The biggest benefit of short codes for end users is that they get to control which text messages they receive. Short code messaging is a permission-based medium that requires the sender to obtain the recipient’s consent before sending a text message to their handset. This is done through an opt-in or consent process. For example, you see a short code advertisement that says, “Text SMILE to 55512 to get dental appointment reminders” and you send the text message as instructed. This action is considered an opt-in giving the sender permission to send appointment reminders to your handset. Users can also opt-out anytime by texting the keyword STOP to the short code.
The opt-in rules are an equal advantage to businesses using short codes to communicate with their audience because their message is targeted to only those who wish to receive the message. A company effectively has a direct line of communication with their customer. To protect this benefit, the standard of protecting consumer privacy in the mobile environment is strongly supported by the marketing industry, controlled by the wireless carriers, and supported by federal anti-spam laws.
Mobile Marketing Association (MMA)
The MMA is a global trade association that focuses on the mobile aspect of marketing. They’ve developed mobile marketing best practices and promote the mobile industry privacy principles through a series of documents and resources. Some of these resources including “Code of Conduct for Mobile Marketing,” “Mobile Advertising Guidelines,” Mobile Financial Services Best Practices,” and “Consumer Best Practices Guidelines for Cross-Carrier Mobile Content Programs” are cited in the CTIA’s Acceptable Use Policy, which governs the use of short codes.
Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA)
The wireless carriers regulate the industry and create rules for interacting with recipients through SMS. CTIA is the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry that monitors text messaging for the carriers and issues violation notices. Their website features a business resource short code section which includes best practices, FAQs, case studies, and the usage policy.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC)
The FCC is a U.S. government agency, overseen by Congress, which regulates radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable communications in the U.S. It created two laws to address spam – the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) and the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act.
The CAN-SPAM Act prohibits sending unwanted commercial text messages to a mobile device if the number is on the Do-Not-Call (DNC) list. Advertisements or promotional messages are considered commercial messages. This act supplements the TCPA consumer protections and it’s important to note that if you have already given consent to receive text messages, TCPA will not protect a user from commercial messages. More details about text message regulations may be found on their website.
CDYNE provides U.S. and Canadian short codes for use with the SMS Notify! API – SMS Notify! is a secure two-way SMS Gateway that facilitates your business communications with a developer-friendly API.