CAMPAIGN-I: Mobile operators join anti-spamming group

The mobile phone operator Orange is joining a collective of wireless marketing companies that aims to prevent companies from 'spamming' - or sending irrelevant and unwanted e-marketing messages - using mobile phones and other wireless devices through SMS and WAP technology. Vodafone is also understood to be on the verge of joining the group.

The mobile phone operator Orange is joining a collective of wireless marketing companies that aims to prevent companies from 'spamming' - or sending irrelevant and unwanted e-marketing messages - using mobile phones and other wireless devices through SMS and WAP technology. Vodafone is also understood to be on the verge of joining the group.

The Wireless Marketing Association (WMA) has been set up by the mobile marketing companies Mediatude, Flytxt, Wireless Commerce Ltd and Saverfone to protect consumers.

It is also in discussions with other major mobile operators about joining the scheme.

Similarly, the European mobile marketing company 12snap.com, which is already operating in Germany and Italy and plans to launch in the UK in December, is also planning to establish a European presence for the body.

Anne De Kerckhove, the managing director of 12Snap, said: 'We think it is absolutely critical that an institution such as this be set up to protect consumers and preserve their relationships with their mobile phones.'

The formation of the WMA is a reaction to industry fears that consumers may be bombarded with marketing messages via SMS or WAP on their mobile phones. Observers are worried that the technology may be over-used, therefore annoying rather than helping consumers and reducing the effectiveness of the platform as a customer acquisition tool.

Andrew Hughes, a co-founder of the WMA and the vice-president of business development at Saverfone, said: 'We want to instigate a common code of practice for the industry to adhere to. We wish to tackle the problem of spam as well as address issues of security, privacy and content.'

Ben Hirsch, the manager of strategic relations at Orange, said: 'We want to ensure a consistency in approach. Is it going to provide a service to the user? If not, then it shouldn't be used - it has to be worthwhile.'

Members of the scheme are drawing up a code of practice that is expected to be unveiled in January.



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