by Mike Dano

The Mobile Marketing Association trade group announced its new code of
conduct for wireless advertising campaigns, a move that comes shortly after
the launch of universal short codes and on the heels of a bill in Washington
designed to outlaw unwanted wireless spam.

"One of the most important issues facing the growth of mobile marketing
today is the prevention of mobile spam," said Jim Manis, chair of the MMA
and vice president of mobile messaging management company M-Qube Inc. "This
code of conduct represents the work of an entire industry coming together on
behalf of consumers to insure a trusted and valued relationship in
communicating with brands in North America."

The MMA's code of conduct includes guidelines advocating opt-in and opt-out
rules, as well as limits on the number of messages sent. The MMA said it
would follow the privacy guidelines set down by the TRUSTe initiative, which
is a non-profit certification group formed to promote and protect Internet
"The Code of Conduct is a tremendous first step toward aligning the industry
behind an aggressive, yet universal set of principles for mobile marketing
that protects the consumer and the industry simultaneously," said Cristy
Swink of Cingular Wireless and an MMA member.

The MMA comprises several major U.S. wireless carriers, device makers,
wireless technology companies and consumer brands.

The MMA's code of conduct comes just a few months after the wireless
industry introduced a universal short code program. The program allows
businesses to purchase five-digit codes, and wireless users can register to
receive text-based information and content by sending messages to the short
codes. Advertising is one of the primary uses of the short code program.

Also, the Senate just last week passed the Can Spam Act, which includes a
provision seeking a ban on unsolicited commercial e-mail to mobile phones
without prior consent of subscribers.

"What I tried to do with my provision on cell phones was to do today what we
were going to be forced to do in two or three years anyway," said Rep.
Edward Markey (D-Mass.) last week.

The Markey amendment advocates an opt-in approach to mobile spam, but still
gives the Federal Communications Commission the discretion of setting an
opt-out rule. In contrast, e-mail users would be restricted to having to opt
out of unwanted electronic advertising.

The bill must go to the House for final approval. President Bush is expected
to sign it. This should all happen before the end of the month, and the bill
is expected to be effective Jan. 1.

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