AT&T spams customers’ phones with ‘Idol’ ads
Some AT&T Wireless customers have voted an emphatic no on a promotion for “American Idol” that popped up on their phones this week.
AT&T, a sponsor of the show, said it sent text messages to a “significant number” of its 75 million customers, urging them to tune in to the season premiere on Tuesday night. But some recipients thought the message was a breach of cellphone etiquette, and gave it the kind of reaction that the “Idol” judge Simon Cowell might give an off-key crooner.
The online service Twitter had a steady stream of complaints. A user named Nick Dawson wrote: “Seriously AT&T? Did you just text me twice during a meeting to tell me about ‘American Idol?’ Very professional!”
Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T Wireless, said the message was meant as a friendly reminder. “We want people to watch the show and participate,” Siegel said. He added, “It makes perfect sense to use texting to tell people about a show built on texting.”
Because AT&T is a sponsor of “American Idol,” only its customers can use their cellphones to vote for their favorite singers via text message — so viewer participation means more revenue for AT&T…
Richard Cox, the chief information officer for Spamhaus, a nonprofit antispam organization based in Britain, countered: “It’s absolutely spam. It’s an unsolicited text message. People who received it didn’t ask for it. That’s the universal definition of spam.”
Anyone expect some higher purpose – or a better excuse – from AT&T?