Time for ethics in Pakistan’s SMS marketing: PEW

90% of messages received on a mobile device are useless at best, and generally trigger annoyance, says PEW.

Ppi September 04, 2011

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday underlined the need for introducing ethics for wireless marketing.

Mobile marketing is a powerful marketing tool which promises vast opportunities as it help individuals and companies to establish direct communication with millions of customers through digital phones anytime, anywhere, it said.

Short Message Services (SMS), an instant communication medium, is now a phenomenon that has grown and spread at an amazing speed, said Dr Murtaza Mughal, President Pakistan Economy Watch. However, lack of research has helped marketing through (SMS) emerge as a problem for common people in Pakistan, he added.

Authorities seem interested in claiming credit for SMS growth without seriously analysing its impact on society, said Dr Mughal.

The government should do something about mounting complaints of harassment, abuse, threats, obscene language, and security breaches of owners of the cell phones, he demanded.

He said that customer satisfaction is something ignored by all stakeholders which is casting doubts on brands’ claims of care and social responsibility.

SMS is used in a very constructive way in developed countries while here it has become a hassle as a majority of citizens receive dozens of messages they are not interested in, he said.

SMS packages on very low rates are helping some operators generate funds but annoying many as everyone can send hundreds of messages to anyone. Such packages have encouraged many to send useless messages to unknown numbers for publicity, advertisement, cheating, providing false information and seeking objectionable relations.

Dr Murtaza said that the majority of messages received on a device are useless at best, and generally trigger annoyance.

According to a study, Pakistanis are now sending over 20 billion messages per year, he said, adding that it is safe to assume that over 90% have no positive outcome.

It is the responsibility of the government to make this service useful for all subscribers, said Dr Mughal adding that websites offering free text services should be blocked due to their massive misuse.

Just recently, in a step to curb unsolicited SMS messages, the PTA called on users to register complaints of problematic SMS’ via text messaging.


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