If you follow marketing industry news or you’re a business owner who uses text messaging platforms like Txtra to send important messages to your customers, you may have heard that “shared” SMS shortcodes are going away. We say “Good riddance!”
Major carriers like AT&T have announced that they will no longer support shared shortcodes as of 2019, and other telecom providers like T-Mobile and Verizon are following suit.
What are SMS Shared Shortcodes?
If you’re not familiar with shared shortcodes, let me explain. A shared shortcode is a 5 or 6 digit number that is literally shared by many organizations, with the only separation between one business and another is the keyword.
For example, one business advertises “Text FLOWERS to 555555 to get coupons from our florist” and another business may advertise “Text PIZZA to 555555 to get coupons from our pizzeria”.
These two businesses share the same shortcode. And keep in mind that there are typically thousands of businesses sharing a shortcode. So when one business is not following appropriate guidelines in their texting efforts, every single business using that shortcode will have that number shut down, lose touch with their customers, and sometimes lose the data associated with them. It’s a nightmare for everyone as it completely disrupts business continuity. This is one of the reasons why Txtra has never supported shared SMS shortcodes.
Why are Shared Short Codes Being Eliminated?
There are several different reasons why telecommunications providers such as AT&T are working towards the elimination of shared shortcodes. Now let’s take a look at each of them:
Spam prevention is probably one of the main reasons for the elimination of shared shortcodes. Spam phone calls and SMS text messages have been worse than ever in the last few years, with more than 30.1 billion robocalls being made in 2017 alone.
Alongside robocalls, spam text messages – often phishing scams meant to steal your identity – are becoming more common. And, unfortunately, because of the cost-effectiveness of using a shared shortcode and the ability to hide entities using a single shortcode, most of these messages were sent using shared shortcodes. As a result, it seems likely that the elimination of shared shortcodes is, at least in part, an anti-spam measure.
Enhanced Shortcode Reliability
When wireless carriers detect spam messages, the shortcode is blocked.
This means that legitimate businesses that happened to share a short spammer code may have their offers and promotional messages blocked – and they won’t even know why.
Eliminating shared shortcodes will address this issue, as each business entity must purchase and run its own shortcode without sharing it with others. This, in turn, enhances the reliability and deliverability of short SMS code messages.
10DLC Messaging Innovation
The final, and perhaps most important, reason for eliminating shared shortcodes is innovation in 10DLC (10-digit long code) messaging. The CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association) has decided that as long as a 10DLC number follows a set of rules, A2P (Application to Person) Enterprise Messaging may be transmitted.
Txtra began offering 10DLC (in addition to our dedicated shortcodes), in 2019 or beyond, allowing businesses to send promotional SMS text messages using a traditional 10-digit number – with no expensive shortcode required.
What should I do if I use the Shared Short Code?
Despite the fact that shared shortcodes are being removed for legitimate, good reasons – improving SMS reliability, eliminating spam, and innovating in 10DLC numbers is likely to be beneficial in the future – you may be wondering what you can do now if you’re using a shared shortcode.
To ensure uninterrupted marketing messages, you should switch to a provider that offers dedicated shortcodes of 10DLC.