TextMarks, an SMS/Text Message Service Provider, and their co-defendant, Heartland Automotive Services, the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee in America, have reached a proposed settlement with consumers for the text message spam they sent to mobile phones during the month of April 2011. The proposed settlement of $47M is purportedly the largest in the history of text message spam lawsuits.
in the proposed settlement it was disclosed that TextMarks allowed Jiffy Lube to spam over 2.3 million mobile phone numbers, which is the equivalent of every mobile phone in the states of Hawaii and Wyoming.
This type of SMS/Text Message SPAM is a violation of FCC regulations, CAN-SPAM and the telecom carrier guidelines and has unfortunately brought another black eye to a powerful marketing platform for business owners. Where Heartland Automotive and Textmarks went wrong was to send SMS/Text Messages to mobile phone number that had not “opted-in” to their mobile marketing campaigns.
“After the TextMarks short code is shut down, their website turned off, and all their customers gone, the only good thing that will be remembered about this company is the fact that they became the perfect example of how NOT to do SMS marketing.” – Tatango
So what counts as an opt-in for an SMS campaign? It’s very simple. A customer must text message a mobile keyword (in this case “JIFFY”) to a SMS shortcode, which is a 5-6 digit phone number. (i.e. Text JIFFY to 68398) This would be the only thing that would count as a true mobile advertising opt-in.
What doesn’t count?
- Business cards with a mobile phone number on them dropped in a fish bowl at the place of business.
- Taking a mobile phone number from a consumer when purchasing a product.
- A consumer leaving their mobile phone number with your business to have you when you are done with a service.
Also, having consumers give their mobile phone numbers on any type of form or customer information sheet, even if you disclose that you will be sending the, text messages in the future, is a little risky. The problem with this type of collection method is there is no safeguard in place for someone to give your business their phone number, and not someone else’s. If you are using this method to collect mobile phone numbers I strongly recommend you send a double opt-in message forcing recipients to confirm that they do indeed want to receive SMS/Text Messages from you.
As you can see by this settlement and many others, the FCC and mobile Carriers are very serious about the regulations that are put in place, 47 million reasons strong. eMail got away from us. Text Messaging will not.
Are you running, or looking into running, a SMS/Text Message Marketing campaign? Give us a call today to ensure you are running your campaign in accordance with FCC regulations, CAN-SPAM and the telecom carrier guidelines (520)908-7838