All members of the International Mobile Marketing Business Network are expected to uphold the highest standards in mobile marketing ethics. Companies and/or individuals who do not meet the standards outlined in this Code of Ethics are not eligible for membership in the IMMBN.
It is important that all parties in the mobile marketing industry have a high standard of ethics because consumers are wary of mobile marketing as it is. Any unethical mobile marketing that is done undermines the possibility for smart ethical mobile marketing to continue because consumers will simply not participate any longer.
Also, in an attempt to protect consumers, legislators may create laws that obstruct ethical marketers in an effort to protect consumers from unethical marketing tactics.
The excitement about the possibilities in mobile marketing as a business opportunity can lead to training methods that are unethical and business opportunity models that are not likely to produce positive results for entrepreneurs.
Unscrupulous acts in mobile marketing must be avoided at all costs.
This code of ethics is based largely upon the Mobile Marketing Association’s Best Practices document and everything in that document is considered part of this code. It is also advised that mobile marketing professionals follow The 10 Commandments of Mobile Marketing.
While the MMA Best Practices and the 10 Commandments of Mobile Marketing are focused on the specifics of implementing mobile marketing, the remaining part of this Code of Ethics is about the business models in mobile marketing.
It is not ethical to entice people to sign up for text messaging for general concepts (i.e. restaurant specials that are not tied to specific restaurants) and then send them specific campaigns at a later date (i.e. here’s your mobile coupon to Joe’s Pizza).
The reason this is not acceptable is because the end consumer will not likely remember that they signed up for these messages (“Oh yeah, I signed up for text message restaurant specials on that one website awhile ago.”) and will feel like they are being spammed because they did not give explicit and specific permission to the specific business (“Who the heck is Joe’s Pizza and why are they texting me?”).
This practice is not good for the mobile marketing industry as a whole because it will give consumers a reason to associate mobile marketing with spam (or to perceive it as spam). This is the kind of marketing practice that is likely to bring unnecessary legislation to the whole marketing channel.
Additionally, the business owner who bought the marketing (in this example, Joe’s Pizza) will not likely get the response they were anticipating and will falsely assume that mobile marketing is not a strong marketing technique. Plus, they will be placing themselves at risk of being labeled a mobile spammer with all the associated legal risks of doing so.
Companies that sell “unlimited” text messaging need to disclose how the messages are being paid for. So if the messages are paid for by inserted advertising, limited by the size of the subscriber list or by using a technology that is using a domain server (DOTGO), it should be disclosed.
Companies that sell unlimited messaging in a gambling situation (i.e. hoping that their clients’ monthly fees are high enough to pay for the number of messages that are actually sent) is unethical because if the gamble doesn’t pay off all the businesses using that short code are in jeopardy of losing their service if the company goes out of business.
Proximity marketing (such as Bluetooth marketing) that sends a message automatically to any eligible phone within a certain location is spam. Yes, it is spam even if the initial message is requesting permission to send the actual marketing content.
MLM (multi-level companies) or network marketing companies that wish to be members of the IMMBN must have a product/service offering that is a viable business opportunity. As an example, it is not a viable business model to suggest selling text messaging services to family and friends (a business to consumer sales model). Individuals do not need their own text messaging service to send large quantities of text messaging and a business model based on selling this type of service is not sustainable.
An example of a viable MLM business model is selling text messaging or other mobile marketing services to businesses (a business to business sales model) and also offering the opportunity to do so to fellow entrepreneurs who are then on your sales team downline.
Mobile marketing training that is based on traditional Internet Marketing techniques (affiliate marketing, etc) must be marketed ethically. As an example, it is not ethical to suggest that income is being made “using mobile marketing” when the income being shown as social proof is actually income being made teaching mobile marketing concepts.
This is similar to the “make money stuffing envelopes” scam of years gone by. In that scam people were sold information about how to make money stuffing envelopes. In reality what they purchased was information about how to sell other people the how to make money stuffing envelopes information.
* * * * * * * * * * *
This Code of Ethics is subject to change at ANY time. Members will be notified of any change in or addition to the Code of Ethics via email to the email address that was submitted with membership application.
At this time the Code of Ethics is based upon the CEO’s sole discretion. If you are interested in joining the Ethics Committee, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your contact information.