SMSCaster.com, Triberr, And Borderline Spam: What Are Some Security Considerations?

If you’ve ever received a random text message or e-mail, you may not think much of it but what if it is tailored to your interests? That’s what this brief article is about. What are the risks and considerations involved with mass communication tools?

Triberr: A Retrospect

A few weeks back, I shared my first impressions of Triberr. I think the founders are doing a good job allowing partipants to opt-in and opt-out of communications. There are automatic filters and manual processes in place to keep spam to a minimum. Of course, if you don’t like being overwhelmed with push content, it may still seem spammy.

…But what is spam, really?

I’d like to note that, now that I’ve used Triberr more extensively, I can attest that it does not lack warmth. Tribe members interact with each other and help each other out. It’s a great way to meet key influencers, cool geeks, and clever innovators. Surely, some tribes focus purely on mass reach but most care about relevance and maintaining a focus (and tone) through their collective wide-scale communication efforts. You really feel that you’re sharing valuable and useful content, not merely saturating the market with sales pitches.

Are You A Spammy Offender?

To me, spam is any unsolicited content, even if it comes from friends. If there is no warmth or relevance to your communication, I’ll treat it as spam. If it’s repetitive without due cause or real value, it’s really bad spam.

People are doing whatever they can to avoid interruptions and noise. This is why traditional interrupt advertising is on a steady decline, no matter what so-called “experts” may say. We want messages, stories even, that matter to us. The rest is unwanted junk.SMSCaster.com And The Need To Abolish Faceless, Soulless Marketing

SMSCaster seems like a great idea for push content but I am not a fan of someone I don’t know sending me a text about something that, somehow, relates to me. Where is this data coming from? I’ve checked out other blogs and SMSCaster seems to be on a rise. Certainly, it’s not alone: there are countless tools that automate the mundane, at the cost of foregoing warmth, authenticity, and human interaction.

SMSCaster, like many other so-called social media tools, is a platform that would benefit from more flow control. Allow your marketing targets to opt-in to messages that follow a specific criteria or let them unsubscribe all together. Don’t make your audience feel trapped.. Imagine the potential here if someone has limited texting on their cell phone plan and they get hit with tons of random advertisements. It’d be utter chaos.

If you want SMSCaster to be legit, fix it (I’m talking to YOU, the faceless and perhaps gutless minds behind this ugly tool). Anyone using the service should be limited to only a few broadcasts a day or, better yet, week. Once that person gets positive reviews from authenticated users, they can send more text message blasts. Of course, you need context to keep these messages relevant. Let’s keep people honest.

Context drives relevance and significance alike; without these strong components, you are a mere spammer.

For example, if someone is a vegan, sending them an ad about angus beef hamburger patties will certainly be seen as spam. No one wants that nuisance, especially on something as intimate as our cell phones! It’s comparable to delivering flaming poop to our doorsteps. Sounds crazy? Exactly!

Protecting Your Privacy And Personal Data

We can only hope that mass communication services like Triberr and SMSCaster maintain their integrity and credibility by protecting our anonymity. Social media is about putting ourselves out there and interacting, but we don’t want all our vitals whored out, do we? Allow your users to control the experience and suit it THEIR needs, not yours. Of course, greed and the human urge to self-promote and self-gratify may trump such efforts. That is why we need to protect ourselves.

Unless you live under a rock, you’re at risk of having personal data compromised; thus, a certain degree of paranoia doesn’t hurt.

Be careful what sites you give information to. Better yet, if data is not required, leave fields in profiles and sign-up forms blank. Do Google searches to see how visible your personal data is, using all known aliases and handles.

What does your virtual resume reveal about you?

Do not take for granted the security of high-profile networks and sites. Just look at Sony Playstation Network (PSN) and the debacles thereof here in the year 2011. No one is safe from hackers so cover your tracks, just to be safe.

If you absolutely must share personal information, set up redirects/aliases, dedicated e-mail accounts, alternate phone numbers, and forwarding addresses to keep your main data safer. No amount of security is full-proof so look at security measures as deterrents and try not to make it easy for personal data to be whored out.

Conversations Trump Screaming For Attention And Mass Reach – Make It About US!

If you insist on mass communications and deep/wide market reach, target people that you know will likely enjoy what you want to share. One-on-one interaction takes a lot of work, I know, but don’t forego warm connections by blindly sending out blasts. Conversations work, which is the REAL reason social media is a game changer. Tell us why we should care and we might just listen. Make your marketing strategy about us, not you.

For countless decades, marketing has focused on one-sided stories. Social media brings interactive marketing to the forefront: build conversations and relationships.. Interact with people in REAL ways!

Twitter is one social medium that I feel is often misused. I find people avoid Twitter because of the silly stuff people share on there. I realize that it was initially launched to share the mundane but Twitter has evolved into something more relevant and less spammy (thankfully). The value is there but people have been turned off.

Overall, I think social media, like anything else, is great but adulterated at times. If you got something remarkable to share, get people excited about it but don’t scream at them. No one wants that mess.

