While the CAN-SPAM laws are a step in the right direction for reducing the spam problem, we don’t feel they go far enough. Our definition of spam goes beyond the laws in most countries and encompasses what we believe to be true permission SMS marketing.
Spam is any SMS you send to someone who hasn't given you their direct implied permission to contact them on the topic of the message.
But that’s not enough. Permission is a fuzzy word open to interpretation. Let’s get into some specific scenarios so it’s clear what does and doesn’t constitute permission.
What constitutes permission?
To send SMS to anyone using Burst SMS, you must have clearly or implicitly obtained their permission. This could be done through:
- An SMS subscribe form on your web site.
- An opt-in checkbox on a form. This checkbox must not be checked by default, the person completing the form must willingly select the checkbox to indicate they want to hear from you.
- If someone completes an offline form like a survey or enters a competition, you can only contact them if it was explained to them that you would be contacting them by SMS AND they ticked a box indicating they would like you to contact them.
- Customers who have purchased from you within the last 2 years.
- If someone gives you their business card and you have explicitly asked for permission to add them to your list, you can contact them. If they dropped their business card in a fishbowl at a trade show, there must be a sign indicating they will be contacted by SMS about that specific topic.
Basically, you can only ever SMS anyone who has clearly given you permission to SMS them specifically about the subject you’re contacting them about.
What DOES NOT constitute permission?
Anything outside the examples above doesn’t equal permission in our eyes, but here are some examples to make sure we’re crystal clear. By using Burst SMS, you agree not to import or send to any mobile number which:
- You do not have explicit, provable permission to contact in relation to the topic of the SMS you’re sending.
- You bought, loaned, rented or in any way acquired from a third party, no matter what they claim about quality or permission. You need to obtain permission yourself.
- You haven’t contacted via SMS in the last 2 years. Permission doesn’t age well and these people have either changed mobile numbers or won’t remember giving their permission in the first place.
- You scraped or copy and pasted from the web. Just because people publish their mobile numbers doesn’t mean they want to hear from you.
Sure, some of these people might have given you their mobile numbers, but what’s missing is your permission to SMS them commercial messages. Blasting promotional SMS messages to any of these people won’t be effective and will more than likely see your SMS seen as spam by many of your recipients.
What MUST I include in my SMS?
Every SMS you send using Burst SMS must include the following:
- An opt-out mechanism that instantly removes the subscriber from your list. Once they unsubscribe, you can never SMS them again.
- The name or number of the sender. If you’re sending an SMS for your client, you’ll need to include your client’s details instead.
Burst SMS has numerous layers of approval and monitoring to ensure you comply with our anti-spam policy. Here’s a few of them:
- Until your account has been approved by a member of our team, every SMS you send will need to be approved.
- Our software is directly integrated into the spam reporting systems for the biggest global telco's. If you don’t have permission and someone marks your campaign as spam, we’ll know about it the moment that button is pressed. If you receive a complaint rate greater than the average you will receive a warning email requesting an explanation and giving you advice. Higher levels of complaints may result in accounts being locked or terminated, and your details reported to the authorities.
- Our team verifies all large lists imported into our software. Until we’ve given it the all clear, you can’t send to it.
- We monitor blacklists and our abuse accounts all day every day. We can pinpoint who is causing us delivery problems or attracting complaints very easily.
If we do discover that you’re SMS messaging people without their permission, we will terminate your account with Burst SMS immediately.
In the end, it’s really common sense. Take off your marketing hat and put yourself in your recipient’s shoes. If they don’t recognise who you are or aren’t interested in what you’re sending, they’ll think you’re a spammer. It’s that simple.
If you have any questions about our Anti-Spam Policy, or if you want to report spamming activity by one of our customers, please contact us.