Archive for the ‘Standards’ Category

Agencies behold! Today I ask you to look in the mirror and ask yourself one simple question.

“Are you proud and confident of your digital services, or are you faking the funk?”

If you are truly proud of your digital capabilities, feel free to stop reading now…

Over the last three years I have trained and consulted  dozens of agencies of all sizes, from the small local shop to the largest media agencies in the world. What has become clear is how easy it is to get caught up in “bright shiny object syndrome” – focusing on the latest and greatest new media platforms or trends that hits the trades. We all do it from time to time, and don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of opportunities in emerging media. However, it is important to understand that it is not the sexy emerging channels and new technology that create the base of most digital marketing programs, but rather the tried and true digital staples that have shaped the digital ecosystem up until this point in time. Funny how easy it is to forget that simple fact.

The Future (Present) Is Bright

There is no contesting the fact that there is more evolution occurring before our eyes than ever before. But there are hundreds of agencies who are still working on catching up to the curve.  These agencies should be cognizant of how easy it is to lose sight of the fundamentals in the quest to skip to the head of the line,  which does not compensate for a lack of general digital capabilities. Offering clients a social media program or talking about locations based services (LBS), or making a website optimized for the iPad might prove that you know what the newest trends are – you might even get several small projects out of it – but it will not help you drive your clients’ businesses forward in an impactful and holistic way, nor will it help secure a longer term digital relationship with your clients.

Back to Basics

Mastering the ability to plan, execute and manage “traditional” digital media and marketing programs based on clearly defined objectives is a prerequisite to venturing into the emerging media world. Granted, today social and mobile programs are leaving emerging status and becoming a standard part of the mix, but without a proficiency rooted in best practices surrounding reaching, engaging and influencing consumers, optimizing search engine discoverability, and measuring and optimizing these activities, any efforts into the emerging media world will inevitably be shallow and incomplete. Emerging media is not a replacement of traditional media, but a compliment. This is as true for TV as it is for the internet and all of its evolving sub-channels (we’ll leave newspapers out of this conversation for now). Most digital and integrated agencies make their bread and butter from “traditional digital services” – digital strategy, media planning, buying & management, search engine marketing (SEM) & search engine optimization (SEO), web development and creative, and analytics. Only then can you truly maximize the impact of emerging platforms on consumer engagement as well as agency profitability.

Making It Work

Successful agencies have established specific processes to combat the labor intensity and lower margins associated with certain aspects of providing digital services. With proficiency across the board, agencies can determine where the margins exist and how to focus on making money in a cut throat and fast paced competitive ecosystem. As clients’ digital spending increases, the ability to generate significant revenues and profit will increase accordingly. Many technologies exist to help automate and centralize specific tasks, such as ad servers for centralized ad delivery, measurement, and reporting; bid management systems for bidding and optimizing search marketing programs; social media monitoring tools for aggregating buzz, sentiment and trends within the social sphere; DSP’s and data exchanges for second channel audience buying; dynamic creative optimizers for multivariate testing of creative attributes, just to name a handful. But keep in mind that technology is merely a tool to automate mundane and inefficient tasks and facilitate human-based insight generation. Technology requires management. There is no plug and play solution – no silver bullet to replace talent and knowledge.

Challenge yourself and your team regularly. Times have changed. There is a lot to learn, and it may be the time to pay your dues all over again. Embrace pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone. It’s all worth it. As the saying goes, knowledge is power.

A lack of knowledge is not a problem. However, not developing a plan to develop the knowledge, and focusing on bright shiny objects can be your downfall.

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Online GRPAs many readers of this blog know,  I often expose my inner media geek. Since leaving the agency world two years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to share all of the secret digital media sauce amassed throughout a carreer at the healm of an innovative,  nimble and successful digital agency.
 
I now spend my time consulting other agencies and marketers, and presenting digital media planning & buying, and social media marketing training seminars around the country as part of my role at Laredo Group.  In today’s edition of the Laredo Group newsletter, I authored an article about the role of GRP’s in digital media planning, and decided that it is too important a topic not to share with you. Would love to hear your thoughts and comments! Enjoy…
 
To GRP or Not to GRP?
Few topics evoke such passionate debate among senior level media strategists as “the role of the GRP/TRP metric online”. For the purpose of this article, each generic reference to GRP is in actuality a TRP reference, as is the case in most media conversations.
 
