In order to begin a mobile marketing campaign, a short code must be provisioned through the Common Short Code Administration. Contrary to e-mail marketing, short codes are actually blacklisted until they have been approved by carriers and are available for use.
The provisioning process can take anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks, depending on the application providers ability to have all the necessary documents and campaigns set up, otherwise known as 'application readiness'.
There are several safeguards against mobile SPAM, but the obvious example is that all short codes must support 'reply STOP to end'. The company may be sending you undesired messaged, but you have an instant fix with this 'reply STOP' feature.
Email campaigns start much differently, typically from purchasing millions of unsuspecting email addresses and starting to market to them. If a problem gets bad enough, maybe their domain can become black-listed and turned off.
Each individual carrier has their own approval process and the short code can be approved by one carrier and not approved by another, though many share similar requirements. With all the hurdles and requirements involved, a business is much less likely to send mobile SPAM.
Another good feature of the process is that many smaller companies must operate on shared codes and most of these shared codes are overseen by reputable companies, which forces compliance throughout the shared code.
SUMOTEXT offers shared short codes as well as help in getting a dedicated code quickly approved through all the carriers. It may even be possible to acquire a pre-approved dedicated code that may not currently be in use.
Common short codes now go through a monitoring process to validate they are in compliance with Consumer Best Practices, issued by the CSC industry. The 'CSC Auditing and Monitoring Initiative' was developed in conjunction with cell phone carriers in the U.S. and was created to maintain consistency between carriers, businesses, and end-users.
The shortcodes that are currently in existence will be given a 'grace period' to fix any program on their short code that don't currently comply with new monitoring initiatives. If the programs are not fixed by the deadline, the company in violation will not be allowed to renew their existing short codes or apply for new short codes until the problems have been addressed and corrected.
SMS Short codes
are the most integral part of a text messaging campaign and the easiest codes to consider are shared short codes offered by a reputable application provider like SUMOTEXT.
With a shared short code, one might think this makes the code more dangerous to be on, because you share it with hundreds of other companies. But the opposite is true. The company offering the shared code typically has many safety measures in place through the design of their system so that all the businesses are 'forced compliant'.
These hundreds businesses are assigned a business specific keyword on the same 5 digit short code. The application provider offering the shared code has a vested interest that the parameters be run according to the best practices because they will lose all of their business if the code is not up to standards. This protects everyone involved and offers safety in numbers.
In addition to ensuring each message has a STOP and HELP command, there are many other required commands from cell phone carriers that application providers need to make sure are 'standard' throughout the shared code. If a company is sending out inappropriate messages, typically they will be 'kicked off' the code long before the actual shared code itself becomes in jeopardy of being shut off.
Shared codes are a great way to start to grow a mobile database and can easily be switched to a dedicated code later, if the growth warrants it.