Mobile SMS Marketing – Problem With Shared Short Codes

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A mobile short code is a 5-6 digit phone number that is used to send and receive text messages information. When selecting a short code for your SMS marketing campaign, you have two different options, a dedicated short code, or a shared short code. While both types of short codes sends and receive SMS information, there’s an inherent problem with distributed or shared short code that brands, small and large scale business companies need to be aware of.

What is a shared mobile phone short code?

A shared mobile sms marketing short code is a 5-6 number contact number that is distributed between several manufacturers. In order for several manufacturers to use the same short code, each product and brand must select their own unique SMS keywords, which allows SMS providers to know which product a consumer is trying to text. A dedicated short code on the other hand is a 5-6 digit phone number that is used exclusively by one product, meaning that they control the entire use of that short code.

What is Mobile SMS Marketing Short code?

The problem with shared mobile short code requirements is the way that wi-fi providers deal with SMS Marketing and promotional offenses. An SMS Marketing breach can happen when a brand’s use of a short code rule goes against either the CTIA Short Code Rulebook, or the wi-fi carrier guidelines. When a SMS Marketing violation or breach occurs on a shared short code, instead of suspending just the product that was found to be violating the guidelines, the wi-fi providers will suspend all sending sms messages on the short code.

This means that if product A and B are using the same shared short code, and product B goes against the guidelines, both product A and B will have their short code revoked, meaning neither will be able to send or receive mobile sms marketing messages. While this may not seem fair, especially to product A, this is just the reality of how wi-fi providers deal with SMS promotion offenses on a shared short code.

While it would be relatively easy to ensure two manufacturers using the same shared  short code are in compliance with the guidelines, the majority of SMS providers that offer shared short codes requirements will have countless numbers, or even countless numbers of manufacturers all using the same shared short code. With that many manufacturers using the same short code, it’s impossible for any SMS provider to ensure that each and every product is in compliance with SMS Marketing guidelines. You can see the problem that shared short code requirements can pose, as your ability to send and receive sms messages can be disrupted by the misuse of any product or brand using that shared short code rule.

Whenever a short code rule is revoked, it can take up to months for the wi-fi providers to remove that suspension, depending on the severity of the breach. In 2010, T-Mobile revoked a distributed short code rule for over one month, affecting countless numbers of businesses and organizations. During the time a short code rule is revoked, no sms messages can be sent or received on the short code, which as you can imagine can see could be disastrous for a brand’s SMS advertising campaign.

Solution To Issue?

To avoid being responsible for other’s use of short code your using, or more importantly their improper use of short codes, we recommend manufacturers always purchase their own devoted short code. A devoted short code rule is a 5-6 digit phone number that is owned, and used exclusively by one product. With a devoted short code, since you’re the only one using short code, the risk of having your mobile phone short code suspended, and your text messages interrupted, is significantly reduced. One of the other benefits of using a dedicated mobile short code rule, is that because your product controls the entire use of short code rule, this means that you also control the use of all the SMS search phrases. While shared short code codes will limit your selection of SMS search phrases to those that are not already in use by other manufacturers, a devoted short code rule gives your product the flexibility needed to select the perfect SMS keyword for your campaign.

Moving To A Devoted Short Code?

If you’re currently using a distributed short code, and would like to migrate your SMS Marketing campaign to a devoted short code, there’s great news. Because moving short code requirements has become such a common practice in our industry, the Mobile Promotion Association has established a process for moving SMS short code requirements, which can be found here. If you’re interested in discussing your options for moving short code requirements, or have concerns about moving short code, please feel free to discuss with us.

Have additional questions about short codes, or the difference between shared short codes and specifically a dedicated short code? Take a moment to leave a comment below, or contact us today.

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