(UPDATE 1): NARAL rejected from setting up SMS short code with Verizon

NARAL_logo.png Sort of disappointed with Verizon WIreless.
They’re refused NARAL, a pro-choice group that was looking to get a SMS short code.
It’s not that I don’t understand where they’re coming from, but they’re walking a REALLY fine line pulling the “contraversial content” out of their code of content. See, the problem with the whole the term contraversial is that it’s subjective, not objective. What else is that the text messages are a user requested content. Thus, you wouldn’t be getting this type of text message.
Here’s the logic behind this. For every person that finds NARAL contraversial, there’s also those that find certain religions contraversial. Go figure that FAITH is an SMS code. Don’t believe me? Go search for it on the CSCA search.


The point here isn’t if either group is contraversial. In fact, I could totally understand if using that policy line for a hate group. The point here is that it seems that they’re drawing a line between a moral stand which is up to each individual to make. The fact that SMS codes are a subscription type service means that the user has to agree to that service. Thus, the terms birds of a feather holds.
Since Verizon Wireless is NOT a private company anymore, they can’t make these types of decisions that wreak of conservative standings versus actual business decisions. If they were a private corporation, then I’d also understand the stance. I would be curious as to whom made this decision and where their faith and politics lie. It wouldn’t be surprising at all to me if there was a personal opinion in this decision.
In my opinion, this move will just turn into tremendously bad public relations for Verizon Wireless. You can’t expect to play that way and not expect it to come back to bite you in the rear. Very bad move. We’ll see if they recover from this or if they keep digging themselves into a hole. NARAL has all the right to make a huge fuss in this case as would any other organization that would be signing up for a SMS short code.
Lesson to be learned here? Public companies need to be fairly objective.
UPDATE 1 (2:45PM): That didn’t take long did it? Verizon was reversed its decision saying:

“It was an incorrect interpretation of a dusty internal policy,” Mr. Nelson said. “That policy, developed before text messaging protections such as spam filters adequately protected customers from unwanted messages, was designed to ward against communications such as anonymous hate messaging and adult materials sent to children.”

In that article, there are references to other groups that have used short codes such as the Republican National Committee, Save Darfur, and Amnesty International. Like I said before, someone was making a judgment call without actually viewing the policy and using it for what it was written for. In this aspect, it turned something shouldn’t have ballooned into a problem, into a bigger issue because someone chose to creatively interpret that clause. Glad to see that Verizon Wireless is doing the right thing and regaining the trust of their clientele.