Jamster –aka Jamba! – is at it again. This time with a fake phone location app, Partner Tracker. Falling for it costs you £4.50 per week until you reply with 'Stop' to 88888.
This kind of app not only gives the mobile entertainment business a bad name – dragging Fox Mobile Studios into the mire in the process - but it also with adversely affect location based services.
This is the dialogue with which Partner Tracker initiates... "Connecting satellites; initializing GPS; Tracking mobile; Narrowing search; locating cell; triangulating position."
All of those are pukka location based services terms. Yet this app does absolutely nothing. At the end of the process is simply displays a cartoon of a couple kissing.
If you go onto the Jamster site you will see this footnote to Partner Tracker, "PS: This software doesn’t use any internet or GPS technology. This software is just for fun – it does not find the real location of anyone!"
However, if you just see the TV ads, then the fact the app is simply an expensive joke is not even remotely obvious.
The industry regulator Phonepayplus is doing nothing to help as usual. The public can discover which company operates a particular text/SMS shortcode. But can you search to see how many times, the company has been fined? Of course, not.
Want to complain? Then Phonepayplus only provides an 0870 contact number for complaining to the service provider.
Despite warnings to 087 number operators on the regulator's own site that they can be fined for not clearly displaying how much calling such 087 numbers cost, there's no warning as to the cost of such calls from a mobile.
From a mobile the cost on Vodafone, for example, can be 35 pence per minute. Phonepayplus seems blissfully unaware that most people complaining about a text service only have a mobile phone – not a landline where the cost is "only" about ten pence per minute.
For those with short memories, Jamster/Jamba! was the supplier of the Crazy Frog ringtone which enticed youngsters to unwittingly sign up for a weekly service – not pay for a single download as they thought.
Also, whatever you do, don't fall for the "Watch Family Guy movies" ploy on the Net either. This is even more insidious. The service asks surfers to complete a questionnaire.
When they provide a valid mobile phone number, they're asked to reply 'Yes'. Don't because doing so signs you up for £4.50 a week again, this time to Playphone.
Techeye will be intrigued to see how Phonepayplus wriggles out of this one because the subscribing message just says "Reply Yes to 62929 to confirm your number now!"
Absolutely no clues as to the fact that this will be construed as accepting the terms of joining Playphone's service.
Oh, and you never do get to see the Family Guy movies.