MMA Releases Update to Mobile Marketing Best Practices

May 24, 2011

The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), a mobile industry trade group representing over 750 companies, recently released its latest update (version 6.1) of its “U.S. Consumer Best Practices Guidelines,” which provides a compilation of mobile industry best practices, policies and regulatory guidance in connection with marketing matters using mobile technology.  The document  focuses on consumer protection and privacy to ensure that mobile users have a good user experience on the theory that what is good for the consumer is good for the industry. 

While at first glance the document may appear to be technical in nature, it actually breaks down recommended practices and wireless carrier policies in a methodical and straightforward manner that makes the Guidelines quite useful as a reference point in preparing or fine tuning marketing programs and related legal terms and conditions.

PDF of Guidelines:  MMA Consumer Best Practices (Version 6.1)

Social Media Marketing Legal Issues

February 1, 2011

The Winter 2011 issue of my firm’s law and business publication, Trust the Leaders, focuses on Social Media and the Law.  That issue includes an article by me on social media marketing concerns, “Social Media Marketing:  The 411 on Legal Risk and Liability,” in which contractual concerns, compliance obligations and publisher’s liability issues, among other matters, are discussed. 

Also included are articles by a few of my colleagues on other legal-related social media topics, including intellectual property and workplace issues.

The full issue is available here:  Trust the Leaders Winter 2011 or at

Twitter’s Challenge of Capitalizing on 160 Million Users

October 19, 2010

As is proven over and over again in the arena of early stage companies, just because such a company has developed a nifty piece of technology does not mean that the world will actually beat a path to its doorstep — at least not with money in tow.  It takes lots of hard work, skillful execution on a good business plan, and a fair amount of trial and error (and some luck) to bring that reality to bear.  So, it’s interesting to see the recent attention being devoted to the diligent efforts of the microblogging phenom Twitter as it finally seeks to define a viable revenue model for itself, much of which hinges, not unsurprisingly, on various forms of advertising. 

There are many lessons here about which any growth stage company can take heart.  In particular, I found the following observations, from a piece in last week’s NY Times, to be especially candid and revealing about the challenges faced by Twitter in its quest for an as-yet elusive revenue strategy:

“But many advertisers and executives say there are questions to be answered and experiments to be done before Twitter becomes a must-buy, if it ever does.

“Agencies are uneducated, brands are uneducated and, to a certain extent, Twitter is uneducated,” said Ian Schafer, chief of Deep Focus, an interactive marketing agency.  “There are no best practices.  There are just hunches about what will work.””

(NY Times, 10/11/10, p. B1)

Text Messages Again Affirmed To Be “Calls” Under TCPA

February 28, 2010

Another federal court not long ago affirmed that text messages come within the scope of unsolicited “calls” that are prohibited under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).   Notable here is that, unlike in a previous U.S. Circuit Court opinion on the same issue (Satterfield v. Simon & Schuster, 569 F.3d 946 (9th Cir. 2009)), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in reaching its conclusions went through a more extensive analysis of the statute, its legislative history and related Federal Communications Commission rules and pronouncements.  The result is that this decision, Abbas v. Selling Source, Case No. 09-CV-3413 (N.D. Ill. Dec. 14, 2009), combined with the Ninth Circuit’s views in Satterfield, is likely to put this issue to rest.

The TCPA prohibits a person “to make any call (other than a call made for emergency purposes or made with the prior express consent of the called party) using any automatic telephone dialing system or an artificial or prerecorded voice . . . (iii) to any telephone number assigned to a paging service, cellular telephone service, specialized mobile radio service, or other radio common carrier service, or any service for which the called party is charged for the call[.]”  47 U.S.C. Sec. 227(b)(1)(A)(iii). 

In addition to confirming that text messages are “calls” within the meaning of the TCPA, the Abbas court also followed the Satterfield court’s view that  merely using a device or system that has the capacity to perform automatic telephone dialing is sufficient to invoke the statutory prohibition even if the automatic dialing feature was not actually used in sending out the subject messages.

PDF of  Abbas v. Selling Source Opinion