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Revolution Messaging to Lead Digital Efforts For Bernie Sanders’ Presidential Campaign

Obama Vets Kick Off Online Fundraising, Social Media Campaign for Bernie 2016

Washington, DC– Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign and full-service digital firm Revolution Messaging announced today that the firm has been hired to lead digital efforts for Sanders’ 2016 campaign. The award winning firm led by Obama veterans is heading up social media, online organizing, online fundraising, web design, and digital advertising for Bernie 2016.

“We are excited to bring on the team behind President Obama’s groundbreaking social media, mobile and rapid response digital operations in 2008,” said Sanders’ advisor Tad Devine. “The groundswell of grassroots support for Bernie is already surpassing expectations and Revolution Messaging is the right team to help us harness that energy with innovative, cutting-edge technology.  The campaign will bring together millions of Americans who are sick and tired of the economic and political status quo and want fundamental change in how we do economics and politics in this country.  We believe that Revolution is exactly the right group to help us use social media to achieve that goal.”

“Like a lot of Obama supporters, we were looking for a candidate with a track record of doing the right thing – even if it meant taking on Wall Street billionaires and other powerful interests. A candidate who could inspire a movement,” said Scott Goodstein, founder of Revolution Messaging and external online director for Obama ’08. “Bernie Sanders is that candidate.”

“We are thrilled to bring our award winning ad technology and rapid response digital media tools to this quickly growing movement,” added Goodstein.

In addition to Goodstein, who ran Obama’s social media and mobile programs in 2008, the Revolution Messaging team is led by Presidential campaign and digital strategy veterans including:

Arun Chaudhary – the first official White House videographer, a position created for him at the beginning of the Obama Administration. He also created “West Wing Week” and served as President Obama’s new media road director for the 2008 campaign.
Shauna Daly – the deputy research director for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, she spearheaded the creation of the Stop the Smears website.She also served as senior advisor of American Bridge and as research director of the Democratic National Committee.
Keegan Goudiss – the head of Revolution Messaging’s award-winning advertising team who has pioneered social media data tracking technologies for campaigns and worked for the DCCC and numerous campaigns before becoming a partner at Revolution Messaging.
Walker Hamilton –  One of the lead programmers and site architect for President Obama’s 2008 campaign, now Chief Technology Officer at Revolution Messaging.

Kenneth Pennington, who managed social media for Sanders’ senate office, will also be joining the campaign’s digital operations team. During his tenure, Pennington and his team helped Sanders achieve the largest social media following in the U.S. Senate.

Already with the help of Revolution Messaging, Sanders’ presidential campaign outperformed Republican candidates in early fundraising, raising $3 million in four days. To date, the campaign has received 75,000 contributions with an average donation of $43. Additionally, 185,000 supporters have signed up to join the campaign on BernieSanders.com.

Revolution Messaging Media Contact: Moira Mack Muntz, 703-416-9188, moira.k.muntz@gmail.com


Goodstein tells The Hill: It’s Time to Change the Playbook

The Hill  |  11/13/14

It’s Time for Progressives to Change The Playbook
By Scott Goodstein

As I watched the predictable post Election Day finger pointing the past few days, it seemed clear we need a new playbook all together. We need a playbook that reflects that the world has changed – with new data, technology, demographics and laws.

For too many cycles, the same players have been running the same tired plays over and over and over again. But just because it worked in the 90’s doesn’t mean it’s the right playbook today.  If they can’t scrap the old plays, then it may be time for a few of these coaches to be retired.

Here is how we can change the game up —

Old Playbook: Chapter 1 –  “Political Deja Vu – History Repeats itself”  

New playbook: Anything Can Happen

The longer you play in politics the more likely you are to draw comparisons to challenges you saw in the past. The problem is – the best way to tackle these challenges has changed.  If a candidate is down by 10 points, just putting up a negative TV ad is not going to “move the needle.” The game has changed.

Today’s politics is not a simple boxing match watching two candidates fight for public opinion. It is no longer one on one, hand-to hand combat in the isolation of a political boxing ring.  With new weapons and new players entering the mix every day, the post Citizens United campaign is more like something out of a WWE cage match pay-per-view special… where no ring is needed and dozens of other characters and weapons can be easily introduced at any point. The number of outside groups looking to influence the outcome of the election has quadrupled and the cost for entry has greatly decreased. Which brings us to the next chapter that we need to toss out.

Old Playbook: Chapter Two – “Only a small group of experts can truly play national politics”

New Playbook: Anyone Can Be a Player

The truth is anyone can become a political pundit or run an independent expenditure. I ran one called PunkVoter with Fat Mike from the punk band NOFX back in 2004, Steven Colbert had one, and even PDiddy had his Voter or Die Campaign.

