Additional laws have been added to the TCPA, but political robocalls are not effected and will be an important part of the 2012 election year
On February 15, 2012, the FCC passed new regulations that add to the protections invoked by the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA). If you’ve ever tried to read these things, you likely know why it’s sat on my desk for four months before writing this blog post.
The new regulations offers consumers greater protection against unwanted autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls known as voice broadcast or robocalls.
Of course, you should not rely on this post for legal advice. Always consult with your own attorney for legal advice. Legal disclaimer aside, here is a summary of the rules and regulations that have been added.
- Prior express written consent is required for all autodialed or prerecorded telemarketing calls to wireless numbers or landlines.
- The established business relationship exemption is removed.
- Call recipients must have the ability to opt-out of future robocalls during the robocall itself.
- Prerecorded calls to residential lines made by health care-related entities governed by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 are exempt from the rulings.
- No changes are made to reduce the ability to use robocalls for prerecorded messages for tax-exempt non-profit organizations, political robocalls, or calls for non-commercial purposes such as school closings.
- Calls to wireless phones, however, still have to obtain prior written permission if the robocalls are made on behalf of non-profits, politicals, or information only purposes.
- Prerecorded voice broadcast calls must state the identity of the business, individual, or other entity responsible for making the call at the beginning of the message. A telephone number of the entity making the calls must be provided at some point during the call.
When it comes to smartphone ownership, males have a slight edge over females, but females have a slight edge when it comes to tablet ownership. Not surprisingly, young and middle age adults are most likely to be smartphone owners and those earning more than $100,000 per year are by far the largest income group to own sophisticated mobile devices.
Hearst’s magazine group, like many other media companies, is finding that more and more of its digital traffic is coming from mobile. It’s the growth of that traffic that is most phenomenal and it shows no signs of pulling back. The percentage of traffic from mobile to magazines like Cosmopolitan reached 10% of overall traffic in May, 2012.
Such growth points out the continuing need for mobile-optimized websites for the Hearst magazine group.
Advanced works with the Hearst group of newspapers in providing mobile websites for its digital properties.
Mitt Romney won’t even have to answer his phone to receive future text message donations.
2012 is shaping up to be a political battleground and now the newest weapon for political fundraising is the candidates use of text messages to earn money for political campaigns.
Certainly, the Obama’s are familiar with using text messages to make money. Mrs. Obama appeared on national television in prime time to help raise money forearthquake victims in Haiti for the Red Cross. The non-profits made money through viewers sending a text message to a short code using technology that Advanced Telecom Services’ offers called premium sms.
Both Senator Romney and President Obama believe that making donations via text message will allow middle class citizens to be able to give money to the campaigns through a convenient method that’s as simple as sending a text message. Both candidates had submitted letters in support of the use of text message donations to their campaigns. One would have to think that, given equal promotion, the Democratic candidate stands to gain more through this new and unique political fundraising effort.
With premium sms for political candidates, consumers will text a keyword to a 5-digit short code (for example, text ROMNEY to 84444). Upon receipt the sender will receive a text message back that confirms the cost of the text message. When the sender replies in the affirmative the charge is attached to the sender’s cell phone bill.
Most of the political text messages will be for $10. If the user contributes $200, the company will need to cap the donations per phone number. It could also send the political registration documents to the consumer to allow them to continue to contribute above and beyond the $200 figure.
PAC’s (Political Action Committees) should really be intrigued by the text message donation option, but they will need to cap the anonymous donations at $50 per month as the law requires.
Political candidates are going to love receiving donations via this convenient method. The only thing that they won’t necessarily like is the ultimate payout. The carriers are the ones doing the billing so they are going to expect the majority of the money, close to half. The mobile marketing company, also known as a service bureau, handling the accounts will also get a piece of the action.
The FCC has enhanced the strength of the 1991 TCPA by requiring a written opt-in from all businesses wanting to use telemarketing. The problem is that with VOIP, calls can be made from virtually anywhere in the world for almost no cost. While limitations can be made on domestic businesses, there is virtually nothing that can be done to prevent international VOIP telemarketing calls to our phones.
Not saying that this is a bad law in preventing unwanted robocalls to consumers, but there’s simply no way to stop the international VOIP companies that will be pummeling our landline and mobile phones.
There are no changes to the rules that permit non-profits and political candidates from making robocalls to USA consumers. Don’t you love that the people who make the laws carved out themselves and the non-profits from the original robocalls legislation.
As they say in England: “brilliant.”
The old website for Advanced Telecom Services will soon be shelved for a newer one that promotes our mobile marketing capabilities.
The history of Advanced Telecom Services is a storied one dating back to 1989. You can learn more about the very interesting history of this company by checking out our new Facebook Timeline page for Advanced Telecom Services.
The new page, developed by one of our summer interns, gives the history of Advanced Telecom Services which has been supplying telemedia services for four decades now.
As more and more newspapers cut back on print to save costs, they are putting additional emphasis on the digital newspaper. There’s just one problem: revenue from the digital newspaper is not keeping pace.
For first quarter 2012, digital advertising revenue at newspapers rose just 1 percent from a year ago. That’s the fifth consecutive quarter that growth has declined, according to the Newspaper Association of America.
The New York Times Co gets 10 percent of its revenue from digital ad sales and 35 percent from print ads. Print and digital subscriptions generate 48 percent of revenue. What is frightening for newspapers like the New York Times is that it saw its digital ad revenue decline by 2.3% in the first quarter 2012.
For an industry savaged by declining advertising revenue, making more money from the digital newspaper makes a lot of sense. But, there’s a lot of competition for digital ad dollars and the newspaper faces competitors online that it never faced when people had the newspaper thrown in their driveway every day.
That’s why adding non-traditional revenue sources to a digital newspaper is such a vital thing to do. With services such as ATS’s online dating product, the solution is completely turnkey so no newspaper employees need to get involved. Just place the link on the digital newspaper and cash the checks each month.
One such newspaper is GoErie.com which uses the MatchLink product from Advanced Telecom Services. GoErie has a DATING link in its top nav bar and readers can go here to interact with the online dating solution.
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