Anyone else find SMSCaster intrusive and impersonal? What kind of messages have you received? What other social mediums do you find annoying? Are these nuisances something that keeps you away from social media and social networking? Do you think most businesses understand how to leverage social media honestly (and offer valuable experiences)?

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18 thoughts on “SMSCaster.com, Triberr, And Borderline Spam: What Are Some Security Considerations?

  1. Wud up Yomar 🙂

    I was very interested in your take on Triberr..glad to see you enjoyed your stay so far.

    What you are saying is very true…we should all take personal interest in protecting our own information.

    With Triberr, the only info you share is pretty much the same info thats on your blog. Twitter ID, email, name, and RSS URL.

    Everything else that happens to be sensitive is executed by other relevant services (Triberr never sees your Twitter password for example)..also, all Credit Card processing is done by PayPal who is very cognizant of online security.

    I’m not familiar with the other service so cant speak to it, but I figured I’d add my 2 cents on the topic of Triberr.

    Thnx for writing about us…I loved the non-hype approach to this issue.

    • Yo Dino! =oD

      See that, folks?

      Now THAT’S how you reach out to your marketplace and make people care about what you’re doing. Thanks for reaching out to me, Dino! While the focus of this article was not Triberr, I am still excited about getting accepted into the tribe of my choice and getting really into the scene and I think many can learn from your approach with Triberr. I see tremendous potential here!

      I just sent out a few more tribe applications on Triberr. Here are a few quick observations:

      * Tribes should be filtered with master categories (which is already the case) and further refined by keywords.
      * Everyone, Triberr member or not, should be able to peek at the Tribe’s activity to see what sort of subject matter they focus on the most and how frequent updates are.
      * Non-tribe members may still benefit from other types of participation, like rating the content of different tribes and participating in polls.
      * Applicants should have access to tools to help them easily find the best tribes for them, that way no one is applying to tribes that are not a right fit.. It’s slightly demoralizing to not receive any response at all from some tribes.

      I’m still looking for that perfect fit for me amongst all the tribes out there. My tastes and skill sets are pretty eclectic much like your own, Dino (I am also an “OK” MMA fighter, though severely out of practice LOL).. So it’ll be tough. It all goes back to the ever elusive, almost obligatory question, “What do you do?” (a.k.a. What is your thing?)

      Really, it’s hard these days to put people into specific little boxes with black-and-white labels. We all wear many hats these days to not just survive but THRIVE.. I’m sure you can relate! That is why I like the fact that you can join one main tribe and then make tribes that better meet a need that may not be satiated elsewhere in the Triberr community. I mean, isn’t the heart of social media finding out the elusive tangents that connect us all?

      So, now that we have you here, could you share some of your plans for Triberr? I see Triberr evolving more every day. In fact, since I initially checked you guys out, the number of tribes has increased threefold. VERY exciting!

      It’d be nice to see more detailed profiles for each tribe. It’s a very social platform so it should expand as such. I think we should be able to qualify our target tribes the same way they do with us lowly applicants. After all, I want to make sure I am collaborating with like-minded people. The tribe descriptions give you some insight but not enough.

      Personally, I find the most value in smaller tribes with smaller reach. I rather reach hundreds of like-minded people and get high conversion rates than mass-communicate and only end up increasing my bounce rate, you know? So far, Triberr seems to be positoned to provide a highly-targeted social marketing experience but I’m still on the outside looking in right now. I’ve heard good things and bad things from other Triberr members via blogs and such so I really can’t wait to dip into the metaphorical pool!

      One last thing (I promise to wrap up my novel here). Have you see Erica Allison’s piece on the Triberr break-up? That is what initially made me question the experience but I noticed she seemed a bit preemptive in her review. This article is good but it is merely a first impressions piece and not a definitive conclusion.

      I can relate to her on the matter of wanting to enjoy content first-hand before promoting it, which is why I’d want to be able to check out the blogs of other Triberr members before I decide to collaborate with them. Each tribe summary should like to a full profile page so we can see more details at-a-glance. Let’s not forget this will enhance the SEO and SMO value of pages on Triberr.com so, really, it’d drive value for everyone!

      Thanks again for the awesome comments, Dino – don’t be a stranger! I’m rooting for you!! 8)

    • Now that I am in full effect on Triberr, thanks to Keri and Birds Of Feather, I can say, without any reservations, that the sign-up process is one of the least intrusive I have ever used. Only minimum information is required and everything is a snap. I would like FeedBurner support in the future but that’s not a big deal.

      Within minutes of joining my first Tribe, one of my fellow tribesmen tweeted my latest blog entry. The staggered retweeting is perfect. I’m not flooding my audience, which was one of my initial concerns.

      I am currently using “Automagic” Mode and it is working well. Manual mode seems like a great way to encourage interaction and warmth. Either way, I plan to share comment love, syndicate articles, and cross-promote content, as appropriate. I find a more personal touch is always appropriate.

