Monday, November 17, 2003

The next advertising frontier: cellphone messages

The marketers are ready to go where no ad pro has gone before: inside your cellphone. But you will do the dailing.

They're not supposed to call or send a fax to your home. E-mail may soon be off limits, too. So, spurned marketers are now training their sights on cellphones.

But they won't call you. They're betting you'll call them to participate in sweepstakes, get coupons or answer surveys. They've struck a deal with the nation's 12 largest providers of wireless phone service to set up a five-digit call-in system. Consumers dial a "short code" promoted by the company on its products and advertisements to get the company to send them back a text message that appears on their cellphone screens.

More than 150 companies applied to register short codes -- numbers from 20000 to 99999 -- in the first two weeks they were available. [...]

Consumer advocates fear that once a customer uses a code to snag a coupon, that cellphone number could go on a list and be sold to telemarketers, making the cellphone just another target for junk solicitations.

Read the article in The Boston globe


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