American Marketer


TCPA petition filed with FCC to support mobile messaging

November 5, 2013

Jack Philbin


By Jack Philbin

As most of us in mobile marketing now know, the new rule in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Telecommunication Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) went into effect Oct. 16.

After much review and consideration that included seeking input from experts of TCPA legislation and regulations, Vibes – along with governing industry bodies and other leading mobile marketing companies – believes there is a strong argument that the FCC’s intent was not for the Prior Express Written Consent (PEWC) rule to nullify existing databases of customers who have already given written consent pursuant to receive marketing messages.

We recognize the uncertainty has caused much angst in the industry, and the potential misinterpretation is leaving marketers feeling vulnerable to lawsuits. Therefore, we have decided to take action.

Vibes has jointly filed a petition alongside the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) and other industry leaders, asking the FCC to confirm that existing databases established under industry standards with written consent need not be re-opted in.

Vibes believes that seeking confirmation from the FCC is the best way to provide peace of mind that those who received express consent in writing following industry best practices can still send messages to their databases.

Future implications
Many marketers have made significant investments in building their mobile databases the right way following rigorous industry standards.

The outcome of this petition can protect these investments that marketers have already made in mobile messaging and provide clarity moving forward.

Not only do we need to protect our individual investments in mobile messaging, but we also need to protect SMS messaging as a viable channel in the future.

If we do not protect this channel, then marketers will go elsewhere, and customers will be left without this highly valued service.

Take action today
Everyone in the industry has the opportunity to take action.

The FCC has released a Public Notice announcing the petition and setting the comment cycle. All interested parties may participate by filing letters and comments supporting the petitions.

Letters may be filed at any time and comments must be submitted by Monday, Dec. 2.

Interested parties will also have an opportunity to respond to the comments by submitting reply comments by Tuesday, Dec. 17. Your support for this petition is necessary to help protect the future of mobile marketing.

Steps you can take right now:

Read the petition here.

• Submit letters at any time or comments by Dec. 2 in one of the following ways:

FCC’s Electronic Filing system available here;

• U.S. Postal Service First-Class, Express and Priority mail to the Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, 445 12th Street, SW, Washington, DC 20554;

• Commercial overnight mail (other than U.S. Postal Service Express Mail and Priority Mail) to 9300 East Hampton Drive, Capitol Heights, MD 20743; or

• Deliver your comments by hand to the FCC headquarters at 445 12th St., SW, Room TW-A325, Washington, DC 20554 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday.

OUR INDUSTRY has worked very hard to establish SMS/text message marketing as a valuable marketing channel for both consumers and marketers.

As marketers, you have invested time and money in cultivating valuable mobile databases of your loyal customers, so please join us in preserving that legacy for years to come.

Jack Philbin is cofounder/CEO of Vibes, a Chicago-based mobile marketing technology company, and chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) North America. Reach him at