      I’ll check back in after I get to get the more full experience. Did I mention that Dino Dogan and Dan Cristo rock?? I particularly like the feedback system. Very smart. KUDOS!

  2. Those are very insightful comments and suggestions. Thank you. We are implementing some of them, plan on developing others, and will seriously give thought to some of the other ones you mentioned.

    We can chat more via skype next week.

    Glad your first impression was great. Kepp on rocking, mofo 🙂

    • You and Dan C are definitely on the rick track and it shows!

      I’ve seen Triberr grow tons and the active feedback is amazing. This is a true social media experience: the users drive the experience and add value! I am nothing short of impressed.

      …For SPARTA!

      (Hey, had to do a little callback to our previous discussion.)

  3. Neat. Not as wordy as you’d have had me believe, either….even for being sleepless and very sleepy…not so wordy.

    Okay. So, if I’ve got this right, the worry lies in the communication being both spammy and impersonal or perhaps even irrelevant. (I also have no experience with the SMSCaster, but feel that I’d take a personal interest in handing their social asses to them on a silver platter if I ever got involved. Note to self: Never visit THAT site.

    Also, I hadn’t previously given thought to personal information over networking, because I am fairly careful about what information I am willing to give out, and half of it is out-dated anyway.

    Maybe I don’t have enough twitter followers/am not following enough people, but Triberr has never seemed spammy to me. In fact, if I catch your article through a triberr-fed-to-twitter-tweet, I’m actually quite likely to give it a go. The problem lies in the timing, and whether or not I’m able to check out the article.

    Like the blog so far! And off to check out the next post.

    PS: I like your theme better than I like mine =[

    • LOL! I know the feeling.. I’m in that weird place right now where I know I should get some rest but my brain is not quite caught-up with my body, if that makes any sense.. This article happened to be one of my shortest in the 5 years or so I’ve had Y3B up. Does that count as irony? ;o)

      I started writing about SMSCaster and went off on a tangent. I didn’t want to just do a three-liner asking, “Have you ever received a message from SMSCaster?” It worked out well.

      Still, I’m wondering where my information was yoinked from. I’m usually pretty careful about how much information I give out and what accounts I link up. It is easy, at times, to be too trusting of established sites and services, though.. I mean, who would think StealingYourIdentity.net would be a malicious site?? =oX

      I’ve managed to keep my Twitterscope pretty focused but I’m starting to use lists to filter stuff. Really, I have people on my timeline that tweet WAY too often. Usually, that’s fine but it’s a lot of the same stuff coming from the same few accounts. No me gusta.

      BTW, do you own the North East Dog Training business? I dig the blog. I hope you update more often cause your quick wit makes for an easy read.

      Glad you’re enjoying your stay! Bring others to the party and encourage e-mail or RSS subscription via Feedburner. I get tons of visitors but I reckon all my widgets distract folks from the good stuff. I just don’t have the heart to get rid of all the spiffy toys…

      Oh man, it took me FOREVER to find a theme I really liked. I only wish it formatted for wider viewing screens. My epic posts scroll for several pages with this theme. I believe it’s called Regulus (I have a dated WordPress.com version but newer versions are available for download somewhere).. I’ll double-check for ya later! I’m mobile right now. Wheeeeee!

      • Ha! I did notice that I started out with the shortest post….ever.

        You tricked me! ;]

        I need to make a few lists, but other than my I-can’t-sleeeeeep, I don’t really have the time, so I deal with the tweet-too-muchers. At the very least, they’re entertaining at my midnights job.

        I do own NEDT, in conjunction with two others. Mostly, we contract out to other companies for specialized training. Glad you like the blog, but I don’t get many chances to update. I try for once a week…ish.

        I like the widgets, btw. Wouldn’t be wordpress without them. =]

        And if I find any other social/videogame nuts, I’ll send em your way. ;]

      • AWESOME!

        Don’t worry: I’m not looking to replace you. Your use of smileys alone is priceless.. But I’d be all right with cloning you. I can’t pay you much for your dedication so you’ll have to settle for the occasionally interesting article, Anime, and video games.. I have a Kinect.. Does that spice up the deal? ;o)

  4. Clone me; we’ll send the clone to work, and then we’ll stay indoors all day and watch anime and play video games. And I will, of course, read the articles. Deal?

    Oh, and if we’re talking smileys, I should use this face: ^-^;; It’s always been my favorite.

    • Deal! Oooohhh.. It almost sounds like the plot of Dollhouse. I dig that smiley too but, usually, I picture it in my head using a thought bubble, of course – YAY! ^-^

    • Yes we are but it’s almost not worth being paranoid since our information is put out there, regardless of what we do. You’d have to live under a rock to not have your personal data in a compromising position, really. Of course, security is all about making it inconvenient for the casual script kiddies and so-called hackers to ruin your day. I mainly get concerned with spam. We don’t need more noise than there already is out there; after all, there’s good reason we have found alternatives to avoid ads, hype, and annoying screamers, no? 8)

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