Short Code ProgramHave you as a consumer been taken in by this scam? That is what I think it is. Recently I started receiving these funny text messages on my phone. I have an unlimited text plan so really did not pay much attention to them. They keep asking game type questions and wanted me to answer the question. Of course I never replied to them and forgot about it until I received my cell phone bill.

On it were records of 8 short message codes that I had received and for each one, the phone company charged me $2 for a total of $16.00! What is this? Especially when I did not even ask for it. These charges can really add up in a hurry!

When I called my cell phone provider they tried to tell me that I had subscribed to this service. I asked them to tell me who the company was. The answer was “Ideal Mobile”, whom I have never heard of! I think that between my provider and this company there is a deal were they split the revenues at my expense!

They wrote it off and told me that in the future I would have to pay. They also told me how to stop the messages from being sent to me. Readers pay attention to your bills . I have included a reference from another web site called, “Sumotext”, which explains short message codes very well. Hopefully this will help our readers!

Note: If you get these messages and do not want the, just hit reply and type “stop” and then send!

Short Code Program Explained

Dedicated Short Codes

Taking cues from Asia and Europe, wireless carriers through the CTIA created the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA) as an entity to administer short codes (5 or 6 digit abbreviated phone numbers). Leasing a short code is similar to leasing a domain name. Short Codes ensure that consumers remain in control of their experiences by providing them a trusted method to ‘Opt-In’ and ‘Opt-Out’ of mobile marketing campaigns or alert services from their phone.

Costs of Dedicated Short Code

Carrier-assigned short codes can be leased from the CSCA for $1,500 quarterly. If you want to pick out the numbers of your short code (i.e. choose a vanity code), the CSCA charges $3,000 quarterly.

Benfits of Dedicated Short Codes

Short Codes protect our mobile devices from SPAM and unsolicited marketing. They identify the content providers to both the carriers and consumers. Unlike with e-mail (where you simply lease a domain name and start sending people e-mail messages), all short codes are initially black-listed from carrier’s networks.

Each Short Code program has to be independently provisioned, tested, then certified by each wireless carrier to gain access to that network and that process currently takes 8-12 weeks. Carriers conduct regular audits to ensure ongoing compliance of each short code on their networks and they can easily block programs that don’t follow their rules.

Shared Short Codes

A short code can be shared by multiple content providers if the program is managed by a Short Code Application Provider like SUMOTEXT with a system capable of maintaining carrier compliance while differentiating between program traffic through the use of unique keywords.

However, due to the growing number of programs being run over shared short codes, wireless carriers continue to tighten requirements for the application providers who offer these services. As such, SUMOTEXT thoroughly reviews all new programs and regularly reports new programs and their associated keywords to wireless carriers.

5 Big Rules for Compliance

1. Consumers must ‘Opt-in’ to a short code program from their mobile device before they can be sent anything. Even an initial message that asks for permission is considered SPAM.

2. Consumers must ‘double’ opt-in (confirm their intent to subscribe by replying “YES” to a welcome message) to any short code program that charges fees – or – to any standard rated program when the subscriber opts-in from a web form.

3. All subscription or alert services that will have recurring messages (even standard rated programs) must provide a compliant opt-In confirmation message. That message must contain:

a) Content provider’s name (e.g. “Applebees: “)

b) Program description (e.g. “Welcome to our Mobile VIP Club”)

c) Frequency of alerts (e.g. “Max 8msg/mth”)

d) Rate/cost disclosure (e.g. “Msg & Data rates may apply.”)

e) Instructions for opt-out and help (e.g. “Reply STOP to end or HELP for help”)

4. All short code subscription services with recurring messages (even standard rated programs) must contain “Reply STOP to opt-out” in each and every message sent from the system. This is a requirement for both premium and standard rated programs.

5. All short code programs must support the universal commands STOP, QUIT, END, CANCEL, UNSUBSCRIBE, STOP ALL, and HELP.

NOTE: There are many other short code requirements and some are different for each carrier. Be sure to choose an application provider with an intelligent system designed to format and process messages differently for each carrier network.

For more text messaging information, click here.