Mobile Marketers Win Important FCC Text Message Ruling

Based on an interview I held with Ad Week's Katy Bachman yesterday "companies can safely get back into text messaging marketing programs, now that the Federal Communications Commission has clarified a 90s-era communications law."

 

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) has been at the forefront of setting industry standards for messaging including the "U.S. Consumer Best Practices" and today, with the support of SoundBite and the MMA membership the industry secured a bit win.

 

For the past few years, messaging has been an area rife with conflict. Due to the ambiguity in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), marketers were unsure of the legality surrounding a one-time confirmatory text message (also referred to as a confirmatory stop message) in response to a consumer's request to opt-out of a text-messaging program.Base
As stated in the MMA's "U.S. Consumer Best Practices for Messaging", companies are required to send confirmatory stop messages. When we originally issued the messaging guidelines, we felt strongly that a confirmatory stop message was vital to preserving consumer preference and protecting the relationship between a brand and customer.

 
Prior to this ruling, marketers, including many of our members, endured the threat of litigation if they sent a confirmatory stop message or risked their text messaging programs being shutdown by carriers if they did not. The MMA stood its ground and took leadership action by appealing to the government and rallying a coalition of members to support the cause.

 
Earlier this year, SoundBite Communications filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission ("FCC") asking the FCC to declare that sending a one-time confirmatory text message in response to a consumer's request to opt-out of a text-messaging program does not violate the Telephone Consumer Protection Act ("TCPA").


Yesterday, the FCC officially issued a Declaratory Ruling favor of the MMA's position. The ruling on the petition states that a confirmatory stop message, a message that provides consumers certainty that their preferences are being successfully processed, does not violate the TCPA. The ruling even goes on to mention that the practice benefits consumers by ensuring their preferences and actions are processed.
This is a monumental win for the MMA, our members and the industry. By virtue of this ruling the MMA has unequivocally saved the industry billions of dollars from potential litigation, reinvigorated messaging as a viable marketing tool, as well as reaffirmed MMA's commitment to protecting the rights of consumers. This is a testament that when we lock arms as an industry and collaborate for the greater good, we can advance the mobile marketing movement.

To review the Declaratory Ruling in full: http://www.fcc.gov/document/declaratory-ruling-re-soundbite-tcpa-petition.

 

 

 

 

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