PROTECTING WIRELESS FROM SPAM

By: George Garneau

Wireless Advertising Association Takes Precautionary Measures





(Mediaweek) Concerned that electronic junk mail will poison the wireless medium for advertising, the Wireless Advertising Association Wednesday issued guidelines for wireless ads.



In the first of a series of voluntary self-policing rules, the association of 225 member companies opposes sending ads without the explicit permission of subscribers and clear identification of the sender.



Abuse of wireless advertising “has the potential to cause irreparable harm, expense to the customer, and undermine the value of an important communication line between customers and advertisers,” said association chairman Tim DePriest. “Spam is something consumers hate, and we don’t think it will contribute anything to the growth of the industry.”



The guidelines define spam as anything marketers or advertisers send to wireless subscribers that has not been requested. User permission must be verified through “confirmed opt-in,” a procedure for e-mail acceptance that the association considers the “highest level” – and expects to become the “baseline” – for wireless subscriber permission. And permission not be transferred without subscriber approval, according to the guidelines.



Senders must make available clear instructions on how to unsubscribe and must honor opt-out requests.



The guidelines were presented at a meeting in San Francisco Wednesday. “There was absolutely no dissent on the spam issue,” DePriest said, even though government regulations vary among the association’s global membership. DePriest, who works for AdForce of Cupertino, Calif., said he expects further guidelines on measurement and user privacy to be ready starting in mid-October.



The Wireless Advertising Association (wireless@iab.net) is a unit of the Internet Advertising Bureau.





George Garneau is news editor at Mediaweek.com.





Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher.

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