Spam is changing life as we know it. From how businesses structure their messages to sound more trustworthy to consumers being overly cautious when they receive a text, email, or call, the communication market seems to be constantly shifting.
In March 2022, spam texts rose 28% from the previous month and increased by 1,024% from the prior year. In addition, the average American now receives around 17 spam texts per month.
With these stats, it's not surprising that authorities, carriers, and communication services are making changes to keep spam off consumers' phones. Starting in September 2022, the carriers will mandate registration requirements and verification processes for organizations and businesses using text messaging.
If you read that sentence above and felt overwhelming dread and anxiety, don't worry! We will walk you through everything you need to know concerning text number registration, and if you're currently working with Text-Em-All, our support team is here to guide you through every step of the process should you need assistance. Text-Em-All is fully onboard with reducing spam messages - it’s even been part of our Manifesto for years.
For most organizations, text number registration is a really good thing. The process will increase trust between you and your customers, verify that you're a legitimate sender, and reduce the chance of number blocking in the future.
So what's changing?
1. Local numbers are officially sanctioned for business text messaging
There have been three options for business texting in the past: short codes, toll-free numbers, and local numbers (sometimes referred to as 10DLC).
Short codes are numbers that are five or six digits in length and were built to accommodate business texting. While American Idol and marketing dominated the early years of these numbers, short codes are now widely used for shipping notices, flight updates, big brand marketing, reminders, and notifications. For example - Southwest Airlines uses a short code to send flight reminders, delays, changes, and cancellations.
Short codes support mass messaging well but are expensive - with the cost of a short code starting at $500 per month on top of per-message fees. The hefty price tag attached to the short codes draws many smaller organizations toward long codes, which include local and toll-free numbers.
Once toll-free numbers came out, short codes largely became unnecessary. Toll-free numbers were cheap, fast, and easy to set up while equally capable of sending high-volume messages.
Unfortunately, both toll-free and local numbers have been a haven for spammers - hence the big changes. In the future, while toll-free numbers will still be able to handle huge volumes of text messages each day, they will no longer be cost-effective or easy to acquire.
Clients have always preferred local numbers, but the carriers originally limited local to low-volume use cases. These local numbers (also known as 10-digit long codes) look like regular phone numbers, and are low-cost. This is where spam prevention actually created new capabilities because registered organizations can now use local numbers for high-volume use cases. Additionally, these numbers have fantastic deliverability since they’re pre-approved.
Other benefits of a local number include:
- Carrier support and assurance - Like toll-free numbers, communications providers allow you to register your usage, which will help avoid unintentional spam filtering.
- Local phone number recognition - Send text messages to your contacts individually or in mass with a local phone number. Contacts may trust a local number more, which helps build engagement and provides a great experience.
- Text- and voice-enabled phone numbers - Local numbers support voice, which allows your customers to send and receive text messages on the same number they call you on. This creates a more seamless experience for customers, making it easier and more convenient to engage with you between calls and text messages.
Over time, underlying costs for sending text messages over toll-free and local numbers have increased. In light of this, most service providers now charge additional, often hidden, fees. At Text-Em-All, we will not be passing along these fees at this time. We like to keep pricing as it should be - transparent and simple.2. All businesses/organizations will need to register as trusted senders
The registration process for local numbers is simple and automated, and senders can be up and running immediately in most cases. After this is done, you'll be seen as a legitimate business to the carriers, and you can carry on with business as usual.
The process of registering a toll-free number is much more intense. This registration process requires detailed information about your organization and how your recipients give you permission to text them. The carriers are very specific about how organizations obtain consent. The turnaround time for the review and approval process to register your organization can range from a couple of weeks to a couple of months.
I'm a Text-Em-All user. How will this affect me?
To ensure uninterrupted service, we recommend that most customers switch to a local phone number immediately. Depending on how your account is currently set up, you may be able to obtain a free local number through the Settings page in your account. If you click your name in the top-right corner and choose Settings from the drop-down menu, you might see a white banner with the words Choose your text number by September 30 and an option to click the Choose Now button at the top of the page. Once you click this button, you'll be taken to a separate screen where you can choose your text number. To switch to a local number, click the Switch to a Local Number button on the left side of the screen. The number must be registered in the United States or Canada.
Customers who send more than 4,000 messages a day will need to provide additional registration information. Our Account Management and Customer Experience teams can assist you with this process.
In some rare cases, a toll-free number may be a better option for your organization. Our teams can still help with registration, but the process is more involved and will take longer.
What happens when I switch to a local number?
- Your current toll-free text number will remain in your account for 30 days after a new local number has been applied to your account before it will be retired.
- Your previous conversation history will remain in the DONE folder of the conversation section for historical purposes.
- With any new text number, you will want to remember to assign the new text number to all your users so that they can also send text messages.
- Be sure to enable the text features you want on your new local number (including auto-replies, notifications, required opt-ins, max character limit, and unlimited conversations).
Brad Herrmann is the founder and president of Text-Em-All (formerly Call-Em-All), an automated calling and mass texting company that provides solutions for small and medium-sized businesses, large corporations, membership organizations, community groups, and individuals. Brad is a graduate of Texas A&M University.