Text Message Question

8 replies
I was looking at a mobile wedding website and they are in the UK but they offer a text message delivery service where they are able to send out a text message on behalf of a wedding couple but it appears to come from the wedding couple rather than the person who actually sent it.

They are charging a fee for up to 500 guests.

Do you know what service they are using to do that??

SMS Delivery Service | Mobile Wedding Invitation
#message #question #text
  • Profile picture of the author HypeText
    Originally Posted by BrandyM View Post

    I was looking at a mobile wedding website and they are in the UK but they offer a text message delivery service where they are able to send out a text message on behalf of a wedding couple but it appears to come from the wedding couple rather than the person who actually sent it.

    They are charging a fee for up to 500 guests.

    Do you know what service they are using to do that??

    SMS Delivery Service | Mobile Wedding Invitation
    Brandy,

    I notice you are in Texas so I figured I should point out that they are spoofing the cell number.

    While that may be legal in the UK it most definitely is not for any sort of marketing purposes here in the US...you could end up in hot water to the tune of a $500 fine per Text Message.
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  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    And those are just the regulatory fines. Each victim can sue you individually and gang up on you as a class. Of course the nice people on your guest lists might not ever think of doing that, but their lawyers will.

    You can do this in a compliant fashion with a good SMS platform using "Bride&GroomNames" as the account name.
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    • Profile picture of the author BrandyM
      Originally Posted by beeswarn View Post

      And those are just the regulatory fines. Each victim can sue you individually and gang up on you as a class. Of course the nice people on your guest lists might not ever think of doing that, but their lawyers will.

      You can do this in a compliant fashion with a good SMS platform using "Bride&GroomNames" as the account name.
      Very interesting. I thought something didn't sound right about that but of course they are not based in the US.

      Beeswarm - Is it still legal to set it up and import their list of phone numbers into a text platform and send out text even though they didn't opt-in? I'm under the impression that for it to be legal the person who own's that cell phone number has to opt-in to receive text from the Bride and Groom. So my thinking is to setup a text account in the Bride and Groom's name and then have them let everyone know who wants to receive updates from them via text to join their list and only then would they receive the link to the mobile wedding website?
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      • Profile picture of the author HypeText
        Originally Posted by BrandyM View Post

        Very interesting. I thought something didn't sound right about that but of course they are not based in the US.

        Beeswarm - Is it still legal to set it up and import their list of phone numbers into a text platform and send out text even though they didn't opt-in? I'm under the impression that for it to be legal the person who own's that cell phone number has to opt-in to receive text from the Bride and Groom. So my thinking is to setup a text account in the Bride and Groom's name and then have them let everyone know who wants to receive updates from them via text to join their list and only then would they receive the link to the mobile wedding website?
        I'm not BeeSwarm, but I will answer it anyway...

        If the Platform supports a mass upload of contacts...to be compliant it should send an Opt In message to the subscribers asking them to confirm their Subscription. Once thats done you are then free to push messages and/or offers out to the list.
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      • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
        Originally Posted by BrandyM View Post

        Beeswarm - Is it still legal to set it up and import their list of phone numbers into a text platform and send out text even though they didn't opt-in?
        No, nor has it ever been (for commercial SMS messages.)

        Originally Posted by BrandyM View Post

        I'm under the impression that for it to be legal the person who own's that cell phone number has to opt-in to receive text from the Bride and Groom.
        Yes, this proposition would be compliant with U.S. carrier rules.

        Originally Posted by WillR View Post

        I'm not so sure the law would be as cut and dry in this instance. The people (married couple) who are asking for the texts to be sent are in fact known by the receivers and the mobile numbers have been given to them by the guests -- I would say that is permission right there.
        Hi Will. You're a nice guy and I enjoy much of the advice on mobile marketing you lend people here. But you're way off base in this analysis.

