Is the WAA too US-centric and dominated by Internet companies to truly represent the industry asks Justin Pearse?
The US-born Wireless Advertising Association is to bulldoze the fledgling UK Wireless Marketing Association in a bid to seize regulatory control of the European market.
The WAA, an offshoot of the global IAB, has formed its first European Steering Committee.
The WMA, which is itself attempting to become the self-regulatory body of choice for the European industry, claims that the WAA is US-centric and too dominated by Internet companies to truly represent the industry.
'We don't have a problem with the WAA trying to start in countries where nothing is going on. But it's a US movement and is run out of the US,' said WMA chairman Steve Wunker. 'They are an Internet-led body.'
But WAA administrative director Barbara Sweetman claims the WAA is a global organisation, with heavyweight representation by European wireless companies like Nokia and 12Snap.
'We're going to set up steering committees in each region to develop initiatives,' she said. 'We're looking to work with other industry organisations.'
Mikko Mattingen, MD of Finnish operator Radiolinja parent Elisa, has been made chairman of the European Steering Committee. The first European general meeting of the WAA is to be held in Barcelona on 26 March.
IAB UK will launch a wireless committee to liaise with the WAA.
Further flexing its institutional muscle, the WAA also plans to establish representation in Japan and will hold a meeting with NTT DoCoMo in May. Furthermore, it intends to incorporate advertisers within the committees and has already signed up giant Proctor & Gamble.
The WMA holds its first general meeting on Monday to ratify its Code of Conduct and Best Practice, with Orange, BT Cellnet and Vodafone represented. However, industry observers believe the authority of the WAA makes it the more obvious choice for a self-regulatory body.
Trivanti chief technology officer Simon Lutrell said, 'The WAA has more industry clout and respectability and it's logical to have an established player extend into the wireless space.'