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Revolution Messaging Welcomes Our First Artist-in-Residence

Revolution Messaging is proud to announce a new way in how we collaborate with the artistic community. The Artist-in-Residence position will temporarily bring in talented artists who have an interest in advocacy to work with our HQ team in DC on different creative endeavors, telling the stories and painting the pictures of the progressive movement.

The first vacation canceled to bring this idea to life was that of Chris Northcross, filmmaker and graphic artist from Pontiac, MI, who will be with us in August. Chris is a veteran of political filmmaking and advocacy work, previously as a key member of the Obama New Media Road Team in 2008, as well as leading digital efforts in Michigan. He still works as a freelance videographer/editor/director and has done a lot of work for various groups in Michigan, including local NPR stations. We are excited and honored to welcome Chris to the team this August.

If you want to learn more about becoming an Artist-in-Residence at Revolution Messaging please email info@revolutionmessaging.com.


What Not to Text – Inspired by Anthony Weiner

As they say, America loves a scandal. What the latest on Weinergate shows is that texting etiquette can easily become cause for media attention and could potentially derail your political career.

So here are some pro tips to get you through this whole SMS world. Disclaimer: some of this content will get graphic. (Below, you can find a nice TMInfographic a.k.a. too-much-information-graphic.)

Rule #1:

When sending a text message, make sure the recipients of that message know you’re the sender. Sending random texts to people may not yield the best reaction. Read: don’t even think about sending a text as Carlos Danger. Everyone will know it’s you (or they’ll think it’s Anthony Weiner). It just creates a danger-ous situation. (See what I did there?)

Rule #2:

The timing of your text messages can be really important. When scheduling your texts, make sure you’re not sending them at an inopportune time. Sometimes past texts you’ve sent can resurface when you’re running for mayor of New York City. It happens to everyone…

Rule #3:

Avoid autocorrect. Or your texts may turn into sexts. And Anthony Weiner can tell you all about that life. That being said, always check for typos and grammatical errors when sending SMS broadcasts.

Rule #4:

When you’re mobilizing your subscribers to action, make sure it’s not to that kind of action. Ask your supporters to make a phone call, RSVP to an event or take a poll – no need for other types of action.

Rule #5:

Sending links in texts can be a great tool, just remember to make sure the links are for mobile-friendly websites. If Anthony Weiner had sent invitations to campaign rallies and events via text instead of invitations for more intimate events, maybe things would have worked out differently. :)

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Help the Revolution Celebrate the New Year

With 2012 coming to an end, Revolution Messaging is looking to you for help in choosing how we allocate donations to four of our favorite charities this year. Please take a second today to take part in our text message poll to help rank what percentage we will donate to each of the four organizations: Washington Humane Society, Jail Guitar Doors, Wounded Warriors Project and the DC Central Kitchen.

Text in your vote for ONE of these charities (only one vote per charity per cell phone):

Text A to 675309 for the Washington Humane Society

Text B to 675309 for Jail Guitar Doors

Text C to 675309 for Wounded Warriors Project

Text D to 675309 for the DC Central Kitchen

Thanks for all your support in 2012! We can’t wait to see what 2013 brings and we hope you all join us in helping to make sure the fires of social justice continue to burn bright in the new year.

Have a wonderful New Year!

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New App Puts Tools To Fight Voter Suppression In Your Hands

Text OURVOTE to 90975 to verify registration status, check voting rules, find polling locations and report potential voting obstructions

(Washington, DC) – The new Election Protection app, available on all major mobile devices, is the most powerful election protection tool available today. The app was created to empower voters and to ensure that all eligible voters can cast their ballots and have them counted this Election Day.

One of the most important features of the app is the ability to ask questions or report any type of voting problem directly to a team of highly trained volunteers and tap into a coalition of attorneys and legal experts at the national and local level to immediately answer questions and pursue remedies.

“The development of this app was a true collaboration of organizations that are each focused on helping all eligible Americans vote and determined to put the power to protect voting rights directly in the hands of voters,” said Eric Marshall of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

This app, designed and built by Revolution Messaging, turns your mobile phone into a citizen watchdog tool and gives you the ability to connect to the national Voter Protection network by downloading the app from iTunes (search: Elect Protect), or by texting OURVOTE to 90975.  You can even use your phone’s GPS & camera features (iPhone users) to take a photo of the potential violation and geo-tag it to the exact location of the incident.

