Monday, March 31, 2008

National Do Not Call Registry

24 April 2007: The Government of India proposes a bill to introduce the 'National Do Not Call Registry' (NDNC) service in India - where consumers can register with their respective operators and will be listed in a Do-Not-Call registry where it would be illegal if any of the numbers receive a Telemarketing call or SMS or better known as UCC (Unsolicited Commercial Communication). The bill was passed in Q4 2007 and re-enforced by the means of Newspaper & TV Media that any such miscreant or UCC activity can cause the operator/telemarketer a fine of upto Rs.500, subsequently Rs.1000 and further cancellation of license. It was truly brilliant to offer consumers the comfort and peace of not receiving the pesky Loan, Mortgage, Credit Calls anymore But why was SMS included in this??? The only effective channel of Direct Marketing left in India is - SMS Marketing. If the Government has placed a 'blanket ban' on receiving any UCC, then it makes SMS also illegal, ineffective and will become inexistent soon.
Statistics say, Mobile Phone users (urban + rural) are increasing @ 8% a month and the NDNC registration is increasing @ 5% every month. Implies that sooner or later the rates will fluctuate and everybody will be registered with the NDNC. It is totally wise to do so but then what happens to the 'Mobile Phone being the ultimate gadget'? This idea has been harvesting since long in the minds of marketers that Mobile Marketing would have taken over all means since the mobile phone will be your Credit Card, Car Key, PDA/Organiser, Web Browser, GPS, etc; the one tool one would carry everywhere. As far as business is concerned, Mobile Marketer's only hope is the 'Alerts/Reminders' services like of Banks and Non - UCC services.
Although, there is one more viewpoint which is totally opposite this understanding - if Users are getting registered in the NDNC and the sole target, which needs to segmented further, is Non NDNC registered people - Mobile Marketers can SPAM them like crazy. If word gets out (which just might given by the number of readers of this blog) SMS Marketers will start taking Mobile Campaigns simply spamming anyone who is not on the list - which will further provoke people to get registered in this list.
Conclusively, there isn't a way out - SMS Marketing will soon die unless the Govt of India gives recognition to Portals, Handwritten documents or Forms where the mobile phone user has given permission to receive any such updates from the particular merchant. Given by the speed of functioning of the Indian Govt, mobile marketers would be selling mobile phones to survive by then!

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