It used to be that the only folks that could play in national politics, run ads and send direct mail were party insiders.  These uber consultants were given exclusive access to key tools and deep discounts in communicating with voters. But all that has changed.

Now if a candidate is down in the final weeks of a campaign, 15 different independent groups can run TV, direct mail, build their own voter file, conduct their own calls, run their own database, etc. If you can raise money, you can talk to voters!

Old Playbook: Chapter 3 — “Voters Pay Attention to Every Ad”

or as I like to call it … “People are subscribing to direct mail, you know, uhm for the stories”

New Playbook: You’re Being Ignored. Go Digital and Get Creative!

The reality is that we are all overwhelmed by more media and messages than we could ever possibly absorb. It’s safe to assume we missed your last six emails. Many consultants truly believe that voters are following the story arcs of their direct mail just waiting for a new character to be introduced. Undecided voters are not waiting to see if Jessica is going to get back with her boyfriend next week or what happens to the citizens of Bon Temp Parish. The game has switched and the hits are faster and more diverse.

Send the right messages. Instead of testing the same stale messages in poll after poll, our side needs to start taking some risks and exploring different messages that appeal to voters.

Get your messages seen by the right voters. Forget direct mail for voters under 45. Go digital – you CAN afford to cookie match your voterfile! This micro targeting tool is an inexpensive, proven way to reach voters. (Note – it’s better targeting than using a simple poll and guessing which TV market to hit or running a radio ad without getting any conversion metrics back)

And finally, make sure your website is mobile optimized. For the websites my company hosts, we were seeing 45% of all traffic coming from mobile phones and tablets in the final weeks before Election Day… imagine what it will look like by next election! If your site gives mobile users a bad experience, you are losing the opportunity to communicate, key supporters and even contributions.

Old Playbook: Chapter 4- “Young Voters Don’t Vote”

New Playbook: Communicate with Young Voters Early, Often

Millennials not only registered to vote with Barack Obama, they are the most civic minded generation in decades and give progressives the biggest margins of victories. So our side should definitely stop ignoring them.

Talk to young voters’ issues! If we listen to what young voters care about and communicate on those issues early and often, this hyper-connected generation will feel respected and help us spread the word through their networks. The same goes for all base voters. It’s time to stop neglecting them until the final weeks when they are often our best campaign communicators.

Buy online early! Most campaigns didn’t start running digital ads for younger voters until early voting was already well underway. Our team’s phones rang off their hooks this past election cycle for the last two weeks. Sadly, by this point of the campaign you have missed a large opportunity to define candidates early, not to mention the giant price savings you get by reserving the same ads a few months earlier.

Old Playbook: Chapter 5 – “Candidate Campaigns are the only way to get changes you want”

New Playbook: Candidates Need Not Apply

Of course having strong candidates is important, but it’s not the only path to victory. Ballot initiatives have become an effective organizing tool of the disenfranchised on both sides of the aisle. Additionally, we have now watched several states host recall elections. If you don’t like how an office holder voted.. just organize your own recall!

As Democrats take this moment to look inward and find their soul, we must come to terms with the changes we need to make for 2016. It’s time to throw out the old plays that are no longer working and welcome new players to change the game.


New Statistics: Mobile Ads Surge — Is Your Mobile Strategy Up to Snuff?

Digital advertising has continued to soar in 2014, according to new data released today by the Interactive Advertising Bureau. Most strikingly, mobile ad spending spiked to $5.3 billion in the first half of this year, surpassing banner ads for the first time (by over $1 billion).

This shift comes as 2014 marked the first year in which mobile phones outpaced personal computers as users’ preferred way to access the web.

With marketers across industries recognizing the public’s shift to smartphones and tablets, political campaigns and organizations should be asking themselves if they have the ad campaigns they need in place to reach voters in the final days before November 4th.

Contact us to learn more about how Revolution Messaging is helping campaigns of all sizes and budgets reach their key voters through the latest advances in technology and data analytics.

Read more in Media Life Magazine’s report: http://www.medialifemagazine.com/fact-mobile-ads-are-bigger-than-banner-ads/


Arugula, Obama and Data Security – RevMsg in the News

Arugula, Obama and Data Security – RevMsg in the News

As campaign season gets underway, Revolution Messaging reminds you to secure your data. Founder Scott Goodstein weighed in with Politico this week to remind campaigns that data security isn’t just an internet issue.

Scott Goodstein, the CEO of the digital firm Revolution Messaging and a former digital staffer on Obama’s 2008 campaign, said the digital world is simply a new wrinkle on an old problem. “Campaigns have always had the problem of data security,” he said.

