Text Messaging: A Changing Landscape for Small Business
Let’s get a few things out of the way early here! Below is a history of what registration is and why it exists. It tries to help you understand the decisions made by the carriers. Is it over the top? Maybe. The simple truth is that to continue sending text messages via 10DLC on any provider, you are required to register who you are and details about your messaging. Registration is not a requirement at the Project Broadcast level but rather by the major telephone carriers. Read more about these recent changes below.
Project Broadcast launched in October 2017. If you’ve been with us since that time or close to that time, we like to refer to you as an OG! You were a pioneer that understood the power of texting early and have been out there crushing the channel ever since. Kudos to you! Now, you could be a newer user and maybe even newer in your business. That’s ok too! I want to take you on a journey today and talk to you about the changing landscape of the texting space and what caused those changes. My hope is to help you have a deeper understanding of the channel and your responsibility as a part of it!
Ok, let’s go back a few years. Years ago, many businesses sent messages to their customers via a technology referred to as short codes. I’m sure you’ve gotten a message from a short code before and may even get them today. Short codes refer to sending numbers that are just short. They tend to be 5 or 6 digits long. A business can decide to pay for a dedicated short code where only their traffic is transmitted over that short code but that is obscenely expensive and not suitable for small business owners. Well, the industry realized that and came up with the concept of shared short codes. A shared short code meant that hundreds of businesses would share a single short code for sending messages. It created its own unique challenges such as only one of those hundreds of customers could have a keyword like “vip” and it created a massive challenge for the telephone carriers. To be frank, they hated shared short codes. But why? Well, when hundreds of businesses are sending traffic over one shared short code, the carrier has no way to distinguish who each sender is. What would typically happen is a bad sender would send actual spam over a shared short code and the only recourse the carrier had was to shut down the entire shared short code. As you can imagine, that just doesn’t work as it shuts down hundreds of good senders to shut down the bad sender. Due to that and other reasons, the carriers decided to deprecate the use of shared short codes. They needed a better solution. They wanted a way to identify each business sender independently and wanted to make sure each business was identifiable. Consumer demand related to scams, frauds, and spam also created additional encouragement for the carriers to react. Thus began the path of the A2P (business) 10DLC (real phone number) ecosystem. Carriers decided, and I agree with them, that businesses should communicate with their customers directly with real phone numbers. In making that decision, they had to put quite a bit of technology and process in place. It has been 2+yrs since A2P 10DLC launched and it continues to evolve. At Project Broadcast, we feel that over time this process will improve the landscape for legitimate businesses who want to leverage texting as a communication channel.
The A2P (business) 10DLC (real phone number) messaging ecosystem is a work in process. It was initially launched a few years ago by carriers imposing higher surcharges for all 10DLC traffic going over their networks. After adding additional surcharges to every message, they also brought in a new third party entity called The Campaign Registry (TCR) into the equation.
The TCR is a player in the ecosystem where their responsibility is to have every phone number sending commercial traffic to register their brand (who they are) and their campaign (business use case). This is not a “law” as some have stated but rather a requirement put into place by the carriers. What most people don’t understand is that the carriers own their network. They ultimately decide what traffic they want and don’t want on their networks and can impose rules that all parties must abide by in order to have access to their network and ultimately customers’ handsets. Brand and Campaign registration has also been evolving over the past 2 years. Previously, Project Broadcast was registering each user per the requirements behind the scenes on your behalf so you didn’t have to do anything. Remember that form you were forced to fill out when you first signed up for PB on your initial login? That was for registration. However, new requirements have been rolled out that will force all users to go back through that process to ensure the TCR has up to date info on all Brands and Campaigns.
So what do you need to do? Project Broadcast has launched its self registration process that allows you to register and be compliant. This registration must be completed and approved by August 31, 2023 as that is a hard date for the ecosystem. Today unregistered traffic, also known as gray routes, is allowed through the network but will stop on Aug 31. If you are unregistered after this date, your traffic will be blocked until you register and get approved. The process should take a few minutes to complete. We will handle the rest! If your registration fails you can also contact us at email@example.com for additional assistance. You can also check out our TCR Video and FAQ.