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ICSTIS rebrand scorned by premium rate industry

New brand frontage paradigm doubts

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A row is brewing in the premium rate industry over the rebrand of its regulator ICSTIS as PhonePayPlus.

Premium rate trade association the Network for Online Commerce (NOC) is touting a poll that suggests the new name should be scrapped on grounds that it's rubbish.

Top brass at ICSTIS felt the slew of TV phone-in scandals had damaged its own reputation, and said the rebrand would help restore it. Many newspaper reports at the time highlighted its toothlessness as a watchdog.

A Reg reader put a wise finger on the potential for confusion when the rebrand was announced, noting: "The real problem with 'PhonePayPlus', however, is that it sounds exactly like one of the crooked operators they're supposed to be policing. If you had a complaint about a premium rate competition scam, would you call someone named 'PhonePayPlus' to discuss it?"

Such concerns have been reignited by the NOC's YouGov poll, which said only one per cent of people think "PhonePayPlus" would best describe a consumer protection agency.

The results in full, as posted to industry forum The Scream:

In your opinion, which of the following BEST describes what you understand
  • A telecoms consumer protection agency
  • A new way to pay for things using a telephone account
  • A new form of prepay phone account
  • None of these
  • Don't know

2,083 people were surveyed and the results are as follows:

  • A telecoms consumer protection agency - one per cent
  • A new way to pay for things using a telephone account - 26 per cent
  • A new form of prepay phone account - 23 per cent
  • None of these - four per cent
  • Don't know - 46 per cent

On Tuesday, ICSTIS spokesman Rob Dwight said: "The name change is going ahead in October. The NOC know that.

"No disrespect to YouGov, but with these polls you get the answer to the carefully worded question you're looking for." He added that the PhonePayPlus monicker will not stand alone, but be backed with a tagline something like "the regulator for the premium rate industry".

In its member newsletter, the NOC said: "Member reaction to this name change has not been enthusiastic and initial views are that it is confusing and is more like a service brand than a regulatory one. We also foresee a potential clash with Payforit and Paypal." ®

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