Short Code Audits – the Necessary Evil

When it comes to short codes there are many steps involved even after the program is live. One checkpoint is the short code audit process which is managed by the CTIA to make sure a short code campaign is continuously staying in compliance within the ever changing carrier rules and regulations. The company that actually performs the audits is WMC Global.

The Monday Morning Pop Quiz

Think of the audits as a pop quiz on a Monday morning. The more you stay on top of educating yourself the better chance you have to pass. Live programs are reviewed and tested after the short codes are in production. The CTIA feels this method is more effective than routine keyword testing and program brief review used in the past because audits reflect the user experience and how they interact with these programs in real time.

The CTIA issues audits weekly for all short codes leased with the CSCA. The CTIA distributes what they call “Program Violation Notices”. A Program Violation Notice is a document notifying content providers (for example C1-02 No link to comprehensive T&C’s) that a violation has been found when testing the program. The CTIA audits short code compliancy based on the best practices included in the CTIA Playbook and the Carrier Playbooks.

The CTIA hand book states “The CTIA compiles and generates Program Violation Notices each Monday for audits performed the previous week, and audits are published as soon as they become available. Although audits might be available for review earlier, the official notice date from which the cure date is calculated is 12:00PM EST on Tuesday.”

Short Code Program Violations

Program violations are classified as Severity 0, Severity 1, or Severity 2, based on the seriousness of the infraction, with Severity 0 the most detrimental. Severity 0 is defined as extreme consumer harm with an immediate cure date. When you receive this audit you must have it fixed within hours or risk suspension or termination.  Severity 1 is considered serious consumer harm and you have 2 business days to correct the issue(s). Finally Severity 2 is moderate consumer harm and you have 5 business days to correct the issue(s). The information explained in this blog, a check list that has the violations and actions required and much more can be found in the CTIA Playbook.

Now that you know what the audit process is how do you avoid failing an audit? The CITA audits all short codes that are leased. WCG global has agents that are assigned to certain numbers and they test and audit those numbers, and it is not complaint based. Everyone is subject to being audited.

A Few Guidelines

First you need to stay educated on the different carrier rule and regulations. Your SMS provider should be giving you all the tools you need to succeed. CDYNE offers not only a dedicated short code manager to help you though the process but also educate you. We have many documents and resources to help you stay up to date with your information.  Below we have outlined some of the major parts of a short code program that can affect your audit negatively if not followed:

  1. Make sure you have a clear opt-in that fits with the program you plan to run. Be sure to describe exactly what program the end-user is interacting with. Example: “Text INFO to 00000 to sign up for CDYNE Info Alerts!”
  2. Include the amount of messages users should expect to receive. Example: “5 messages per month” or “5msg/month”
  3. The phrase “Message & Data Rates May Apply” must be included one line below the call-to-action.
  4. Instructions on how to opt-out and contact end-user support must be included and made distinguishable from the rest of the marketing copy. The words STOP and HELP must be in bold typeface. Example: Text STOP to 00000 to unsubscribe. Texts HELP to 00000 for customer support.
  5. A link to the privacy policy and terms must be included on all marketing materials (I.E. Websites, Flyers Banners and TV ads). Example:

CDYNE offers short codes in the U.S. and Canada. Click here to get started today!

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