Legal Issues in Mobile Marketing


Just like email marketing has the can-spam act and telemarketers have very strict rules to follow, mobile marketing has its own set of legal hassles you have to worry about.

Contrary to popular belief, the can-spam act actually applies to both email marketing and text marketing. It is illegal to purchase lists of mobile phone numbers and start sending out text messages without permission.

So not only is unsolicited text messaging a way to upset the public, it’s also a recipe for huge fines!

You must get people to opt-in to your mobile marketing list, and you must offer them a way to opt out. You must get “express prior authorization” before you send a commercial message to a device, and you must have a clear and easy way for them to get off your list.

The “express prior authorization” can be orally or in writing, but you can’t tell people “you will receive these messages unless you tell me to stop sending them”. They must specifically opt in.
One way to get people to opt in is by getting them to send a text message. Once they have sent a text message to you or your system, you are legally free to respond. But you must still be careful!

If someone sends you a text message that says:

“I want more information about your shoe locator service.”

You cannot legally start sending them messages about gardening supplies and golf clubs. You can only send them messages related to their original request. You can get around this by adding a message to your marketing letting people know you may send them additional related messages if they don’t opt out.

Marketing to Children

The U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Act protects the privacy of children, and it applies to anyone who runs any type of web service, including websites and text messages.

The laws regarding marketing to children are complex, but you must ensure you obtain “verifiable parental consent”, let parents or guardians know they can view their child’s personal information, and make sure you have security in place to guard their contact information.

If your company sells anything that would be considered “adult material”, you should have some sort of age verification. This includes any kind of erotica, adult toys, dating, gambling, cigarettes, alcohol, violent video games, and other material that should not be provided to children.

Privacy Issues

U.S. privacy laws are convoluted and difficult to understand, but there are a few things you can do to improve your privacy policy. Be sure people can choose how their information is shared, explain who has access to their data, and tell them how you will enforce your policies.

A privacy policy is very important, so it’s a good idea to get a lawyer to write your privacy policy. This will help ensure you’re within the law, giving you protection if someone ever initiates a lawsuit claiming you violated their privacy.

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