January 14, 2009 7:50 AM PST

A text arrives. Oh, it's just an 'Idol' ad

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AT&T sent out text messages to 75 million customers--urging subscribers to tune in to the season premiere of American Idol.
(From The New York Times)

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14 comments

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I am a customer of AT&T but I am not a heavy texter nor have I ever voted (or watched for that matter) for idol but yet I still was texted about it. I think its really unprofessional to send text messages for tv shows. At least it was designated free since I don't have text messages as part of my plan. That would have added insult to injury
Posted by mike_flynn (5 comments )
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Way to go! More free publicity for AT&T and this show. I actually tune in every so often, but since I know something about music and am older than 16 I can't stand the teeny-pop these people dish out. I don't see what's the big deal...AT&T is sending a message to its clients to tune into a show that it sponsors. I have T-mobile and they include awful advertisements in the bill that's mailed. C'mon people, there are more important things in the world than the "unprofessional" act by AT&T.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
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Way to go ATT ... **** off your customer base promoting a god-awful program. I manage mobility for a global company and you've just sent our Chief Execs this crap. Not happy is an understatement.
Posted by Eddie-c (198 comments )
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Soon we will be required to manage an anti-text spam enterprise application.
Posted by Weaseliv (1 comment )
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Siegel said the message went to subscribers who had voted for Idol singers in the past, and other "heavy texters."

NOT TRUE. I've had my phone/ATT for 2 weeks (since Jan 1). I've NEVER voted for and Idle singer before, and have NEVER sent a text message on my new phone.
Posted by jbhaber (9 comments )
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Neither I or my wife have ever sent texts from our phones, yet we received this as well. We each get several spam messages a week from ATT- yet we never signed up for it. Can we sue under CAN-SPAM about this bad behaviour?
Posted by RainCaster (164 comments )
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I never text at all.
I would find it very annoying if I get one from AT&T and may consider canceling service apon such a text arrives on my cell phone.
Posted by inachu (963 comments )
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People, you all need to chill. I dislike unwanted advertising as much as the next guy, but this isn't a big deal if it doesn't cost you anything. So what that three seconds of your life was taken up deleting the message? Just opt out of future advertisements as the message explains. I've been with AT&T for years, and I don't receive messages like this because I long ago opted out. In the U.S., it's commonplace for businesses to advertise to you (duh). As long as it costs you nothing and you are able to opt out with reasonable ease, don't fret about it so much. There are more important things in life than getting pissed off about silly things; more people need to stop looking for reasons to get offended.
Posted by jaxstephens (429 comments )
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@jax(ass):

That is an utter load of crap. This is exactly how email based spam began. Idiots like you (a.k.a. the U.S. congress & senate) said "oh it's no big deal; it just takes a few seconds to delete it and move on...oh it doesn't cost you anything" Then spam takes off and an individual is hit with literally hundreds of spams a day. Can you imagine you phone going off that many times a day with text message notifications? Who's paying for my time and inconvenience to recharge my battery twice daily. Who pays for the replacement battery once it wears out due to too many recharges?

Idiots like you oversimplify the problem and is why our country is so screwed up. "Oh I can just charge this on my credit card and pay it back someday..." "Oh I can just take this ARM mortgage that I can't afford and refinance it when the equity goes up."

We've been here with spam via email; let's no go there with spam via SMS.

I'm not offended by the idea. I AM offended by idiots like you.
Posted by kojacked (1129 comments )
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jax, that doesn't make sense. I'm paying for phone service, it's not free. Unsolicited text messages are an unnecessary annoyance and ATT knows they're pushing the envelope, if we don't speak up, or even better up and leave the service why wouldn't they continue to push the envelope? How about friendly voicemail reminders of Dancing with the stars, or having to opt out for from each individual show/promotion, instead of blanket opt outs? They are providing a service to paying customers and should have an opt-in policy, not opt-out.
Posted by scratchface (19 comments )
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SMS spam from AT&T to AT&T customers is only legal because there is a preexisting business relationship. If they'd spammed my T-Mobile cell phone, they'd be breaking the law.
Posted by sjsobol (115 comments )
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Well, I'm glad to hear that if it doesn't cost me anything it's not spam. I guess I won't mind the Viagra ads in my e-mail in the future. They aren't spam because I didn't pay for them...plus, the e-mail SAYS I can opt out...
Posted by gtdtm (122 comments )
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It was a bad move on AT&T's part to send these messages. But it was an even worse move to try and defend them. Apologize to your customers, promise that it will never happen again, and fire the idiot who came up with this idea. They've only hurt their PR even more by trying to justify the action.
Posted by No Man (113 comments )
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I do believe it would be a fair exchange if people were allowed to send unsolicted text messages and emails to the CEO, and Board of AT&T for other services that the subsribers think these excutives might find interesting and useful. Why, there are plenty of personal products and endownment aids that are commonly sent in email that I'm sure that those excutives really could benefit having text ads sent to their phones and email.

Fair is fair, after all.
Posted by Vegaman_Dan (6683 comments )
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