Hari's Corner

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More on mobile spam and nuisance calls

Filed under: Software and Technology by Hari
Posted on Tue, Feb 13, 2007 at 20:05 IST (last updated: Wed, Oct 29, 2008 @ 22:29 IST)

I know I've talked about the menace of SMS spam before. But it's more annoying when this problem crops up when you're in the middle of a car drive. And it just hit me that this problem has grown to the point where I'm seriously considering giving up my connection and opting for a different service provider. I'm even willing to put up with the inconvenience of informing all my friends and acquaintances about the change of number.

To me the whole concept of mobile marketing just stinks. If people get mad when they get junk mail on their free e-mail provider, it's only logical that they should be even more so when they get spam messages on a mobile phone connection they've paid for. It's hard to believe how the mobile operators and random marketing agencies think they can get away with sending ridiculous amounts of spam day in and day out and actually benefit by it.

For those who're not aware of the problem, here's a little round up of how this whole issue has developed over a period of time.
  1. Started off by getting ridiculous "spam" from my cell phone operator's own "customer service" number about downloading ring tones.
  2. The same started happening for this ridiculous concept called "caller tunes." (here's a hint to mobile phone operators: if I need caller tunes or ring tones junk, I'll ask for it! Filling my limited mobile phone memory with rubbish that I have to clean out is a pathetic marketing strategy.)
  3. Then third parties who have absolutely no business knowing my number started filling my SMS space with no-brainer "contests."
  4. Probably what I thought was the last straw - phone calls from the cell phone provider's marketing department with recorded messages. Advertising all kinds of "add-on" services.
  5. And today, on my father's mobile phone, while we were driving, we got a recorded message from a third party marketing agent who has no business knowing my number.
But above everything else, what really bugs me about this spam is that mobile phone operators want individual customers to come forward and opt-out. That's a ridiculous suggestion. Customers shouldn't *have* to do this to be rid of this disturbance in the first place. SMS spam and nuisance calls are not legitimate services provided by the operators. They add no value to the service and serve only to irritate and disturb people who might be busy with important work. It's one thing to enhance a service by offering add-on packages. It's much less annoying when they send these advertising and promotional offers along with the monthly bill. So there's no lack of opportunity there.

I don't know where this is going to end, but I forsee consumer interest litigations in the near future from people who're being hassled in this fashion. SMS spam, nuisance as it is, is nowhere nearly as annoying as these crappy recorded messages. I cannot describe the degree of annoyance when you receive a call from an unknown number only to find that it's a dumb recorded voice speaking in an artificially crafted accent. Sure, it's not happening too frequently at the moment, but every time it does, it becomes ten times more annoying than the last time.

Just take a lesson from hotmail... when the level of signal-to-noise ratio goes beyond a certain limit, the bubble bursts. And where are they now?

4 comment(s)

  1. i dont know whether you are aware of this hari..you can log onto your Mobile service provider's site and go to DO NOT DISTURB column and make your number into DO NOT DISTURB MODE!You will stop getting marketing messages or calls..But still, i dont think you can escape from Third party agents... Even if you change your number!

    Comment by LogeshTamilSelvan (visitor) on Tue, Feb 13, 2007 @ 21:13 IST #
  2. Exactly Logesh. We shouldn't have to do this. Think of how many mobile users would be without computer access in our country today.

    Comment by hari (blog owner) on Tue, Feb 13, 2007 @ 21:21 IST #
  3. Yes... the PIL should cause the death-bell to ring out loud and clear to these stuff. Which reminds me... pretty soon some phone company will launch itself with the tagline: no unsolicited messages! :D

    Comment by Sudipta Chatterjee (visitor) on Wed, Feb 14, 2007 @ 07:54 IST #

  4. Comment by hari (blog owner) on Wed, Feb 14, 2007 @ 08:12 IST #

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