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Monday, August 21, 2006

Spam In Your Cellphone: My Rant

Text message spam.
You know that feeling when you check your mail and you get a notice that says something like, "You have 12 unread messages." And then you start to feel excited because of anticipation that those messages are from your loved ones or friends, or maybe an approval for an application you made somewhere with someone. Afterwards, you click on the Inbox with much delight - and then - you scrolled through the 12 unread messages and find out they were all unsolicited advertisements - SPAM! Not a single one from the people you are expecting to hear from.

How would you feel during such an event? How do I feel about such an event??? I feel irritated and have wasted a good deal of my precious time. Not only that, they have eaten up a good portion of my Inbox space and now I have to waste time deleting unwanted messages. Why would I care for a new car when I don't need one, or worse, for teen girls from the other side of the world who want to have sex with me? Will they come to my place at their own expense? No I don't want any of those things that the spammers advertise to me.

Spam has been there since the electronic mail was invented, I think. Fortunately, people recognize that this is a problem and measures are being made to control them, if not totally eradicate them. Of course, spammers are developing new ways of getting their ads to your Inbox but there are also those who are countering their attacks.

Another text message spam sent indiscriminately. Why would they think I can read in Arabic?

And I'm fine with that. BUT WHAT ABOUT MY PHONE???

Telemarketing has been around for quite some time. You know, those people who call you on your land line and are really friendly and then suddenly push you into buying their products. I find it annoying most of the time because I get interrupted from what I am doing whenever I have to rush to pick up the phone only to hear a stranger sweet-talk me into buying something from him. I suppose telemarketing is more common in the US than anywhere int he world. My brother get so many in a day that his whole family has gone into the habit in letting the answering machine to answer the call even when they are there. They'd pick up the phone only when they recognize the caller. Well that looks like an easy solution to me. How about text message (or SMS as more popularly known in some parts of the world) advertisements? How do you stop those?

Not long after text messaging became mainstream, advertisers recognized its potential as another medium to promote their products. It couldn't be any easier, just compose a standard ad campaign and text it to every single mobile phone there is. What annoys me more is that the network provider encourages it. Some even offer "business SMS" at cheaper rates. Just apply for this plan and the network provider will take care of sending the message to every subscriber they have - indiscriminately! I know that's big business for them, the SMS advertisers and the network provider. I know it doesn't cost me anything, BUT it does not benefit me, the paying customer. In fact it disturbs me especially during a peaceful solitude of relaxation. I don't think it's right for the network provider to disclose your mobile number to advertisers.

Another thing that annoys me is that the network provider sends their own spam as well, advertising special promos thru text message. And that, despite all of their aggressive media campaign. C'mon, I have a cell phone to stay connected. It does not mean that I am out of touch with the world.




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