Mobile Marketing, SPAM and HLR Lookup
Using HLR Lookup to Improve your SMS Mobile MarketingMarketing via SMS email is big business. In 2011, Informa reported that worldwide nearly $12 billion was spent on these initiatives. We've all experienced email spam. SMS spam takes it to a new level being much more intrusive. Lisa Peterson describes in her blog on mobile privacy, for the first time in history many consumers now have a connected device with them nearly 24x7. This always-on connectivity is tempting to charlatans and as a result there is a growing amount of mobile spam. The increasing volume of unwanted text messages risks damaging an otherwise excellent channel for brands to engage with their customers.
There are ways to significantly reduce the cost of SMS marketing, but some are short term and not necessarily good solutions in the long run. The bad news is that as cost becomes less of a deterrent the industry has to impose other measures to prevent mobile spamming. I’ll be discussing this more in a future post on SMS Fraud and Security.
This post focuses on HLR Lookup, sometimes known as an IMSI Lookup, which some SMS Marketing companies use to improve their SMS Mobile Marketing.
The HLR contains essential details on the mobile subscriber such as the subscriber’s current mobile operator, whether the number active, and the mobile subscriber’s status which says if the subscriber is active or roaming on a foreign network. Performing HLR Lookup for each of your MSISDNs to create a clean telemarketing list can significantly reduce the cost of executing a SMS marketing campaign.
For example, if a number is not active you wouldn't waste money sending a marketing message. If the subscriber is out of the country, the message is likely to cost you significantly more – an important fact to know. Making an HLR Lookup standard prior to sending requested SMS messages sounds like a legitimate thing to do, right? A little upfront intelligence can help you make better business decisions.
How Spammers Abuse HLR Lookup
Best Practices for SMS Mobile MarketingThe GSMA, CTIA and OMA and many others have introduced guidelines designed to protect operators and consumers from mobile spam. Privacy by design is an industry methodology used to build privacy into any mobile solution. For marketers here are a few key items to consider:
- Consumer Opt-in Law: Are the marketing opt-in laws strong enough in your country to keep the SMS marketing channel clean and does the regulator offer services to help you comply?
- Double opt-in: Did you receive an affirmative response for both of your opt-in notices to your contact. Remember a non-answer doesn’t mean yes.
- Keep it current: If you haven't had a response from your prospect or client for over 12 months, should they be on your marketing list? Check the guidelines from your local industry association to ensure you know how often they recommend requesting updated approval from your SMS subscribers.
- Check and Double Check: What checks did you make to ensure the list was built legitimately? Are you sure you have the necessary approvals from the contact?
- Make it simple and clear. Be sure your contacts know how to remove themselves. It should be as easy as replying “unsubscribe”.
HLR Lookup worries Mobile OperatorsMobile operators are worried about HLR Lookup for a number of reasons. I don't go into details in this post, but you can find more details in the other posts listed below:
Stop SMS Spam
You may find the GSMA Spam Reporting Service interesting. Simply forward your spam message to 7726 (SPAM) or 33700
You may also find some of the other links useful.