Mobile Marketers Take Preemptive Spam Measures

NEW YORK The Mobile Marketing Association on Tuesday issued a code of conduct designed to prevent an outbreak of spam, or unwanted commercial messages, on wireless devices.

The MMA is a trade organization that represents advertisers and agencies, among others, such as Carat Interactive, Cingular Wireless and Procter & Gamble that engage in advertising or marketing on mobile devices.

The code of conduct, drafted by the MMA’s Privacy Advisory Committee, touches several industries, including content providers, carriers, technology providers and advertisers.

One of the guidelines suggests that consumers must opt in to all mobile messaging programs. They can do this by sending a text messages, calling a voice response unit, registering on a Web site or through some other legitimate paper-based method.

Consumers must also be able to easily terminate or opt out of participation in an ongoing mobile messaging program through channels identical to those through which they registered for the program.

Another principle states that consumers must receive and/or be offered something of value, such as product or service enhancements, reminders, sweepstakes, contests, information, entertainment, discounts or location-based services, in return for receiving the communication.

The complete code of conduct is available at

Last year, the MMA issued guidelines on location-based targeting, or the practice of using geographical-sensitive technology to beam messages to consumers based on their location [IQ Daily Briefing, March 19, 2002]. As a part of the initiative, the MMA recommended that its members not merge personally identifiable information with mobile subscribers’ location information without their consent.