Scandal, Innovation and Social Responsibility – Just Another Day in Mobile

This has been one of those frantic days in the mobile marketing world with scandal (a major mobile operator selling its customers details and then shopping those concerned to the Information Commissioner when it found out); innovation, in the form of the mBlox-powered mobile ticketing solution being rolled out by bus company Arriva; and a bit of corporate social responsibility thrown in, in the shape of Orange’s People Projects initiative, the closest thing I’ve seen yet (though maybe I’m just not looking closely enough) to what I think of as ‘Twitter Local’. And yes, I know it’s on Facebook, but I’ve thought for some time that if someone could put a local filter on Twitter (beyond simply following people you live close to), there could be some real community potential. If someone’s already done it, I’d love to hear about it.
In addition to the scandal, the innovation and the social responsibility, there’s also been a bit of healthy debate today. This morning, I had a call from Mark Brill, chair of the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mobile Council, who had read our criticism of the research released by the DMA last week – we thought it was all a bit obvious – and rang to say that actually, there are brands out there who sift through customer data collected years back where they have opted in to, or at least not opted out of, receiving communications on their mobile phones, and then proceed to spam all and sundry, with the inevitable consequences.
Brill’s point were well made and perfectly reasonable, and he has promised to put together a Guest Column defending the research and the reasons for doing it in the next few days. We’ll be delighted to share the piece with you when we receive it.

David Murphy

According to the BBC, it’s T-Mobile that’s in the dock for selling customer data. A report on the BBC website says a spokesman for the firm has confirmed it to the corporation. Should add a bit of spice to the merger with Orange methinks…