Jon Rowsell, txtNation’s managing director, attended the AIME Quarterly General Meeting on 23rd October in the City of London.
It was kickstarted by Garret Doyle, COO of Irish consultancy Red Flag. Garret was formerly CEO of iTouch, a substantial aggregator ten years ago, which was subsequently acquired. Red Flag lobbies on behalf of diverse industries, with recent activity centring on big tobacco’s issues with non-branded packaging and aiding charities with Premium SMS donations to maximise Gift Aid. Garret shared his experiences of lobbying for policy change with its benefits and pitfalls.
The Payment Services Directive (PSD) was a recurring topic at the GM, where we learned more about how AIME, PPP and the MBG are working together, alongside the UK Treasury, on the wording of this key directive, including exemptions for mobile billing and marketing from Financial Services Authority oversight. Selling physical goods via mobile, which is currently blocked, was also touched upon in that context.
Next up was Jeremy Stafford-Smith, Vodafone B2B Compliance Manager, who invited txtNation along with other L1s to a workshop on the customer journey, focussed on bringing consistency, timeliness and accuracy of information throughout the value chain to benefit end users. txtNation will report back on the success of these customer care implementations in November.
Jeremy Flynn from Empello, which monitors compliance on behalf of Vodafone, highlighted the importance of prominent, clear customer care details and the crucial responsiveness of support personnel through each provided contact method. Receiving prompt service was heavily underlined as key to providing effective customer care and he reminded us of the simple choices open to complainants: the number checker on PhonepayPlus’s website, which acts as a database of all registered L1 providers, and the prominent, red “Complain” button, highlighting the importance of providing timely customer care.
AIME has been doing a good job, proactively targeting other sectors to stimulate member activity, with recent representation of the organisation at the Telemedia trade show. Other activity is planned, with the focus on apps and gaming at Apps World (12th – 13th November) and on iGaming at Pay360 (25th November), as well as next year’s Digital Media Summit (February 2015). Major press and online media coverage is also planned.
This year saw AIME release their Digital Marketing Guidelines, following lengthy consultation, and although they do not yet form part of PPP’s official Code, they will be taken into account as mitigation when adopted during tribunal.
The AIME Early Warning System, which confidentially keeps industry ahead of potential issues through inter-group notifications, was trumpeted as a success, though a request for more submissions was heard. Similarly, AIME is planning to form a group called COBRA, drawing parallels with the UK Government’s emergency response group of the same name set up to respond to emergency situations in the realm of interactive media and entertainment, helping reduce potential consumer harm and relieve resources by stemming problems before they escalate.
Next was exciting news of a 2015 Telemedia / AIME UK event to be held somewhere outside of London, details to be released in the coming months. We’ll write about that on the blog when it is announced.
AIME has formed a new Charity Working Group attended by Children In Need, Comic Relief, Soccer Aid, Cancer Research, among other charities, with the primary aim of collecting Gift Aid through SMS reply rather than mobile micro-sites. The opportunity effectively represents a £3.75m blackhole, where donors don’t complete the requirements necessary to avoid 25% of the donation going into UK government coffers.
Rory Maguire of AIME received praise for playing a notable part in the ongoing 13th Code Consultation, backing various changes including upping the maximum daily cost per “call” (same will apply to SMS) to £45 from £30, the prior permission regime changes that mean it should need less administration to go live with services by reducing the lengthy approval process, and a lower barrier to contest tribunal decisions.
Various parts of the consultation were objected to, including, importantly, the classification of children’s services, with outliers like Candy Crush Saga being classified as a children’s service, due to it’s cartoon nature, despite the biggest user demographic comprising women in the 18 – 30 age bracket.
Other business saw calls for AIME being involved in EE’s recent announcement, with Three’s upcoming backing, that will herald new rules preventing multibill Premium SMS so that you can no longer send, for example, 2 x £1.50 messages to bill £3.00, as well as signalling a change to all regulatory messages so that the likes of spend reminders and Payforit opt-in PINs have to be terminated via their direct routes, as opposed to cheaper standard rate MT routes.
All in all, it was a busy, proactive and positive meeting that focussed on a number of vital topics to our sector.