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Telecom's Cellphone Spamming 29 August 2001 Edition
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Million $ Ideas
At last, the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook are revealed for all to see!
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Telecom are spammers and deserve to have their right to operate and use a cellular network revoked!

Harsh words -- but then again, that's my trademark isn't it?

But seriously, the telco's decision to send a blatantly commercial text message to thousands of cellphone users over the weekend is something that shows just how much contempt it has for its customers.

If Telecom wants to run an ad-funded cellular network then by all means it should do so -- but when customers are paying a premium price for an "average" service, it's unreasonable for the company to try and take two bites of the apple by bulk-sending 3rd-party ads.

Of course, like all good spammers, Telecom says that those who don't want to receive this unsolicited advertising can "opt out." Excuse me Telecom, but if you're so damned sure that people won't mind getting your spam, why not invite them to opt-in instead?

Text messaging over cellular phones is currently an enormous success and around the world, billions of such messages are sent every month. Nothing will kill this more quickly than the arrival of bulk-texting spammers. If Telecom wants to cut off its nose to spite its face then so be it -- but don't say you weren't warned.

Readers Say
(updated hourly)
  • Telecom Spam... - Lindsay
  • Selling Content... - Daniel
  • Telecom SPAM... - Peter
  • Telecom spam... - Greg
  • Vodafone "Spam" also... - David
  • Important Vodafone Difference... - Camryn
  • Have Your Say

    NZ On Web?
    I see that yet another local content site has sucked the kumara -- or has it? I recall that previous rumours of its death were greatly exaggerated, is this just another publicity stunt?

    Whether it has sucked itself or not doesn't really matter -- but what does matter is the difficulty that local (and overseas) sites are having in earning a penny or two.

    Regular readers will note the "Save The Aardvark" campaign running on this site and to date it has just about paid the annual coffee bill around here. I'm certainly grateful to those who have donated and the objective of the idea was not to allow an early retirement, but to get empirical evidence as to the viability of a "donation-funded" publication.

    Clearly ad-funded online publishing is a wash-out right now. Donation-funded publishing is also not viable. And, unless you've got some really unique and valuable content then charging a subscription is a sure-fire way to do little more than kill your audience.

    So, what about forming a "content consortium"?

    If enough content providers (large and small) are prepared to band together then it's possible that the synergy of all that content might just be enough to warrant people paying a small regular subscription.

    Yes, I've floated the idea before -- but now, maybe it's time to do something about it in order to protect our local online content scene before the .nz webspace becomes little more than a collection of brochure-ware sites and a dozen or so poorly-performing subscription-based operations.

    If the content offered by the consortium was good enough, smart ISPs could consider bundling a small (say $20 a year) access fee into their offering, thus giving them an edge over their competition and providing extra value to their customers.

    The total subs would he apportioned on a monthly basis amongst the sites in the consortium on the basis of unique visitor counts accumulated on a daily basis. If just one of the big-three ISPs opted for this, the subscription pool would be a significant amount of money -- and the revenues delivered to even a relatively small site would likely be far greater than that possible from advertising.

    It's feedback time. What do YOU think of this idea?

    Would it be worth $2 a month to foster and support the creation of good local content on the local webspace and to preserve the existence of the few good sites we already have?

    Would you choose an ISP that supported such a scheme even if they charged a dollar or two more a month?

    Have your say

    Save The Aardvark Fund
    Yes, I have had several donations to the Aardvark fund and I thank those who put their money where their mouse is :-)

    If guilt is gnawing away inside you then there's still time to donate.

    Just drop by and hand over your loot.


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