Code of Conduct
Privacy Advisory Committee members Carat Interactive, Cingular Wireless, Procter & Gamble, PocketChoice, The Weather Channel, and VeriSign developed this Code of Conduct. It was ratified by the board of directors on November 3, 2003.
The Mobile Marketing Association Privacy Advisory Committee realizes the need for a Code of Conduct that is both universal in principle and industry specific in its application. Industries touched by this Code of Conduct are: content providers, carriers, technology providers, advertisers, and brands. This code is intended to provide guidelines by which companies market their products and services to consumers. It is not, however, intended to regulate a wireless carrier's ongoing proprietary communication with its current base of subscribers.
The Code of Conduct is divided into six categories: choice, control, customization, consideration, constraint and confidentiality.
Consumers must opt-in to all mobile messaging programs. Consumers may opt-in to a program by sending a text message, calling a voice response unit, registering on a website, or through some other legitimate paper-based method; they opt-in for a specific program only. Choice doesn't carry forward unless the consumer is part of a brand loyalty program whose opt-in registration clearly provides for on-going communications. Even then, the consumer's desire to participate must be validated at the beginning of a new messaging program. Segmentation-based marketing (by interests, demographics, etc.) and location-based marketing is prohibited unless the consumer clearly opted-in to receive the campaigns by giving personally identifiable information that is verifiable with their identity.
Consumers must also be allowed to easily terminate -- opt-out -- their participation in an ongoing mobile messaging program through channels identical to those through which they can opt-in to a given program. Programs with multiple message strings must provide an opt-out option for each message.
As mobile messaging campaigns are most effective when appropriately targeted, consumers could be asked to provide demographic, preferences and other information. All "follow on" communications targeted at an existing opt-in universe should be encouraged to use this data to optimize message volumes, redemption rates, and return-on-investment -- plus restrict communications to those categories specifically requested by the consumer.
The consumer must receive and/or be offered something of value to them in return for receiving the communication. Value may be delivered in the form of product and service enhancements, reminders, sweepstakes, contests, information, entertainment, discounts or location-based services.
The marketer, content provider, or aggregator must provide a global "throttling mechanism" capable of managing the number of messages received by an individual consumer. The purpose of the throttle is to effectively manage and limit mobile messaging programs to a reasonable number of programs, defaulted to a maximum of 2 new campaigns per week (One campaign may have one initial opted-in communication followed by several two-way communications initiated by the consumer as part of that one campaign; i.e. a trivia game). Consumers will have the option to override the throttle through an additional Opt-in available through the standard channels.
Effective Date of Current Policy: September 2nd, 2009