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   August, 2012

ElectionMall Wants To Spam Your Phone

If you don’t have any data to start a successful GOTV mobile strategy, you can just buy that data right? Sounds easy and convenient. And ElectionMall, a non-partisan (cough cough Republican) group that declares themselves “the world-leading provider of Internet-based solutions,” tells us they can offer us the data we don’t have.

Sorry to tell you, but what they’re doing, and what some other vendors are doing as well, is illegal. It is illegal to buy text message lists. You can’t “purchase cell phone data,” which is an option that ElectionMall gives when you’re signing up for their GOTV Texting Tool.

Here’s the email ElectionMall sent around:

If you go ahead and send text messages to the numbers they give you, you are committing political text message spam. Your members must opt in to receive text messages from you, whether that’s through them texting in a keyword to join your program or signing up online or on a clipboard sheet. Either way, you cannot send text messages to numbers that don’t opt in to your program. If you remember correctly, that’s something we’ve been fighting for a while – read more about that at

If you don’t want to take our word for it, learn from Jiffy Lube who had to find out the hard way that there are consequences if you try and go around the law when it comes to text messaging. According to Red Orbit, Heartland Automotive Services, the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee in America, settled a class action lawsuit, which ended up costing them about $47 million.

Yes, $47 million. That’s a lot of money. They were charged with sending promotional text messages to millions of consumers who did not opt in to their program. Huffington Post and Dell are also fighting class action lawsuits for sending text messages and phone calls to people who did not provide consent. This is essentially what could happen to you if you take the ElectionMall route.

Avoid paying a large fine and upsetting millions of supporters nationwide. Build your list the right way, the legal way. Need help? That’s what we’re here for. Contact Revolution Messaging today to find out how to take your first steps to building a legal, effective mobile program.

The Federal Election Commission Approved Donations via SMS

We are excited by yesterday’s Federal Election Commission (FEC) opinions, which gives us the opportunity to provide mobile giving to our clients in the days ahead.

After weeks of back and forth with the Commission, and major obstacles from CTIA being placed on the advisory request, we are glad that the carriers will be moving these programs forward soon.

While our team empathized with the carriers not wanting to take on the liability for each contribution, we fought for more accessibility to the mobile giving gateway, as well as more transparency from the carriers in how they approve or don’t approve specific campaigns. We were glad the FEC ruled in our favor and did not allow the wireless carriers to simply reject any political action committees’ mobile programs under a generic excuse that these programs would hurt their “branding.”

In response to the carriers’ request to reject any campaign they want, Revolution Messaging’s comments on CTIA’s advisory opinion was quoted in the Washington Post:

That prompted Revolution Messaging, a Democratic consulting firm that has another text-message proposal before the commission, to point out that carriers already sell “gangster rap ringtones, sex tip text messaging, pornography and horoscopes without hurting their brand images” — perhaps demonstrating that associating with political candidates can be more controversial than selling pornography.

Revolution Messaging was able to secure several language changes in the final advisory opinion that makes the system more transparent while stripping CTIA’s proposed arbitrary rejection of program language.

While we can begin setting up programs in the days ahead, as the carriers determine short codes, we still urge the FEC to expedite our additional advisory opinion request (AOR) as soon as possible. Our request asks for the Commission to approve additional ways to make mobile giving for federal PACs more efficient and more accessible.

We’re Raising Our Concerns of Accessibility, Affordability and Transparency to FEC About New Mobile Giving Programs

Revolution Messaging Raises Concerns of Accessibility, Affordability and Transparency to FEC About New Mobile Giving Programs

Filed comments to assure ruling provides fair pricing and equal treatment of all campaigns

Washington, DC (PRWEB) August 03, 2012 – Revolution Messaging, the progressive leaders in cutting-edge mobile strategies, took a stand on behalf of campaigns and organizations seeking to raise money via text message by calling for fairness and equality.

Revolution Messaging commented on CTIA’s request for a Federal Election Commission (FEC) Advisory Opinion to approve mobile donations that was discussed in an open hearing yesterday. This was in addition to Revolution Messaging filing their own request for an Advisory Opinion stating the current opinion as written does not make mobile giving as accessible, affordable or transparent as it should be.

While some of Revolution Messaging’s comments were addressed in yesterday’s FEC hearing, the wireless industry continued to push exclusionary practices that would allow them to approve text message fundraising for one campaign over another.

“The carrier industry clearly stated they want to avoid any controversial issues even though they gladly make money off horoscopes, obnoxious ringtones and pornography,” stated Scott Goodstein, founder of Revolution Messaging. “The irony reaches the extreme as carriers are willing to act as a payment gateway for pornographers, but not politicians. While this ruling was expedited because a congressional race wants to be able to use mobile giving, the comments we heard yesterday made it clear the carriers would not permit the same campaign to use the SMS payment gateway.”

CTIA (the wireless industry) even argues they are just like a media company and can turn down campaigns that they feel are just not appropriate.

“Let’s be honest, the carriers are simply a gateway that operate on federally funded spectrum,” Goodstein stated. “They are not limited by program time like TV or have the same concerns that people are being forced to watch a commercial they don’t like. People sign up for text messages and should be able to have payments processed for candidates or committees that they support without the fear that a carrier will impose their own political agenda on the payment gateway.”

Revolution Messaging also strongly urges the FEC to allow for a discounted political rate to be available to campaigns that would not cause an illegal in-kind contribution to be made. Currently, carriers can charge a service fee of up to 40%, which is higher than the normal rate for non-profit organizations. Since carriers already set the contribution rate for non-profits at 0%, they can easily make a political rate card that is profitable for the industry, affordable to political committees and a low enough percentage to make the service competitive with credit card processing.

“While we are excited the FEC is going to rule on allowing mobile payments, we urge them to make sure the ruling is issued in a way that does not allow a carrier to favor one political action committee over another by allowing one to use this payment system and not allowing another,” Goodstein said. “We recognize and are empathetic to the carriers’ concerns regarding liability, but we need to achieve a balance of protecting the carriers while also fairly opening the system to the campaigns who want to utilize it.”

Listen to the FEC hearing on text message donations.

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.