Since the dawn of media planning time, media impact has been predicted and evaluated as a function of the relationship of reach and frequency against a defined target universe – essentially the percentage reach against a target multiplied by the frequency:
  • GRP = (Reach/Target Universe x 100) x Frequency
Generally, the Nielsen television universe is used as the denominator in the reach calculation due to its close representation of the actual universe of US households.  Proponents of a related metric, the iGRP, use the online universe of the target as the denominator of the calculation.
 
Allow me to lay out the arguments of both sides…                                     
 
The argument for using GRP’s goes something like this: Advertisers use GRP’s to measure traditional media, so why should online be any different?  Having an apples-to-apples metric allows advertisers to evaluate all media uniformly and in a more integrated fashion as part of a mix.
 
The argument against GRP’s: We shouldn’t fit a square peg of new media dynamics into the round hole of a traditional media planning model.  The GRP doesn’t account for the unique attributes of digital media, such as engagement and relevant targeting.  “Apples-to-apples” comparisons are rare because online targets are more psychographically defined, while traditional GRP evaluations only incorporate demographics.  The iGRP further muddies the proverbial waters by using a different universe than the traditional GRP altogether, thereby countering the primary argument that the GRP provides an apples-to-apples comparison across media.
 
Whether you are for or against the use of GRP’s, nobody will argue against the importance of understanding how reach and frequency affect campaign impact.
There are plenty of ways to measure this influence and develop media mix models without retrofitting the GRP.
 
While the argument focuses around the GRP, the real issue quite simply stems from a difference in media currency, not evaluation metrics.  While the unit of media currency for both traditional and digital media is called the “impression”, the underlying currencies are different.  The currency of traditional media is “audience”, where impressions equal reach. However, digital media impressions are equal to reach x frequency.  As a result there is an over abundance of devalued online ad inventory.  Just think about the impact of the value of $1 if the government just flooded the market with newly minted currency.
 
As an example of these currency differences  – if you buy a spot during a TV program that reaches 1MM viewers, you are buying 1MM impressions, and reach equals 1MM.  Frequency is a function of additional buys.  When you buy 1MM impressions from a particular website, you buy a share of voice, not the total audience. In this instance, your 1MM impressions can yield 1MM people at a frequency of 1, or 50,000 people at a frequency of 20.  In either case your GRP’s would not give you the ability to judge the relationship of reach and frequency of your buy – a frequency cap would.
Online GRP's
The Final Word –
 
With all the breadth of data and analytic tools available, why focus on a metric that aims to predict impact, when impact and influence can be measured?  Make sure that all buys have frequency cap parameters so that you can predict reach and frequency, then measure the metrics that matter based on your objectives. Online, you can actually measure the frequency at which you hit a point of diminishing returns on branding effectiveness, or the frequency at which you achieve your best direct response performance.  After all, isn’t media impact what the GRP tries to predict in the first place?
 
 
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supertvAdjectives sound familiar?
Two years ago former Carat CEO David Verklin left the media agency to become CEO of Canoe Ventures, a company that has a sole focus of making television advertising addressable, engaging and interactive.

Canoe has been working with MSO’s around the country and Cable Labs , the non-profit research and development consortium of cable operators that is dedicated to pursuing new  technologies for  MSO’s, to establish what you may call the framework for the evolution of television advertising’s potential.

Benefits and functionality sound familiar?
The new framework provides format standards, increased availability and usage of metadata, measurement & reporting, and interoperability across different systems.

Convergence here we come, finally.

The Official Word
From the press release today: the new “Advanced Advertising 1.0 Specification” comprises a set of component specification and standards that, individually, allow cable companies to provide more innovative types of advanced ads, such as interactive advertising, Video on Demand advertising within existing VOD platforms, and advanced forms of addressable advertising. Taken together, the Advanced Advertising specification allows multi-system operators (MSOs) to offer such products with consistent technologies, metrics and interfaces across a national footprint. The Advanced Advertising 1.0 spec was developed and will be maintained by a CableLabs Working Group composed of MSO, Canoe and CableLabs technical leads, with selective input from the vendor community.

