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New TRAI regulations on Do Not Call

September 27th, 2011 · 7 Comments

I have written multiple times in the past about the ill-thought out TRAI guidelines on allegedly combating spam. If ever there was something that was not good for both consumers and businesses, this is one such set of rules. They come into force from today, and I am quite sure they are going to disrupt plenty of people’s lives when they realise a lot of the good things that SMSes did are no longer going to be available to them.

In India, SMS has become a part of the business processes of many organisations – and consequently, a part of life for consumers. Yes, one of the side-effects has been that of spam, as the price of SMS has fallen rapidly, and businesses have realised its utility. At the same time, most consumers have also learnt to deal with the increase in spam. Phone displays have become better showing the senderID and first few words in the message, so it is as easy to ignore as it is to open.

Putting arbitrary constraints on what are important tools for customer engagement and acquisition is just not done.

I have been off the Do Not Call list for 9 months now, and I can assure now there is no problem dealing with the increase in messages (or even calls). The good things SMSes deliver (news updates, alerts, PNR info, movie tickets info, etc.) far outweigh the ‘unsolicited commercial’ messages. My reco: get your number off the list!

Note: I am an interested party because my company offers SMS services to enterprises.

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7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ranjith // Sep 27, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I too agree that this will block many of the good SMSes.

    I wonder why isn’t there a software that will detect the spam SMSes and do some kind of filtering ? Is that because SMS is not that common in the US and hence no one cared to develop ? If somebody develops such an app for different platforms (iOs, android etc), there is a business opportunity i guess.

  • 2 Statspotting // Sep 27, 2011 at 8:25 am

    This is a huge, huge problem, particularly regarding calls. the filtering process to separate the useful from the junk is going to be based on some kind of a reputation system, that does not exist yet

  • 3 Siddharth Chawla // Sep 27, 2011 at 9:46 am

    I simply do not understand why should TRAI interfere in reducing SPAM. It is a problem which has to be solved by users and SMS providers. If it is such a big problem solutions will emerge. There is no reason to assume that someone somewhere cannot solve the problem better than TRAI and that we kids need help from TRAI.

    These people just freakin want to control every part of our lives.

    Siddharth

  • 4 Piyush // Sep 27, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I do not agree with your assessment. SMS and spam calls are huge pain. I would rather have a silent phone that constant spam smses making it buzz. I am so glad TRAI has finally implemented it. Finally a much more silent day today.

  • 5 Meenal Jhala // Sep 27, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Rajesh, I agree with Piyush. Even after you had put in a request for the DND, you still got bombarded with messages and calls. I am quite relieved with the new TRAI guidelines .

  • 6 Akshar // Sep 28, 2011 at 9:43 am

    We are seriously exasperated with these guidelines. Last one year we worked on a project for hospital where we use sms to keep track of poor patients who travel all the way from various parts of the country to the hospital. We were trying to understand if sending regular and helpful reminders help them and us to identify possibly symptoms as early as possible. (Oral cancer).

    We developed everything, and started sending sms. All worked well till yesterday. Now my service provider tells me that those patients cant reply to the sms because sender Id has to be numeric. We had spent so many hours just training those poor illiterate patients how to reply to a sms we send them. All changes now!

  • 7 mockingbuddha // Sep 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    are opt in’s such an unoriginal idea? use opt ins and die by dates and the problem can be solved cooperatively rather than aggressively.

    now i see some operators trying to find ways out of the trai work, the solution seems to be to use international channels to deliver sms, at a higher cost to the bombardier.

    there is a thin line between getting your message across and getting it into someone’s face. in such cases, harder the rule, worse the problem becomes. these borderlines of conflict are best solved in a spirit of self restraint and mutual cooperation.

    there is evidence that sms does good, and that too much sms does cause bad.walking the line for maximum benefit and minimum pain is not a problem that needs so much deliberation, as long as everyone plays by some self imposed restraints.

    unlike the censor board in india, the hays commission which oversees american movie censorship is an industry body, and it seems to have done pretty well, to have handicapped american’s cinema’s degeneracy into pornography.

    a similar solution in which Indian VAS operators and cellular operators join in and work by self imposed rules can be a better solution that a TRAI overlord.

    it is a given that when you don’t govern yourself, you subject yourself to others governance. the sms case is a classic case of self misgovernance.

    an independent and self censoring body to which cellular operators and vas providers join in may be a better long term solution.

    the way i see it, rajesh is actually going to gain in the long run, the sms he sends are valued and paid for. so what is the problem? just raise prices!

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