Monday, 4 July 2016

SMS from political parties - is it spam?

You may have received a text message from a political party over the last week, thanks to the Australian elections.

I certainly got one, and it was using a word Sender ID and it did not contain a way for me to opt-out (reply STOP etc).

...and this brings me to the point of this post...how can political parties just send spam and not get into trouble with the Spam Act?

Simple answer is, they can. Under the Spam Act 2003, political parties, charities and religious orgranisations do not need consent to send emails or SMS ("electronic communication" under the Act).

You and me, as commercial businesses and organisations need to get consent before sending an SMS and provide a simple way for people to optout.

It's not very often that a charity or church will send unsolicited SMS. Firstly, it costs them money to send text messages to strangers, and secondly, it annoys people and is usually a waste of time and money. For these reasons, they tend to only contact their current members, and try to gather a bigger database of opt-in members the right way by getting people to subscribe via another channel such as a website or form.

For politicians? Well thankfully the "spams" only happen every few years..and whether they work or not would indeed be an interesting study!

...and I also got this weird "robo call" from some odd-looking number (sender ID) asking me to "hold while we connect you into Greg Hunt's live speech".

After a few seconds I was then hooked into some speech by the Liberal MP....it seemed like he was halfway through it and I had no idea what he was talking about...so I hung up.

I was embarrassed for them at how clunky and amateur the whole thing was.

Message to political parties' promotions people....unless people have given you consent, just don't. It doesn't endear you to anybody and it makes you look ridiculous and desperate!


If you need more info on how to give your customers an easy way to opt-out of receiving SMS, your SMS Express cloud account has 2 ways: See this article in our Help Centre