Who Gets To Fleece The Sheep? [8:21 pm]
Wireless operators are fighting a growing backlash from parents angry at the exorbitant ring tone bills their children are racking up.
At work is a teenager’s penchant for reckless spending, helped along by advertising from ring tone providers, which some critics label as unclear, others as deceptive.
[...] Still, a crackdown of sorts has begun. A handful of North American and European operators are now at work on a code of conduct for ring tone sellers, due for release in 30 days, according to Paul Palmieri, executive director of business development and programming for Verizon Wireless.
Some operators aren’t waiting. Cingular Wireless, the top U.S. operator, increased on Monday the number of approvals ring tone sellers must get from customers before finalizing any sale.
[...] The hullabaloo spotlights flaws in the important partnership between carriers and independent cell phone software vendors, which the carriers are counting on for the next killer application and margin-boosting business model. When things go awry, consumers can be adversely affected and operators taken by surprise.