Confidential documents or donor information written on paper frequently get left behind. Unscrupulous volunteers could easily steal credit card information — even when it’s written on paper.

“Security is not just a let’s-blame-the-Internet problem,” Goodstein said.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/campaign-technology-data-security-voter-information-108585.html#ixzz36nkShWZ3

This weekend the Boston Globe reported on how President Obama takes time to escape the crazy 24 hour news cycle, giving a longer view perspective on each week in the Presidential radio address.

Revolution Messaging partner Arun Chaudhary told the Boston Globe about bringing the Presidential radio address into the 21st century by putting the video on youtube — while still embracing the tradition’s week-in-review format.

During the campaign, Chaudhary worked with the President to use video as “a quick, easy, and cheap way to reach supporters.” Is your campaign taking advantage of video to communicate more efficiently and effectively?

Read more: http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2014/07/06/president-obama-weekly-radio-address-anachronism-that-endures/2xtr0v07pKPHcuqk6QvckN/story.html?rss_id=Top-GNP

Finally, Chaudhary gave the New York Times a taste of life aboard Air Force One. In a piece focused on Presidential airplane food, Chaudhary provided his perspective after flying on the Presidential aircraft about three  times per week.

“It’s American fare, in that it’s not going all arugula on people,” said Arun Chaudhary, who was President Obama’s videographer from 2009 to 2011. “It’s not aggressively nutritious.”

But foodies beware the soggy fries. With no fryer aboard the plane, you might prefer to save your calories for some Presidential M&Ms.

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/28/us/politics/on-air-force-one-no-lightening-up-on-burgers-and-cake.html?_r=0


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.


Jail Guitar Doors and Wayne Kramer Fighting the Good Fight in DC

Revolution Messaging is honored to have helped Wayne Kramer and Jail Guitar Doors in their fight for much needed prison reform. You can help the cause too! Read Wayne Kramer’s latest blog post below.

Citizen Wayne Returns to Washington

By Wayne Kramer,

It took me a second to realize that the hallway I was passing through was the one that leads down to the real-life Situation Room. The Situation Room — where the President and his closest advisors meet when an actual state of emergency happens. I’d seen it on the news and in the movies, as we all have, but reality sometimes takes a second look to sink in.

I was in the good company of Revolution Messaging’s Scott Goodstein and Arun Chaudhary as well as our White House acquaintance Mike O’Neil. Arun had worked in the White House as Obama’s official videographer and knew many of the people we passed in those halls.

Needless to say, there’s something special about the place. It isn’t every day I pass Presidential Advisor Valerie Jarrett in the hall and she stops to say “Hi” to my friends and me.

My first meeting of the day was with Tonya Robinson, Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy. Tonya was kind and professional. She was also sympathetic to my argument that we are suffering through the greatest failure of domestic policy in America’s history: Mass Incarceration.

I get it. Our President has a full plate. Tonya mentioned their work on some re-entry initiatives, but IMHO, this is nowhere near enough involvement from their team. We agreed to keep the channel open. This is where We The People comes into the equation. It’s up to us, regular folk, citizens, to make this an issue that the White House cannot ignore. Pressure needs to be applied on President Obama for Justice Reform.

Someone who is in the fight for real is Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA). Getting an opportunity to sit down with the Senator, as well as his Chief of Staff Trevor Moe and Webb’s National Criminal Justice Commission Act point man Doug Ierley was a terrific experience. I have met with Moe and Ierley on a couple of other occasions, but this was my first meeting with Jim Webb.

The Senator is a no-bullshit guy and we went straight into the nuts and bolts of getting his National Criminal Justice Commission Act passed into law. A run at getting it passed last year was close. It made it through the House and we only missed the Senate by three votes.

We talked at length about making another run at it this year and I will have more to say on how you can help in the weeks and months ahead.

Webb is a unique individual in Washington. He is actually a public servant, doing the best he can to uphold the principles that make America the great experiment in democracy, small “d”, it is. I believe the reason he is not running is that he will not suck-up to big moneyed interests to finance his re-election.

The man is a combat decorated Marine and he doesn’t play games. You may remember him as the Senator that refused to shake then-President Bush’s hand because of his disingenuousness in steering the country into the Iraq War.

How many US Congressional representatives do you think have ex-offenders on their staff? One does: Sen. Jim Webb. Barrett Kinsella is an immigration caseworker in Webb’s office and a musician, so we connected immediately. If we had more people in government like him and his boss, America might actually approach its noble ideals. Senator Webb was generous with his time and answered every question I presented. I thanked him — from my personal perspective as an ex-offender — for championing prison and justice reform. It was also important to me to be able to tell him that I consider his efforts inspirational.

