Google Temporarily Disables RCS Ads in India Due to Spam

Allison Johnson, the Verge:

The ads in question were delivered by way of RCS’ business messaging feature, which allows verified businesses to send messages to customers that go beyond a typical text, with images and interactive features. Google pitches it as a way for brands to communicate with established customers — messages you might actually want on your phone. But people using RCS in India have experienced it quite differently. They’ve seen frequent messages coming in from businesses pushing credit cards and gambling apps, among other things.

Google says this feature is intended for “credit card fraud alerts, flight status updates, and package delivery notifications”, but that same page also highlights ad campaigns from a financial services provider and a chain of auto dealerships. While there is nothing preventing businesses from sending mass SMS messages, RCS legitimizes text message ads, with Google boasting engagement rates from twice to seventeen times greater than SMS. In that auto dealership case study, Google boasts:

Not only were the immediate RCS Business Messaging results impressive, but the campaign also provided BodemerAuto with actionable data. The company was able to glean information from message interactions to build customer profiles that they will use to create more precise, personalized ads.

Marketers may be drooling at the possibilities. I doubt many of the rest of us are so thrilled. Maybe there are more reasons beyond its obstinate reputation for Apple’s reluctance to adopt RCS.