“As a former Freedom Rider, I know the incredible importance of exercising your right as an American to cast a ballot.  I hope every smartphone holder in the country uses the power now in their hands to fight for every single American’s precious right to vote,” said Harold Ickes, president of Catalist.

The app is available on all major mobile devices (iOS, Android, Blackberry) and works on all smartphones, tablets and through the mobile web.  It is easily shareable between friends and family – just tell them to text OURVOTE TO 90975 – regardless of the type of smartphone you might use. A Spanish language version of the app is also coming soon.

The mobile app allows users in real-time to:

  • Report problems and issues of obstructing voters rights through live hotline directly to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and use an easy to upload form to geo-tag the location if the problem using smartphone GPS, and even add a photo to the report
  • Verify voter registration status using links to Catalist‘s continuously updated national voter database
  • Submit voter registration forms through Rock-the-Vote
  • Look up polling locations through Google’s “VIP” service
  • See key voting rules & regulations for each state compiled by New Organizing Institute
  • Review what type of machines are used at each polling place compiled by Verified Voting

Download the app today – text OURVOTE to 90975!


Calling on the FEC to Make New Mobile Giving Program Accessible, Affordable & Transparent

Progressive Mobile Strategy Firm Asks FEC to Make New Mobile Giving Program Accessible, Affordable & Transparent 

Washington, DC – Revolution Messaging, the progressive leaders in cutting-edge mobile strategies, today took a stand on behalf of campaigns and organizations seeking to raise money via-text message.  The organization filed a request for Advisory Opinion with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) saying the current advisory opinion as issued does not make mobile giving as accessible, affordable or transparent as it should be.

“If the Federal Election Commission is serious about helping federal political committees take advantage of the most innovative technologies, they will consider these changes,” said Revolution Messaging’s Founder and CEO Scott Goodstein.  “We recognize and are empathetic to the carriers concerns regarding liability, but we need to achieve a balance that protects the carriers while also fairly opens the system to the campaigns who want to utilize it.”

Revolution Messaging outlined several areas that need to be addressed in order to render the contributions by text message system workable for actual campaigns.

Accessibility:  In order to allow more federal political action committees and campaigns to take advantage of these new and innovative way to raise money, through mobile phones, several changes need to be made.  This includes allowing campaigns to share short codes, which is the infrastructure behind the service. Currently each organization needs its own code, which is costly and time consuming to seek approval for each.  Revolution Messaging is proposing a system whereby committees and campaigns can share short codes, cutting down the cost and turn-around time for these fast moving organizations.

Affordability:  Revolution Messaging strongly urges the FEC to cut the cost of collecting donations through this system.  Currently, carriers can charge a service fee of 40 percent, which is higher than the usual and normal rate for non-profit organizations.  In fact, purveyors of pornography and horoscopes are the types of organizations that pay up to a 40 percent service fee.  Political committees should not be treated the same as these types of organizations, and the rate should be low enough to make the service competitive with credit card processing.

Transparent:  In order to create a system that is widely used, it is important that there betransparency as to who can use the service. In other words, CTIA and the carriers should not be able to decide which federal campaign gets to register or promote a short code and which campaigns or committees do not.  The FEC has never allowed private groups determine who should be allowed into a vehicle of raising money and who should not..  Revolution Messaging believes that the FEC should not allow codes to be approved or not approved based on if the carrier likes a campaign or a candidate or does not like a campaign or candidate.

Another important variable in the move towards transparency is allowing users to report their identification information to expand the service beyond the anonymous $50 per billing cycle donations allowed currently.  Revolution Messaging is uniquely positioned to implement safeguards against illegal contributions, while at the same time collecting the information required for political contributions.  They maintain the ability to responsibly collect and maintain wireless user data, including the name, address, employer and occupation of specific wireless number users.


The Fight Continues…

Our team here at Revolution Messaging is continuing our fight to end political text message spam and people are paying attention. The Associated Press put out an article by Beth Fouhy helping spread our message to the Federal Communications Commission – they must end this practice now before it becomes even more costly for voters. We are asking everyone to visit PocketSpammers.com to sign our petition and end political text spam today.

