Ethical dilemmas‎ > ‎

Mobile Spam and Mobile Coupons...

posted Oct 30, 2010, 2:57 PM by Adam Grifkin
IBM was in the news earlier this year (March, 2010) regarding Mobile Spam.

China Tech News Article

IBM was tapped by the Chinese to create an SMS spam solution to help mitigate the some 1 billion+ mobile users from producing and sending unsolicited messages across the network. China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile have signed an agreement to limit the number of SMS messages users can send:

Regular Days - 200 messages per hour and a 1,000 message cap per day
Holidays - 500 messages per hour and a 2,000 message cap per day

According to Li Shigong the Chief Technology Officer of IBM Greater China, the system will focus on analysis of the message transmission as opposed to filtering of the messages. This is a big distinction for IBM as they have come under scrutiny and criticism from the public regarding censorship.

More can be read here:
Coupled with the notion of Mobile Spam, last year 7-Eleven was examined for ethics questions surrounding its mobile coupon campaign.

In December of 2009, 7-Eleven launched a mobile coupon campaign for Free Drinks.

7-Eleven Free Drink Mobile Campaign

Unfortunately, says Evan Schuman of StoreFrontBackTalk, they forgot to ask for age. The point being, as more and more companies dive into the mobile marketing space, the more cautious companies have to be. Evan point's out that you have to treat every mobile customer as if they are a teenager lest you risk the wrath of parents and concerned community members for "marketing to a 14 year old".

This post brings up several good points that can be paralleled to the smoking campaigns through the 90's.  Mobile marketers have to be weary of the message they are sending out and to whom. The last thing an organization needs is bad press and panic from a failed mobile coupon.

More can be read here:

7-Eleven Coupon Backlash

Store Front Back Talk - 7-Eleven