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Mobile Marketing - think SNIPPETS!

As people look to the future of finding local goods and services -- the use "search," with search engines such as Google and Yahoo. But mobile communications is emerging as the killer app. Google and Yahoo are more heavily used on desktop computers...telephone companies are making deals to bring snippets of sports, weather and advertising to the cell phone and mobile palm computers.

So get ready for the next marketing wave -- mobile. Think "snippets"!

THE MOBILE MARKETING ASSOCIATION has released its 2006 revised industry guidelines for consumer best practices.

The MMA guidelines, which set out accepted wireless industry practices, are updated twice a year by a committee made up of members representing wireless carriers, aggregators and content providers. "The revisions attempt to stay ahead of the market and protect the consumer experience," said Laura Marriott, executive director of the MMA.

One of the main updates is the addition of language governing marketing to children. The rules call for industry participants to comply with all laws dealing with children and marketing--particularly the federal Children's Online Privacy Protection, or COPPA.

The guidelines' advertising and promotion section also seeks to clarify what "free" offers mean -- there shouldn't be any hidden costs. The MMA also approves "bonus" and "complimentary" as acceptable alternatives to "free."

MMA guidelines forbid viral messages from being forwarded by automatic means, such as an application that accesses someone's contact list or address book; the forwarding of messages to an Internet domain name assigned to a wireless operator for a mobile messaging service; and offering inducements in exchange for a consumer promise to forward a message is also prohibited.

However, word-of-mouth campaigns in which one mobile user manually enters another's number to receive a message, and the forwarded message goes to that recipient, are allowed.

Committee members include employees of Cingular Wireless, Enpocket, MTV Networks, m-Qube, Sprint Nextel and T-Mobile USA.