For the techie geeks like me, the current version of the spec includes the following component pieces:

  1. Specifications:
    1. ETV – A CableLabs specification for interactivity that can be implemented on millions of digital set-top boxes deployed by cable operators. ETV, based on the Enhanced Television Binary Interchange Format or “EBIF,” is part of the OCAP specification so advertising applications written for ETV can run on OCAP (OpenCable Applications Platform) specification, intended to enable developers of interactive television services and applications to design products so that they can run successfully on any cable television system in North America.
    2. VOD Metadata 2.0 – A CableLabs specification for descriptive data associated with a package of VOD content, whether a movie or a long-form advertisement. This metadata is used in MSO and programmer VOD systems today, but in the future will assist in the delivery of prospective ad products for the VOD space, or in adding greater addressability to different types of ads.
  2. Interfaces: There are currently four interfaces for advanced advertising, targeting EBIF, that are in the early draft phase but will be added to the 1.0 spec
    1. Service Measurement Summary Interface (SMSI) – enables MSOs to export information about the execution of a campaign.
    2. Interactive Fulfillment Summary Interface (IAF) – provides a means for messaging generated by an interactive application to be exposed to an external entity.
    3. Interactive Application Messaging Platform (IAM) – provides a critical interface between interoperable applications (apps distributed to more than one MSO) and MSO systems, defining the common form of messages instantiated by interoperable apps and how MSO systems decode them.
    4. Campaign Information Package Interface (CIP) – provides information to the MSOs on the configuration of application messaging processing, such as identifiers relevant to the messages.
  3. Standards: Relevant SCTE standards that the CableLabs Working Group has decided should be supported as part of the Advanced Advertising 1.0 spec
    1. SCTE 35 – enables measurement, enhanced applications and ad placement on linear and on-demand content – includes related support from SCTE 30 / 67 / 104.
    2. SCTE 130 – separates new addressable ad delivery systems from ad decision systems that allow for dynamic ad selection for interactive, linear and on-demand content.

What Does This All Mean?
Canoe has propelled the industry forward, and the first step of creating the standards and framework for a national roll-out was the biggest step. Within the next few weeks the first pilot programs will deliver custom creative to consumers in different geographic locations across a national campaign. The anticipation is to next move addressability to a household level.  Later this year we’ll see what has been a drab implementation of VOD pushed into the iTV promise that we have all been waiting for – where a consumer can interact directly with ads and click into more engaging experiences.

On top of all of this, the new framework also sets the stage for the eventuality of centralized ad delivery, and direct set-top box-level research. It’s a bright day for the TV industry.

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buy-sell-exchange-photo For those who are wondering why I am writing about the TV industry today, the annual TV upfronts is an important event that affects the entire  media ecosystem, and ignoring the largest macro-economic event in the media industry is not a wise move.

For anyone who has worked for a major marketer, media agency or  TV network, the month of May represents an interesting and eventually an evolutionarily outdated event – TV upfronts.  The upfronts (for those that live under a rock) is the time of year that major advertisers and their agencies plan and buy a large share of their TV ads for the coming year. The networks package up their new series and existing hits and provide a dog and pony show that only the advertising industry can do.

Over the past few years we have witnessed some interesting changes in the upfronts. On the buy-side, in some instances major marketers pulled out, opting to plan and buy ad hoc throughout the year rather than commit to large scale upfront buying (but not to a degree that affected media sellers or the tradition itself).  On the sell-side, we’ve seen a full on integration of digital channels in the packaging of ad programs, and there are small upfront events hosted by online only entities as well (mainly video), taking full advantage of the planning season. The upfront sessions have as much to do with major networks selling online inventory, particularly video, as they do television. Well …  maybe not as much, but it’s become increasingly more important to the networks.

Digital Video

Hulu was just officially ranked the number two video site on the web after YouTube.com. For the advertising industry that is huge news. Unlike YouTube, which grew because of consumer generated content, Hulu grew because consumers embraced the high-value production type content you would expect from NBC and Fox. The consumer adoption is a boon for marketers. Rumor has it that Hulu is conducting ad hoc upfront presentations and I imagine that we’ll soon hear about a small bash during the formal upfronts in May. The only downside – the price tag. Ads on Hulu are sold at CPM’s that are exponentially higher than TV. That simply can’t last and the model will have to change.

Advertisers Pulling Out?

