Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How not to do mobile marketing for fundraising

Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I've just read a press release about what should be, a neat little campaign to raise funds for a not for profit entity. It's a straightforward text to win campaign where you can win some 'money can't buy prizes' (although what these are exactly is a bit vague to say the least) and you get charged £1.50 which helps raise funds for the entity. In addition, you get sent a link to download some free games. The promotion is live and now out in the wild.

Well, I like to try this things out and see how well they work or not and found out the following...

1. I sent my text message in and got a reply quickly with a URL to download a free mobile game.

2. I clicked through to a wap page with no branding from the entity or who it was or where I was but nevertheless, downloaded a few games pretty easily. There was a good choice of games available and some links at the bottom of the page to the games company's main pages where I could search and buy other games. It even recognised my handset type!

3. BUT I don't know whether or not I was charged the £1.50 as there was no evidence of that on the text message (note, I didn't get a wap push message - just a SMS - I should have got both).

4. AND I don't know what, if anything, both the nfp entity and the games company are going to do with my mobile number in the future. Nor was there any provision for STOP to unsubscribe.

5. MOREOVER there are no terms and conditions... at all... anywhere. I scoured their website, I scoured the wapsite (which isn't theirs anyway, just a page of free games already (?) available if you know where to look on the mobile internet). I have no idea who the promoter is, how long the promotion is on for, exactly what the prizes are, what the criteria for winning are, how I know if I've won etc etc. It's all a balls up.

So, to give them the benefit of the doubt, I call up to see if they realise what they've done. They had no clue. They had no idea of their omissions or what the consequences might be. Their response was that the company supplying the technology said it was all ok and above board. Hmm. I do know of the supplier companies in question. And if that really is the case, then it seems they either don't know their onions. At all. Or can't be bothered to share what they do know about onions. Very very disappointing. And could get all of them into trouble. So shortsighted as well I'd say.

This ought be a great little promo being used to generate much needed funds and should be a bit of fun in the process. For the sake of a bit of time and effort and a bit of cash, they could have got it so right. I understand the limitations of no budget, but when you have a website which you can update yourself (they've put the press release on there), then how hard is it to put up some terms and conditions and details of the competition itself? And for a bit extra, I have no doubt at all, this could have been done on the wapsite too. And getting it right should be a reassurance factor for customers so they're more likely to spread the word about the campaign. As it stands, I expect teenagers will get hold of the URL for the free games and just pass that on to each other and completely bypass paying the £1.50 (that's if £1.50 was ever charged in the first place).

Anyway, I said I wouldn't dob them in, so I haven't mentioned the companies in question in the hope that they sort out what they need to do, and fast, as this campaign is now live and being actively promoted in their community. And I do hope they get some proper legal advice too re terms and conditions, PSMS compliance and what they *must* make available and how and to whom so they can fix the mistakes they've made.

Grrr. Mobile Marketers - pull up your socks! This is 2007 and NOT NEW any more. You really should know better. Surely we can get the basics right. No wonder the TV companies are in a pickle with SMS voting shenanigans if we can't even get a basic text to win right.