But that’s not all we have going on here – our tasty friend Sammy has something to say as well: No matter how tasty, a bribe is still a bribe. Atlantic writer Nancy Scola wrote an article on our talking sandwich video questioning presidential nominee Mitt Romney and Representative Paul Ryan’s motives for handing out free sandwiches during the Wisconsin GOP primary.

What will we come out with next? You’ll just have to wait and see.


No Matter How Tasty, A Bribe Is Still A Bribe

There are some days at Revolution Messaging when defending democracy involves cutting edge technology, organizing members via mobile, getting websites developed and producing top-notch media.

Then there are other days when we make a talking sandwich video.

During the Wisconsin GOP primary election, Governor Mitt Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan were seen at Cousins Subs in Waukesha illegally soliciting voters with a tasty free sandwich.

Romney was not just being unpresidential by doling out sandwiches, but he was participating in small time fraud – the sort of petty crime that even Richard Nixon would turn his nose up at.

This may not have swayed the outcome in Wisconsin, but won’t someone think of the sandwiches?

 

 


Text Spam Comes in All Forms

As citizens are increasingly learning, text message spam comes in all forms and is directed at many targets, from voters to buyers. Political campaigns recently were caught spamming voters and grabbed the attention of the national press. But, how about the more traditional targeting of consumers?

In a period of economic recession, many shoppers are looking for bargains. A new text fraud by Walmart impostors are apparently looking to bank off of such consumers, offering fake $1,000 Walmart gift cards. The text, informing recipients of their supposed gift card, is embedded with a link to a website prompting the entry of personal information.

Such a message is called smishing, similar to phishing, only geared to texts, or SMS,” The Business Journal states.

These tactics attempt to trick consumers into thinking they are submitting their information to a reputable source. Scam Book claims the Walmart Text Spam Group is “false advertising.”

The Walmart scam text has spread rapidly, nationwide. WebProNews writes, “The BBB is fielding complaints all across the U.S. concerning the texts.”

Even one of our own employees received a text message from the Walmart spammers this morning:

 

Walmart has released a statement, explaining that the texts are not from them. Nonetheless, we all need to be weary of text fraud. The Better Business Bureau says, “smartphones are very convenient but consumers should be careful about using them – When you use a device for everything from banking to personal photo albums, the last thing you want is someone gaining access to the phone.”

Worst of all, unsolicited text message spam is charging citizens in times of economic adversity, the opposite of a promise of $1,000. It will be important to sustain pressure on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to properly regulate the growing problem. Revolution Messaging is working towards this goal – check out PocketSpammers.com for more information.

 


Political Text Message Spam Showing Up in the 2012 Presidential Election

New Form of Voter Suppression and Dirty Politics Clogging Up Cell phones in Michigan

WASHINGTON, Feb. 27, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is being targeted by the latest practice of voter suppression in the form of political text message spam. Progressive organization Revolution Messaging has been working to raise the awareness of this dangerous new tactic by calling on the Federal Communications Commission to put a stop to it.  Complaints are rolling in about these unsolicited text messages throughout Michigan, whose primary is this upcoming Tuesday. The text messages said “Romney’s Poor Comments” from an email address of a group that does not exist: michigan@westcoastrepublicans.com. The text message included a phone number that sent people to a recorded message attacking Romney. In addition to not being able to identify who these nefarious messages are actually from or be properly opted in to receiving these updates -  they actually cost the voter money because text messages are not free to the end-user in the U.S.

People took to Facebook and Twitter to complain about these spam messages, including Jackie Hall from Michigan who posted to a local Michigan television station’s Facebook page:

ABC12: Your Trusted Source! WJRT-TV

Really hoping you’ll cover these unwanted texts from 9897870163 (michigan@westcoastrepublicans.com). I received one at 10:30 last night, and am very upset by this kind of practice. It should be illegal.

Revolution Messaging has been working to expose this under-the-radar tactic used in Congressional Races in 2010 and then again in Virginia’s Legislative Campaigns in 2011.  The firm launched PocketSpammers.com, in early February, to raise awareness of this growing issue and to push the FCC to take a stance against this practice by closing any loopholes in the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).

