I believe that junk SMS/MMS messages are the worst kind of electronic communication. While there are many anti-SPAM laws, it is evident that, in South Africa at least, SMS spam is not taken incredibly seriously. Over the past few years with the laws being passed against unsolicited communications, I have seen increased occurrences of “reply NO” or “reply STOP” to opt-out of the SMS spam that I receive.
The issue I have with SMS/MMS spam is that there are poor protective measures against it when compared to the e-mail spam filters of today. Generally, I consider SMS messages on a more personal level than e-mail’s and if someone is sending me an SMS it is usually more personal than receiving an e-mail. I have found an article on IT News Africa (2008) stating that our third mobile operator in South Africa implemented an SMS anti-spam platform, though I am not a user of this network personally, I have not heard of any praise about this anti-spam platform (I had no idea it even existed until today), which does not restore any faith in the progress of the situation due to it only becoming worse over the past few years.
Another issue that I have is that to opt out of these messages you need to send an SMS, while it is an small cost per SMS, you should not have to pay to remove yourself from SPAM.
AMEinfo.com (2006) has an article on the United Arab Emirates mobile network Etisalat who launched a service where any subscriber can SMS a single number, free of charge, with the content providers name or short code to unsubscribe from the service. All SMS’s are routed via the same system which handles the unsubscriptions and bars any SMS’s to unsubscribed users.
I have not received any junk faxes before, but I would be far more accepting of these over cold calling due to faxes not requiring as much attention, and due to telephone calls requiring myself to stop what I am doing and speak to someone.
Regarding the web advertising, I am not bothered by on-screen advertising as I do understand the economics behind it and that websites do need revenue to run. Before the advent of pop-up blockers I did think that pop-up/under ads were incredibly annoying but these have been almost completely eradicated from my browsing experience due to the browsers built in popup blockers. The most annoying web-ad currently, in my opinion, are the full page ads that are shown prior to the webpage you are requesting, along with the in-text ads that tend to catch your mouse-click even without the intention of clicking on them due to their triggering on mouse hover.
A company called Tatango has produced an interesting infographic based on statistics of SMS Spam in the US
Text Message Marketing by Tatango.
AMEinfo.com (2006) Etisalat introduces SMS anti-spam service [Online]. Available from: http://www.ameinfo.com/78757.html (Accessed: 26 December 2010).
IT News Africa (2008) South Africa’s Cell C gets SMS Anti-Spam Platform [Online]. Available from: http://www.itnewsafrica.com/?p=1763 (Accessed: 26 December 2010).