Apparently many big advertisers, like P&G for example, have been exercising their contractual rights to cancel a portion of what they purchased upfront last May, which will severly impact networks income between now and the 2009 upfront in May. I have to imagine this sets a somber tone for the upfronts and the potential from these same advertisers and categories. So it begs the question – in this economy, what will the 2009 upfronts be like? Oh yeah and the bigger question. .. does it really matter for anyone other than the networks?

Yes TV ratings are eroding as it is, yes low consumer confidence will affect budget for big box retailers and their budgets, yes the automotive & financial categories in an upheaval, and yes there is a general conservative and ROI-sensitive mindset amongst marketers. You’d think that this year’s upfronts will be going down in history as an evolutionary milestone of marketer hesitancy. We’ll see. Networks have begun selling at higher CPM’s as a way of adapting. One thing’s for sure – the trend continues to give digital a leg up, even amid our own identity crisis. The lack of standards, high CPM’s, and confusion over measurement hasn’t made it easy in the digital video world, but the growth rates and addressability cannot be ignored by advertisers.

Another interesting tidbit – Ad Age reported that Univision is scrapping plans for the traditional upfront presentation in New York (last year was a bash in Lincoln Center) and will be hosting several smaller events in key agency markets, bringing the presentation to agencies versus asking them to fly in to the upfronts in NY. Probably a wise move and definitely a sign of the times. CBS will be selling less inventory upfront and focus on continued sales during the scatter market (ie: the rest of the year). NBC has jockeyed for position and will begin their upfront presentations a bit earlier than the other networks, a move they made last year as well.

So, Why Does This Matter To Us Digital Folks?

The concept of the upfronts revolves around supply & demand, or at least the concept of it (often there are no real supply/demand issues). Digital media is rarely purchased upfront because buyers know that there is often an endless supply of inventory to reach our targets. In certain categories like pharma or automotive (even in today’s market), there is a real supply/demand issue and buys occur “upfront”, but the timeline of upfront is different for each advertiser. The concept of the industry getting together for a few weeks of the year to plan out a significant portion of the market is unheard of and will almost never (never say never) happen. The moral of the story is that marketers have a common currency (audience) that they understand, and a historical understanding of what media wieght (GRP’s) required to move their businesses. As an industry we (the digerati) have not been able to help marketers establish that same historical level of budget allocation confidence. Marketers understand that their consumers spend a significant percentage of their media time online, that they are addressable, that we can engage them, and that we can measure that engagement – but until we can establish more industry level data and case studies on specific digital budget allocations as part of a media miz affecting their businesses, we will be stuck in the holding pattern we are now in. It is no wonder the web is often pigeonholed into the direct response bucket by many. DR is very black and white. It’s a shame that the medium has come to this. There have been many calls for creativity, and for revised standards, but I also add to that the call for more research and testing at an industry level. Something the industry once embraced, but has fallen by the wayside. Digital media IS the most accountable media, we CAN engage consumers, it DOES move the needle. I ask the IAB and 4A’s – can we systematically formalize this data for the world to see?

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402px-the_thinker_auguste_rodinShame, shame, shame on me for breaking my own blog rules. The last 2 weeks has been the longest I’ve gone without updating The Digital Blur in a very long time. I apologize to my regular readers and have adequately reprimanded myself…

So, a lot has happened in the last two weeks!

Last week the 4A’s (American Association of Advertising Agencies) conference concluded. Thanks to the wonders of Twitter, I was able to stay up to date on the major sound bytes throughout the days, as they were happening, thanks to some of my fellow colleagues, like David Smith of Mediasmith (thanks David and others!). There were many discussions regarding the value of digital marketing, how agencies can deal with the shifts to social media and generally the economics of making money offering digital advertising and marketing services. But more on that in its own post…

Bigger Ad Units

For at least the last year or so, many in the industry have been screaming from the mountaintops that online advertising needs to become more creative, engage consumers better, establish more value and prove that it can push the needle for marketers. Last month Randal Rothernberg from the IAB posted a passionate manifesto and a call for the industry to step up (worth a read by the way). Today the Online Publishers Association released a press release regarding a proposal for three new standard ad units:

  • The Fixed Panel (recommended dimension is 336 wide x 860 tall), which looks naturally embedded into the page layout and scrolls to the top and bottom of the page as a user scrolls.
  • The XXL Box (recommended dimension is 468 wide x 648 tall), which has page-turn functionality with video capability.
  • The Pushdown (recommended dimension is 970 wide x 418 tall), which opens to display the advertisement and then rolls up to the top of the page.

