Did Vote Yes cause a stain on their effort by sending an unsolicited SMS?

Vote YesMany of you know I have conducted a mystery shopping study across the Asia-Pacific non-profit sector over the last half dozen years. I had just finished logging the latest findings on Saturday when I received an unsolicited SMS from Vote Yes suggesting I do vote yes in the mail survey from the Australian government. The SMS raised alarm bells amongst many who received the SMS. I can’t help but to wonder – did Vote Yes cause a stain on their effort by sending the unsolicited SMS?

The SMS was received by thousands of Australians at about 5:30PM on Saturday. After reading it, I quickly asked, “how did they choose me to send the SMS? How did they acquire my number? Who gave my number to this campaign? And, why isn’t there an opt-out contained in the SMS?

I am a supporter of marriage equality and have already answered yes to the question raised in the postal survey. Yet, the SMS made me question these tactics mid-way through the campaign. I am apparently not alone. Within minutes of receiving the SMS and asking these types of questions, other SMS recipients lit up Twitter to ask questions about privacy and the strategy. Channel 9 quickly posted a short story on their website raising the issues asked amongst Australian voters. The Sunday papers ran similar stories, including the Sydney Morning Herald. It was also the talk of our Australian citizenship party yesterday as friends and colleagues gathered who had received the same text.

Let me hear from you

So, what do you think? Was the SMS appropriate? Should Vote Yes have rented random telephone numbers from a data source to push this SMS out? Are you concerned they sent the SMS without an opt-out instruction? If you agree with Vote Yes sending the SMS, would you feel the same if the opposition sent it? Is this all just a distraction? Alex Greenwich MP suggests the marriage equality campaign needs to use every available resource to get their message out and to fight for what is right for same sex couples. Did you receive the SMS? How did it make you feel? Let me hear from you about the matter.