code responds to current concerns.”ACMA plan to closely consider whether or not the new code provides consumers with necessary safeguards before submitting it for review. Areas it will look at closely will include effective tools for monitoring and controlling expenditure on these premium SMS services.Tight industry regulation of SMS sign-ups and marketing practices should be welcomed as a whole by the mobile marketing industry. SMS is a really powerful tool, but with this power comes responsibilty; to customers, the marketing industry and the channel. If customers get oversaturated with intrusive messages we all lose in the end.Research from ComScore and InMobi published at the beginning of 2011 found that Australians are among the most comfortable in receiving mobile advertising of anywhere in the world. Based on the response of 22,000 men and women from 14 countries, the research shows that 75% of Aussies were “somewhat comfortable” about receiving mobile advertising and 48% were “very comfortable”.More and more SMS messages are being sent in Australia. In 2010 alone there was a 300% increase in overall SMS/MMS message volumes across the country. Stats from McCrindle Research commissioned by Telstra revealed earlier this year that the average Australian senior sends at least one text message every day.