While we know that bigger units have proven over time to increase both brand measures and direct response, we as an industry are still missing one of the fundamental challenges. We work with a different media currency than other media. While most media sells audience (impressions = audience / reach), the digital industry sells gross impressions (reach x frequency). Savvy media buyers request frequency caps and plan around reach & frequency, but from what reps tell me, this is the exception and not the rule. Likewise many buyers don’t even track the depth of metrics available. With the currency difference measurement is key. One last point is that accountability does not by default equal direct response. All approaches are measurable and more accountable online, not just DR.

Badder Facebook Pages

Yes that’s “Badder” in the good sense of the word! Last week Facebook converted “fan pages”  into the marketers’ equivalent of a Facebook profile, complete with the inclusion of all activity into friends’ feeds (so far the holy grail of Facebook). It’s amazing how much steam Facebook has picked up in the last 18 months. Or is it? Maybe they simply built a better mousetrap, so to speak. The experience, social graph connections and permission based ecosystem that Facebook provides is far superior at attracting the general public than other social networks. Historically (albeit a short history), Facebook has not been overtly focused on ad sales like the other social nets. The advertising products available have been innovative, and where possible, take advantage of incorporating social graph data. There has been no cost for marketers to create groups or fan pages, nor to distribute applications. Many marketers have been quite successful at engaging consumers in this manner.  The conversion of fan pages into business profiles and having the activity included in the Facebook news feed will create far more engagement. This was a great move, and inevitably the customization and tools attached to this can be a future source of revenue for Facebook.

Burgeoning Social Networks

(forewarning of a little sarcasm and devil’s advocate positioning to follow)

Nielsen reported today that as of Dec ’08, social network and blog activity has surpassed email,  as the now 4th most popular activity on the web.  Newsflash – social media is growing faster than other media – well…all together now – DUH! Heck, 3 of the top 10 websites are social media.

picture11

But let’s dig into this a bit, shall we…

Nobody is unaware of the fact that social media is exponentially growing. Also, let’s be realistic, how much can email (or search or portal) reach grow? We’d have to invent a whole new population for that. Tracking email reach, which involves installed clients, may not provide the complete picture here. Either way – does it really matter? Email isn’t going away. In fact, the more social media you participate in, the more email becomes the glue where you receive reminders that there is a message waiting for you  in one of your social inboxes.  I actually predict a social media shake out at some point – people have information and inbox overload. Ultimately, an inbox is an inbox is an inbox, right? From the consumer’s point of view, some of their email is now just heading to a different inbox. Even consumers accessing content via RSS feeds will reduce their reliance on email for accessing similar content, including our marketing communication. Of course, from a marketer’s perspective access to these inboxes, and the loss of control, is a whole other ball game and that is the angle here.  The bigger picture is a general shift from “push” to “pull” – from outbound communication totally controlled by the marketer, to inbound communication controlled by the consumer. I would have loved to see the Nielsen report broken out demographically. I have seen research that shows the younger generations abandoning the frequent daily use of email as a regular communication channel in favor of social networks, but nothing indicates email is going away from a reach perspective. Even according to the Nielsen report – it’s the second fastest growing activity on the web. The web has always had its roots in communities and they have always garnered a fair share of traffic and participation and always will. Email is dead – long live email.

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video_iconI could not agree more that the industry needs a new video standard. Amen to that. I interact with enough senior agency folks to know that we all want a new standard. So I’m not quite sure how the new effort from Publicis’ VivaKi launched without the collective support and participation of any of the other holding companies. To that I say “Really? You couldn’t rally the support from any of the other agencies?”. That in and of itself could possibly put a damper on things. VivaKi managed to incorporate participation from some of the industry’s top online video publishers (AOL, Broadband Enterprises, CBS, Discovery, Hulu, Microsoft, and Yahoo, and a handful of VivaKi clients who will be testing new permutations of video units throughout the year with the intention of rolling out what VivaKi hopes to dub as a new standard by year end (thus allowing enough time for publishers to package it with the 2010 up-fronts). Of course, VivaKi clients will then have first  dibs on the new units.

Although in my humble opinion, the partial collaboration doesn’t wreak of a process that standards will emerge from, it should shake things up a bit, and I’m glad to see someone doing it (albeit I would have rather seen a collective of active agencies pool their collective thoughts together on this versus just VivaKi).