Then, at a lunch date soon after, the unexpected occurred. My friend Mike Lux and I were talking about JGD’s mission and the fact that the political Right are in support of the very same reform vis-à-vis Newt Gingrich and Grover Norquist’s Right On Crime, when Mike noticed Grover actually sitting at the table behind us. Seize the time! We stopped Grover on his way out and Lux introduced us, mentioning the fact that I was in D.C. lobbying for prison reform. Grover warmed up immediately and gave me his contact info, remarking that he has done some work on the issue and was willing to talk further about it, and we are.

This is the reality of political life. It’s easy to sit back and call people names from the comfort and safety of your living room couch. It’s easy to have strong opinions about who’s right and who’s not. But getting something done in Washington means coalition building. It means organizing everyone you can who agrees with your cause to help you in whatever way possible. We are in a time of unprecedented political polarization and unless we can find a meeting point on the issues that matter, communication will only degenerate further.

I may disagree with much of what the Right thinks and does, but I will partner up with anyone to help prisoners if the result is changing an immoral criminal justice system into one that is truly fair for all people, whatever the motivation.

Then we headed over to Capitol Hill for a meeting with Congressman Bobby Scott. He’s got it right. His Youth PROMISE Act would enable local communities to put evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies into practice to reduce the number of youth incarcerated. My meeting with Bobby was actually outside the Congressional Chamber.

It was hard to stay focused with Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank bumping into me while John Kerry and staff members elbowed their way down the hall. But talk we did and Rep. Scott is a force to be reckoned with in Congress and he’s in it for the long haul. I’m happy to report that he not only understands what’s at stake, but plans to battle against the unbelievable injustices that occur on a daily basis as a result of our country’s one-sided sentencing policies.

I believe the Youth Promise act is a vital component of justice reform and I will be talking more about it as we move forward. I just want to mention how much I enjoyed talking with his fantastic staff members Ilana Brunner and, in particular, Ron LeGrand. Ron has a background in federal law enforcement and was a federal prosecutor who knows what’s right and what’s wrong with the system from the inside out.

I truly appreciate it when folks from such diametrically opposing perspectives and backgrounds can connect meaningfully to work together for positive change. Some of my experiences in JGD have put me into contact with people that, in another life, I would have never known but that today I can count as friends and comrades. This might have seemed impossible in the past. There is something to the principle of keeping an open mind, and to working for goal bigger and beyond yourself.

The next day’s meeting with Dr. Niaz Kasravi, Director of the Criminal Justice Department of the NAACP, was excellent with a vigorous discussion about the ways we can partner on furthering our respective missions. The NAACP has taken a real and meaningful stand on mass incarceration and the racial indifference that has created a justice system that incarcerates people of color and limited economic means at a rate ten times that of other racial/ethnic groups. See Drug War Facts: Race and Prison. They agree with us that mass incarceration is both a civil and human rights issue. I’m looking forward to a long and productive relationship with Niaz and the NAACP.

The next day I flew to my hometown Detroit to deliver a “keynote speech” to the Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN) on the subject of Art and Activism. I always make an effort to open the rooms for questions and the Q&A portion of the event was lively. Detroit is making a strong effort to find its footing after the economic disaster it’s suffered through, reminding me that Detroiters are nothing if not resilient. I even had time to take a walk down to the Detroit River and stop for a real Coney Island hot dog with the works.

Back in Los Angeles now and returned to the daily work of surviving in America, fighting the power, and rocking out.


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.

 


Do you prefer text messages? 31% of Americans do.

Seventy-three percent of Americans are texting and of that group almost one-third prefer to be contacted via text.

Today, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project released their report: How Americans Use Text Messaging. This survey shows that 83% of Americans own cell phones and of that number, a majority (73%) use texting.

Text message users exchange twice as many texts as they did in 2009, sending out 41.5 messages per day rather than only 21.9 in 2009. Additionally, almost one-third (31%) of texting Americans prefer texts rather than calls.

Avid texters are even more likely to prefer texting to talking. Over half (55%) of those who send or receive over 50 messages a day say they would prefer a text message.

Why texting?

Aaron Smith, a senior research specialist with Pew’s Internet & American Life Project, believes that texting continues to be popular because “anyone with a phone can text anyone else without worrying whether or not the person they are trying to reach is on the same service–as does the fact that you can text from pretty much any type of cellphone” (Source: Media Post).

Which do you prefer?

