March 9th, 2005

Mobile Spam – Killing an Industry Before Its First Breath

A briefing with SMS.ac a few weeks ago initiated my interest in the concept of building mobile communities and/or ad networks. I created a profile to test it out. Before sending my first SMS or even joining my first group, I started receiving dating requests or SPAM.

They show up in my work email account. They arrive as SMS’s. (Can’t wait to see my cell phone bill).

This is an example of one to my email. Sayyaf, a 22-year-old male living in San Francisco sent this one to me. He sent me his photo along with an invitation to chat.

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Others arrived via SMS. One came from TonyBaloney01. (I guess this network is so big that there could be more than one TonyBaloney.) No picture, but I received the message “Tonybaloney01 wants 2B UR friend.”

They arrive at all times of the day and night.

The notion of a mobile community is a good one. I like the idea. I also like the idea of an ad network that mobile users opt in to. Allowing the users of the network to send unwanted spam seems like a good way to discourage any one from signing up for such a network – especially when they have to pay for the messages. I also do research around the online automotive industry. The number one reason that consumers do not request pricing online or register on sites is fear of spam. Spam could kill this industry before it even moves beyond the early adopter phase.

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