Messaging Revolution: Why Is My Shared Short Code Going Away?

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We talked in our last post about the changes that are coming to messaging in the new year, and it all starts with the sunsetting of shared short codes. Which, of course, begs two big questions: why are my shared short codes going away, and what should I be doing instead?

So long shared short codes

It’s been nearly 20 years since short codes were first introduced, and in that time they’ve grown way beyond what anyone could have anticipated. The demand from businesses and customers for texting via A2P messaging has grown from a novelty into one of the primary ways that businesses and customers interact.

Which leads us to why they’re going away — spam.

One bad apple

Because of the premium nature of A2P messaging, the cost of a dedicated short code has become prohibitive for many businesses, leading them to share short codes with other businesses. While many businesses are using them in compliance with the rules, including only sending messages to users that have opted in to receive them, that’s not always the case.

Shared short codes have become the biggest source of spam for wireless carriers, and they’re starting to crack down. While a violation on a dedicated short code can be assigned to one company, and have just that company punished, a violation on a shared short code that results in a blacklisting means that not only is the company that broke the rules in trouble, but the companies that were following the rules are banned as well.

That’s not fair, and it means headaches for the companies providing those shared short codes, as they’re inundated with calls and emails from their customers wondering why they can’t send messages anymore.

So what are you supposed to do?

So if shared short codes are going away, and you’re about to have a lot of angry customers that are losing their connection to their customers, what are you supposed to do?

Toll-free SMS is the easiest way forward; not only does it allow you to provide your customers with their own dedicated phone number, it helps you save on costs, since those numbers cost a lot less than the short code you were using before.

Looking ahead to 2019, 10DLC, or A2P Local if you prefer, will be another way for your customers to send the high-volume messages they want. Sanctioned 10 digit phone numbers will be able to send A2P traffic that has previously been reserved for short codes and toll-free phone numbers.

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