November 9, 2011
Partner Gonzalo E. Mon was quoted in the PaidContent article, "Marketing Misfires Trigger More ‘Text Spam' Lawsuits." The article discusses several recent lawsuits accusing companies of "text spamming," including one federal class action suit filed last week in Oakland, a California in which a man accused a PR firm of sending an unsolicited quit smoking message to his cell phone. He said the firm, PHD, broke the Telemarketing and the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and should be penalized at least $5 million. These suits, which are both embarrassing and expensive for companies, fall into two categories of "text spamming" - rogue companies purchasing lists of cell phone numbers from third parties and respectable companies blundering in their marketing campaigns by failing to respect the terms of the TCPA.
"There is confusion because a lot of marketers are accustomed to the rules for email solicitation where you only have to provide customers with an opportunity to opt-out," said Mr. Mon. He added that the confusion arises in part because the TCPA was passed in 1991-at least a year before the first text message was ever sent. According to Mr. Mon, the Mobile Marketing Association sets out guidelines that explain when a "single opt-in" is acceptable and others where a double opt-in is required. "As a general rule, if companies comply with MMA guidelines, they'll be complying with the law," he said.