 


Netroots Nation Straw Poll 2011

Revolution Messaging partnered with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Democracy Corps at Netroots Nation 2011 to conduct a straw poll of attendees. GQRR came out with the results in a press release today. Also be sure to check out the LA Times article on Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin coming out on top for who liberals want most as the GOP presidential nominee.

Netroots Nation Straw Poll Results-2011

June 21, 2011. Washington, DC. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Researchand Democracy Corps, in close partnership with Revolution Messaging, conducted a straw poll of progressive activists, journalists, and bloggers at the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This is the fourth year the straw poll has been conducted at the conference, the second time participants have been able to take the poll via text message, and by far the largest straw poll conducted yet at the conference, with over 500 people participating.

Netroots participants show broad support for President Obama, with 80 percent approving of his performance as president (27 percent strongly approve, 53 percent somewhat approve) and a strong net positive favorability (with 85 percent giving him a warm personal rating). When asked who they most want to see as the President’s challenger, they showed a strong preference for Sarah Palin to be Barack Obama’s opponent, followed closely by Representative Michele Bachmann. By a wide margin, these respondents also identified job growth as the top issue for President Obama. Stan Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, reacted to the results: “Despite some publicized criticism from the left, progressives remain loyal to Barack Obama and remain focused on the economy as the top issue our country faces today.”

To review the frequency questionnaire, please visit Democracy Corps.

Key Findings

Some other key findings include:

  • Much like last year, these participants want to see the Obama administration make one issue their top priority: job growth. Sixty-six percent think that improving the employment market should be the principal focus for the President and Congress. The next most important priority – protecting healthcare reform – sits at 9 percent.
  • While respondents are neutral about their own personal finances, they are pessimistic about the economy as a whole, giving it a net negative favorability rating in which just 15 percent have a positive view of the economy.
  • Progressives least want Mitt Romney to face President Obama in the 2012 election and by a wide margin believe that he will be the nominated candidate of the GOP.
  • While Netroots Nation is most focused on the presidential race (with half of respondents naming it their top priority), near 30 percent said their top priority for 2012 is for the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Labor unions, and commentator Rachel Maddow are held in very high regard by this audience, while the Democratic Party and Democrats in Congress are given near neutral ratings.

Methodology

These results are based on a straw poll of 519 conference attendees of the Netroots Nation conference in Minneapolis, MN. The poll was conducted via SMS (text messaging), iPads onsite, and an online platform.

 

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is the world’s premium research and strategic consulting firm, working with corporations, issue groups, and political campaigns throughout the United States and around the world. Find out more about us, along with the latest research and commentary from our principals and analysts, at www.greenbergresearch.com.


Nightmare of SMS- Coming True?

Derek Johnson, founder and CEO of Tatango, wrote yesterday in an op-ed on Mobile Marketing Watch that he has been having nightmares of where the SMS industry is headed:

“Recently I’ve been having horrible nightmares. These nightmares aren’t the kind I had when I was a child though, these are much worse. These nightmares take me into the future and give me a glimpse of what the SMS industry has become.”

We addressed this problem in 2010 and while we can say we’ve had the same nightmares, we can also unfortunately say we’ve seen it start to happen outside of the dream world. We wrote about this issue a while back when Republican campaigns used SMS spamming to suppress votes in the 2010 election. After buying and illegally uploading mobile phone numbers to their own list, Republican campaigns sent out SMS spam messages through emailing the phone numbers by Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP). This completely bypassed the legal measure of consumers opting-in to a mobile list they want to receive information from and whether they wanted it or not, their phones were inundated with messages.

Johnson continues with a detailed look into his nightmares, which are too close to reality for comfort:

“My nightmares always start with the consumer. I see consumer after consumer grow frustrated with the concept of ‘SMS marketing.’ I watch as their phones beep every few minutes signaling the arrival of another unwanted SMS advertisement. Parents take their mobile phones into the stores requesting SMS be removed as a feature, while children become immune to the flood of SMS spam, just as in present day I’ve become immune to email SPAM. What hurts me the most is that I hear business owners joke to their cohorts that it’s now referred to as ‘SMS spamming’, not ‘SMS marketing’.”

You can read more about Johnson’s nightmare here, but we must listen to his plea for SMS providers to come together:

“So to answer the question, ‘who’s killing SMS marketing?,’ it’s unfortunately the same people that are trying to promote it, the SMS providers. This piece is more of a call to action, than it is a blog post. Starting today, I’m calling for all SMS providers to band together and put a stop to this self-destructive practice. If we don’t act now, my nightmares will soon become our harsh reality.”

We would like to make the same ask. This is not a competition and we must work together to meet Derek Johnson’s call to action.