Free Speech in Mobile Marketing


My recent post here about the walled gardens of mobile carriers and seeing Jared Reitzan’s segment “Boiling Point” in his video series about mobile marketing has got me thinking about the place of free speech and capitalism in mobile marketing. Specifically, I’m thinking about these fundamental freedom concepts as they relate to carrier control over what is sent out on their networks.

As Jared frankly points out in his video, carriers have complete control over all aspects of text message campaigns. They get to approve or disapprove campaigns before they are able to go online. They can shut down campaigns without notice for any reason whatsoever. While I think we all agree that no one benefits if we let mobile messaging SPAM run wild we also need to consider the implications of carriers being allowed to approve or disapprove a campaign based on the content of a campaign.

My take on it is that if a text message campaign follows all the industry best practice guidelines (especially opt in and opt out procedures) and is legal according to all applicable laws it should be allowed. Period. Cell phone carriers should not get to decide anything about whether or not the campaign has merit or is acceptable to their customers. Last fall’s fiasco between Verizon and NARAL should serve as an example of what should not happen again.

What do you think about the carrier approval process of text message campaigns?
Does it take too long?
Is it a necessary evil to prevent out of control SPAM?
Should the carriers have the ultimate control since it is their infrastructure?