“We’ve already seen runaway spending on campaigns this year,” said Scott Goodstein, founder of the firm. “We need for the FCC to assure people that unwanted & illegal text message spam will not be tolerated – period.”

Some corporations claim they have found a loophole in the (TCPA) that allows them to send unsolicited political text message spam to users’ cell phones with no opt-in or opt-out component. Under this act, the FCC has adopted regulations, which prohibit sending spam text messages.

It’s time for the FCC to end this illegal practice that hits voters right in the wallet. These text messages are sending an anonymous attack ad while costing voters money with an unwanted text message. This spam is timed perfectly for the opposition, sending an attack right before a primary election. The same tactic was seen in Colorado and the website WestCoastRepublicans.com was found to be registered by Domains by Proxy, an Arizona-based company helping people register for websites while protecting their identity.

People need to continue calling on the FCC to clarify that the ban on text messaging spam applies to ALL companies, including those who run Internet-to-phone text messaging programs.

Revolution Messaging is asking for help to push this message to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Robert McDowell, by signing the petition on PocketSpammers.com. This petition helps reinforce the one officially filed with the FCC on January 19th asking them to clearly define the text message regulations included in the TCPA.

This could be a costly 2012 election for voters if the FCC doesn’t stand up now and put an end to these unsolicited messages that are turning into a new form of voter suppression.

 


The Internet Strikes Back

On Wednesday, we witnessed an unprecedented collaboration on the Internet as people throughout the country contributed in their own way to the SOPA and PIPA protest. People contributed through blacking out websites, tweeting or posting links and calls to action on Facebook, signing petitions and setting up tools online to easily call Congress – a whole country sent an unmistakable and nearly unanimous message to the Hill.

Ironically, while this is the biggest online protest in history, it is also the type of action that the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Senate’s PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) would restrict. These two bills claim they would stop piracy and would implement harsher penalties on companies or individuals violating copyright laws online, but in effect, the outcome would put legitimate websites at risk with its vague use of language. If these bills pass, user-generated websites, the most well known being Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia, would have to monitor everything going through their sites, risking being shut down if something slips through the cracks.

But because we have the freedom we do, those who use the Internet everyday, who maintain the sites we all rely on (how many times do you read Wikipedia a day? Be honest), who are responsible for cultivating the inner webs, ran an innovative, groundbreaking, and most importantly, successful protest.

Our lives revolve around the Internet, our phones and any other way we can find to digitally connect. So while people may criticize all the work being done behind a computer and deem it passive, yesterday’s example is living proof that an online movement inspired millions of people to take action and make sure their voice was heard. We are becoming a more interactive society and the Internet is a main supporting force in that, encouraging people to become involved and engaged.

This protest was yet another turning point for using the Internet to drive offline action. Seattle Against SOPA took the time to write, record and produce a video in opposition to the bills by covering Don Mclean’s “American Pie.” This offline action then came full circle as it became viral online and was a solid example of how, if SOPA and PIPA were passed, we would no longer have the ability to express our opinions and messages through creative means. It is work like this that the legislation could go after and those who produced this video could find themselves in jail for up to five years.

The protest was truly a team effort. The Revolution joined the strike by blacking out our website and urging people to call Congress in opposition of PIPA.

(There’s still time! Call 866-279-7472 to tell your senator to oppose PIPA!)

Along with Revolution Messaging, other big names that participated included Wikipedia, Reddit, Mozilla, and even Congressmen and women, such as Representative Anna Eshoo, a California Democrat. The reaction was exceptional; Google alone saw over 4 million people sign their petition by 3pm on Wednesday.

The worldwide blackout is beginning to see success as co-sponsors of both SOPA and PIPA begin to “drop like flies.” Wednesday’s victory included a total of 18 senators coming out in opposition to PIPA, including 7 former co-sponsors dropping off.

These two bills are losing support from both the left and right, each acknowledging the threat it poses: removing our right to freedom of speech. The power of the Internet and online organizingcame together for a successful campaign, and the potential for censoring our online activity is slowly eroding.

Post Secret put it best: Under SOPA, you could get 5 years for uploading a Michael Jackson song, one year more than the doctor who killed him.