        The carrier regulations for commercial SMS messages in the U.S. don't recognize anything like implicit permission. They've made the rules clear, the penalties severe and the enforcement is done without pity. The environment in Australia may be different, but it would be reckless to take a risk like that here, and I would never allow it on my service.

        Friends, relatives and friends of friends and relatives brutalize each other in the court system every single day. The regulators don't ask if you know, like or are well-regarded by the people you send commercial SMS messages too. They make you prove they opted to receive them.

        You could make an argument that the bride and groom here aren't planning to send commercial messages. That would be a good argument, but are they going to indemnify me against damages in case they change their minds? Not likely.

        When we talk about "opting in" we refer to a mechanical and digital process that creates documentable steps for compliance and record retention. For example, a mobile phone user is invited to create a new text message, address it to a short code telephone number and send a pre-defined keyword to that number. When this keyword is received, it activates database software which adds the user's mobile phone number to a defined database and sends a compliant confirmation message back to the user with clear instructions on how to opt-out. This creates the time, date and process documentation we need and creates a source record for us. No other practical method of entering the database is 100% compliant.

        In the wedding party model, sending out invitations and facebook notices with content like this "Hey guests, text 'BradNJenny' to 12345 for our wedding trip updates," would be compliant. "Hey friends, the Grey Heron Hotel is the official hotel for our wedding guests. Call them for 20% off your stay," is a de facto commercial message and people do this kind of thing all the time. And it is why no one is importing a CSV file of wedding guest phone numbers into my platform.

        I've gone far afield from the original wedding guest model to explain these things. I did so only because so many people read these threads and try to extrapolate hearsay into a business model.

        After all of this, I'm just an agency reseller. I think HypeText is an aggregator and has more perfect working knowledge of all the rules. We still both have to follow the carrier regulations underlying this guide http://www.mmaglobal.com/policies/co...best-practices
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        • Profile picture of the author WillR
          Originally Posted by beeswarn View Post

          You could make an argument that the bride and groom here aren't planning to send commercial messages. That would be a good argument, but are they going to indemnify me against damages in case they change their minds? Not likely.
          I understand your point however that's what I am referring to. A bride and groom are not going to start sending commercial messages to the list. If they do, they deserve whatever they get but let's get serious, who is going to do that?

          If they are only using those mobile numbers (given to them by the people who own those numbers) for personal contact purposes then I would still find it very hard to believe any legal action could be taken against them.

          That's like saying I could be fined if I used some service to send a group email about a party I was having to all of my friends email addresses at once?

          Seriously? I don't think so...
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    I'm not so sure the law would be as cut and dry in this instance. The people (married couple) who are asking for the texts to be sent are in fact known by the receivers and the mobile numbers have been given to them by the guests -- I would say that is permission right there.

    I think you would be very hard pressed to prosecute them in a situation like this. Not that any of the guests would ever make a fuss about it anyway.
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  • Profile picture of the author beeswarn
    Will, I'm sorry. While you were posting I was editing (above) to give an example of the kind of commercial messages people send when they think they're sending personal messages.

    You wrote: A bride and groom are not going to start sending commercial messages to the list. If they do, they deserve whatever they get but let's get serious, who is going to do that?

    People do this every day. Wedding vendors love it and induce brides and mothers of brides to do it as often as possible. Big weddings with narcissistic brides are easy money for SMS resellers like me. It's only a few cents per message but, when they follow our compliant opt-in process electronically, they can send almost any message they wish to and they can't expose me to unmanageable risk.

    Carrier regs declare that "anyone involved" in sending unsolicited commercial text messages is liable for abuse, either by act or omission. This means that even I, the agency, when I'm minding my own business elsewhere, am responsible for ensuring a process is in place so that "Hey Groomsmen, John's Tuxedo Rental will give us 25% off our tux rentals if we all call by Friday" doesn't go to someone unless he's opted to receive that commercial message.

    I didn't make that up either. A groom sent exactly that message (except for the vendor name that I changed here) via my platform on Sunday.
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