Obama VP Text Blast Shows SMS Message Limits

Written by Evan Schuman
September 3rd, 2008

A retail IT lesson from the world of politics? Maybe. Web tracking firm Keynote studied the text message blast sent by the U.S. presidential campaign of Barack Obama, the one in which his campaign promised to tell supporters his VP selection before it was broadly announced.

That message didn’t quite work out politically, as CNN broadcast the choice hours before the text blast was supposed to start. As a result, the campaign immediately triggered the blast, which didn’t work well, either. About 50 percent of people who subscribed to receive the text message from the Obama campaign regarding the VP pick may not have received it “in a timely fashion and perhaps not at all,” Keynote said. Does this mean Common Short Code SMS messaging won’t work for large national blasts? Not necessarily. But if you’re relying on getting your data out to prospects, it’s probably a good idea to vote for a different transmission method.


2 Comments | Read Obama VP Text Blast Shows SMS Message Limits

  1. James Mason Says:

    No not at all. There is no good reason for the SMS delays. I work with companies that deliver messages for UK county coucils and they can shift 500,000 per minute – which means that it would only take 15 minutes to text 15.5 million people!!

  2. Evan Schuman Says:

    Editor’s Note: Fair point. What we were trying to say is that such dispatches are hardly foolproof. There’s little doubt that done properly, such messages can work, but retailers need to understand that there are many reasons why it can fail. The campaign example was a powerful reminder.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.