I’ve been preaching this for at least 3 years now. The online video model should focus on harnessing some of the unique attributes of digital media. Currently it replicates the TV model. I’m hoping to see the new formats include all of the following:

From the consumer’s perspective:

– Interactivity & Interoperability: Video as an experience not solely a message

– Relevancy: Improve the segmentation of content and the ability for consumers to find specific video via improved search functionality and recommendation engines

From the industry’s perspective:

– Interactivity: marketers need the ability to engage the consumer and provide the necessary depth of experience consumers have become accustomed to online

– Addressability & Improved Targeting: current targeting parameters for video are pretty weak, this is a major area that needs imrovement – delivering different content and ads on the fly to specific consumer segments

– Evolution Of Ad Serving  For Video: if agencies had the ability to serve video themselves, they would have more control over on-the-fly changes and the benefit of  immediacy of data for analysis

– Portability & Syndicatability:Video content providers and publishers with a need for more video content would benefit from a standardized method for dynamically serving these new video experiences, sans the restrictions of one video player versus another

New Metrics? Not So Fast…
You’ll notice that I did not mention common or new metrics. We have a slough of metrics already, such as levels and duration of engagement, increases in branding effectiveness and DR metrics that can and should be applied based on the client’s goals. If anything, we need more data on the correlation between advertising metrics and market impact (this is true for other aspects of online media as well). For example – what is the interrelationship between engagement percentage, duration of engagement, reach and impact on influence, brand preference and purchase intent (and over time, market share)? Ultimately every marketing investment is being compared to every other option available, so we must look at the overall ability of channels, formats and options to influence the target, not just the subset of engagement (or worse yet, response)… and this must be analyzed in the context of a media mix.

The Model & The Media Mix
The media industry has come come a long way and yet we never have been able to definitely develop media mix models that are universally accepted – why? Because there is no such universality. But furthermore there is little industry-level research on the correlation between various advertising metrics and the true influence within a market. The GRP/TRP has been used as a surrogate for the inter-relationship between reach & frequency and market impact, but this metric is predicated on the replication of historical performance and has not evolved to include the unique attributes of digital media so therefore it is not a standard used online. Hence so many career marketers and traditional media folks pulling the hair out of their heads trying to figure out how to integrate the canary in the coal mine.

The Moral Of This Online Video Story
We must focus on mapping the features and requirements of online video standards to the unique attributes of the medium itself, while evolving the consumer experience. Specifically, we must provide engaging and relevant experiences with the ubiquity of text, the interoperability of functionality beyond video, the discoverability and contextual relevancy of search, and the portability of RSS, we then have a platform that has aligned with the trends of online consumer behavior. Increased consumption will follow, and advertisers will follow the light.

What do you think about the next generation of online video standards?

4Yesterday (and in some instances today, after the show aired) a significant number of AT&T subscribers received text messages promoting American Idol without opting in for the message. How did this happen? Well the only way it could happen – the one entity with access to the subscribers spammed us.

The SMS read: AT&T Free Msg: Get ready for American Idol! AI 8 starts this Tues (1/13) at 8pm on FOX. Check out AT&T’s official AI web site from your PC – http://www.att.com/idol for the latest info on our $1MM sweepstakes, test your AI IQ by playing the trivia game, and much more. Reply stop to end mktg msgs. (Resounding sound of millions of pissed off people texting STOP follows).

How much backlash and how quickly? Well here we are less than 24 hours later…

Twitter

Google

From the NY Times article:

“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,” Mr. Siegel said. He added, “It makes perfect sense to use texting to tell people about a show built on texting.”

“Mr. Siegel said the message went to subscribers who had voted for “Idol” singers in the past, and other “heavy texters.” He said the message could not be classified as spam because it was free and because it allowed people to decline future missives.

“It’s clearly marked in the message what you need to do if you don’t want to participate,” he said. “It couldn’t be more open and transparent.”

Really? It couldn’t be more transparent? How about not spamming your customers just because you are the only one with access to them and allowing them to opt-in as is required for all other messages?

Although I expect the backlash to continue (the carriers are the gateway to our mobile consumers and have also been seen as one of the hindrances of scale in the past, although not so much anymore), I also expect a healthy amount of conversation about the growth of mobile marketing. The silver lining, maybe.