Updated: NBC Had Big Mobile Ambitions For The Olympics But Some Text Alerts Failed

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imageThe 2008 Summer Olympics are destined to go down as one of the biggest digital events the world has yet to see, spanning across the TV, Internet and the mobile phone. With a million moving pieces, it’s not likely that everything will go according to plan, and sure enough mocoNews stumbled across one of the technical glitches — if you signed up for text alerts on your phone to get medal updates or breaking news alerts, it didn’t work. And, it wasn’t for lack of trying. Together, we tried a total of four phones, spanning at least three different carriers. As of right now, the issues are supposedly resolved, but we are waiting to get the official word from NBC.

The problem started Monday when I signed up for alerts on my phone at mobile.nbcolympics.com, and by Thursday had not received any alerts (especially since I was sure an American had won a medal by then). So, I called Bellevue-based SinglePoint because they are providing the back-end messaging capabilities to NBC. They promised to investigate the situation, and at about 8 p.m. last night I started getting alerts. Today, SinglePoint explained the problem in a statement: “We identified an issue with some of the data we received from another vendor, we immediately informed them about it and it was resolved.

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Michael T

Understandably, this is a significant event where multiple relationships needed to be managed – between Operator, Aggregator, ASP and Media Partner. However, regardless of the scope, text alert services are not rocket science and were some of the first premium mobile services to launch well over a decade ago . Somewhere, someone isn't stepping up to the plate. From my experience, it sounds like the company responsible for subscriber management/CRM had a bug … or as suggested, the script that was supposed to capture the action from the WAP page just wasn't working…mobile service discovery via mobile should be as transparent and seamless as web.

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