Stephen King Can Take His Spam And Shove It

Gizmodo ran a blurb yesterday about a promotion Stephen King’s publisher is running for his next book, titled “Cell” (as in phone).

Unfortunately for me, I already knew about the promotion. I learned about it at 1 AM Tuesday morning, when my phone woke us up with a cheery “you have a text message!” bleep. A couple of “hey, wake up, you have a text message!” bleeps later, I groggily opened the phone to find a spam “offer” to sign up for the King material.

This on a cell phone whose number has never been given out to any company–and I course, had to pay for receiving the text message. I called my provider the next day and had any future messages from “cellthebook.com” blocked. King’s publicists have slipped a gear on this one; cell-phone spam the receiver gets charged money for is much worse than email spam, and they ought to be raked over the coals for this one.

No thanks for the spam, Stevie. You’re on the boycott list now.

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17 Responses to “Stephen King Can Take His Spam And Shove It”

  1. The other JD Says:

    Will,
    We were told at work about cell phones starting to get junk calls – you need to call the national do not call list.

    > One more thing for you……Fourteen days from today (Jan 6) cell phone
    > numbers are being released to telemarketing companies and you should
    > expect to receive sales calls. On your personal cell phones, you will
    > be charged for these calls. To prevent this, call the following
    > number from your cell phone: 1-888-382-1222. This is the National DO
    > NOT CALL list and it will take only a minute. You must call from your
    > cell phone for it to work.

    John

  2. Will Collier Says:

    All my numbers have been on the do-not-call lists (both national and Georgia’s) as long as there’s been such a thing. It’s not 100% clear to me whether text messaging violates the do-not-call law, but I’ll be perfectly happy to file a complaint anyway.

  3. Susan Says:

    John–don’t panic!

    From Snopes: “…[these]warnings are misleading in stating that such a directory will “soon be published” … and in directing readers to sign up with the The National Do Not Call Registry. The latter step will not keep wireless customer listings out of the proposed Wireless 411 database

  4. AustinRoth Says:

    Well, I have to say sorry, as I am one of those in the business of making the techology that enables that capability. I love working in bleeding-edge telecommunications, but the implications of what we develop sometimes bothers me, and this one of them.

    However, the sad reality today is any medium of communication that gains any tracation will attract both legitimate advertisers and spammers.

    And sorry to say, it is going to get worse. Expect, very soon, audio SMS ads, video SMS ads, pop-up ads on VOD, Palm-pilot spam, etc. And, unlike your PC where you can install anti-spam filters, the NSP own the delivery mechanism and interface, and so control the access to the devices.

    These are going to be multi-million dollar revenue streams, possiblely multi-billion, so they will be expoited.

    Still, they are damn anoying.

  5. FL Mom Says:

    How absolutely annoying. Is there a way to refuse to pay for these calls/messages? If enough customers complain about it, will cell companies have to comply? I despise commercials, and I certainly don’t want to have to pay for them!

  6. Ed Driscoll.com Says:

    The Spamming

    Vodkapundit – Stephen King’s PR firm’s certainly not winning friends or influencing people with their latest book promotion efforts: cell phone spamming….

  7. Mr. Lion Says:

    Chances are, the messages were sent by your cellular provider, or the marketing company was given the address by them. If you read the small print of your contract, you’ll likely find a clause that states they can pretty much send you whatever whenever unless you specifically tell them not to.

    Expect it to get worse.

  8. Mr. Lion Says:

    Also of note: The do not call list applies to voice calls only, not data or SMS messages.

  9. jmaster Says:

    I think Will has the best response to this scourge:

    Boycott the bastards!

    Refuse to do business with anyone who chooses to promote their product with spam, popups, etc. And take the time to send them a note, email, or phone call letting them know your position on the use of such tactics, and that you will be taking your business elsewhere.

    It doesn

  10. Lou Minatti Says:

    Woah there, tiger. I doubt very much that Stephen King spammed you. I doubt very much he spammed anybody, considering you are the first (and only) person I’ve seen complain about this. What probably happened is someone you know signed you up to receive that message:

    http://www.cellthebook.com/sendMessage.htm

    We all have older relatives who add us to e-mail lists and such because they think we are interested. Someone even came up with a name for this – “Grandma Spam.” Or it could have been a well-intentioned friend. Or it could have been an asshole who doesn’t like you who signed you up. I’ll wager it’s not Stephen King.

  11. jmaster Says:

    Lou,

    If my grandma did that to me, I’d tie her to her rocking chair and intercept her Social Security checks.

    And maybe throw in an occasional water tabling.

  12. Puff Says:

    At least your provider agreed to block the SMS, I called t-mobile to have them block all SMS to my phone, but they refused to do so, and refused to not charge me for them.

  13. John Anderson Says:

    Would cell-phone spam be legally the same as EMail spam (quasi-legal) or fax spam (illegal, period)?

  14. Jace Says:

    Sadly, in most of Asia (Seoul, Jakarta, Bangkok, etc.) these kinds of message are very common and are just now part of the background noise of every day life.

  15. edgr Says:

    Wait, you have to pay to recieve SMS?

  16. BeckyJ Says:

    Go to http://www.donotcall.gov to register any and all phone numbers, including cell numbers, with the federal Do Not Call list. I did it with my home number and my & my husband’s cell numbers. So far so good.

  17. Sharpshooter Says:

    Urban Legend (the “Do Not Call List”)

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/business/cell411.asp

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