Campaign mobile update: from bad to worse to what the heck?

A couple days ago I had some comments on Obama, Clinton and Edwards and their respective mobile marketing activities. Turns out I was wrong about a couple facts, but finding that out has now opened the door to some new questions and concerns.

Here’s where we currently stand:

Obama: I signed up for mobile alerts and have still received nothing. No campaign updates, no political insights, no event info, no polls, no community advocacy promotions, no nothing. I don’t expect much, but so far they’re undershooting a very low bar. Come on guys, it’s the high jump, not a limbo competition.

Clinton: Like Obama, only worse. When I signed up for Clinton’s mobile service I didn’t even get the double-opt-in sequence, which by the way, is a requirement of the Mobile Marketing Association. Mobile carriers don’t tolerate spam of any sort, and as such very clear guidelines have been put in place to assure that a subscriber only gets what he or she signed up for. So when you register for something like a mobile alert program, there’s an opt-in sequence and if you don’t complete it you are not added. Failure to obey these rules will get you cut off, immediately and unceremoniously, by the carriers. (Not that I think any US mobile provider is quite dumb enough to 86 a major presidential candidate, but still.) Obviously I have gotten no mobile content from this campaign.

Edwards: The worst case of all, and since I like him, the most troubling. Like Obama, no content. Like Clinton, no opt-in sequence. However, I did get an e-mail today from the campaign explaining why Elizabeth Edwards kneecapped Ann Coulter the other day (must-see TV, by the way). The problem? I didn’t sign up for e-mail alerts. Not on the site when trying to get mobile alerts and not anywhere else, either. I have no idea what happened here – is there a system malfunction that translates mobile sign-up as e-mail sign-up? Does the campaign assume that if I want one I want the other? Are they playing by Internet rules (find a name and pound it until it dies)? I really don’t know, and if I were pulling against Edwards I’d be somewhere between “don’t really care” and “feckin’ ecstatic.”

But I do care, and if what I’m experiencing is systematic then Edwards is rewarding people who opt-in by spamming them through another channel (and not providing the promised content). This is several kinds of wrong.

I have a line into the Edwards campaign and hopefully can point them to what I hope is a simple mix-up. The other two – well, they need to figure out what they’re doing before they start shooting themselves in foot…

4 replies »

  1. Sam,

    Looks like you and I have both been critical of the Mobile Marketing aspects of the presidential campaigns. Here are a few links. I haven’t even gotten to the Edwards camp yet.

    Where you seem to be a bit off base is on the double-opt in. I blasted Obama for adding the double-opt in because he was losing subscribers. You on the other hand are blasting the other candidates for not having it.

    Double-opt in is not required on a non-premium campaign as long as the call to action is clear that they will be put on a list. Only if you are charging a premium fee for the text message do you have to double-opt in and explicitly agree.

    The Obama team actually made quite a few changes after we posted and forwarded them the link.

    The main problem is that they are not seeking advice from experts in mobile marketing, and are treating this medium just like email. It is not.

    I have no problem that I have not received an SMS from Obama. I look forward to the first message to see if it is relevant, targeted, and timely. Clinton has already failed that one.

    Keep it up. I enjoy reading.

  2. Greg,

    The double opt-in is actually sort of a yes/no. Double opt-in for non-premium (standard rate) subscription programs is required only by T-Mobile. My firm likes to err on the side of caution, and it’s just a lot easier to have a uniform treatment of all carriers. So we simply have everyone double opt-in.

    Now, maybe these campaigns are doing it with different rules for different carriers, although I seriously doubt it. Especially since one of them didn’t ask who my carrier was.

    Bottom line, though, is that you’re absolutely right – somebody isn’t talking to the experts. Or more accurately, NOBODY is talking to the experts.

    Thanks for the linkage. I’ll investigate. And stay tuned here and over at Black Dog – I suspect this isn’t the last I’ll have to say on the subject.

  3. DAMMIT!

    First Edwards takes my registration for MOBILE as an invitation to SPAM me via e-mail (it happened again today). Now Clinton is doing it, too.