Thursday, 5 October 2017

That YES SMS Kerfuffle

Did you get a text message from the YES to Marriage Equality campaign?

YES, me too. So how did they get our numbers?

The campaign director said they used a random telephone number generator, which raised a few sceptical eyebrows.

Yes these random mobile generators exist and they are usually in the form of an Excel plugin or program.

The issue with doing it this way is, yes it's cheap to generate the numbers, but it would generate millions of wrong numbers.

And even if they used what's called 'grey routes' for sending the text messages out (cheap SMS servers based overseas that are not plugged directly into Aussie telcos and can arrive at 3am!), it would still be a very expensive exercise and they would be charged for the dud numbers.

However, it is certainly doable and they may have got the SMS at a really cheap rate.

The other option for the Yes Campaign: buying a list of mobile numbers, which is not cheap, and then pay to broadcast to these numbers.

But are they allowed to do this? Isn't it spamming?

No it is not. Under the Spam Act, political and informational electronic messages are allowed.

Thankfully we don't get these SMS messages very often because they are expensive compared with email, and cheap (but usually more effective) when compared with snail mail.

It certainly highlights the power of engaging people via mobile messaging. We are likely to ignore an email, but a beep beep SMS? No way...we'll read that for sure.

For good or bad, SMS leaves mail and email in its wake!