Short Code FAQ  >  What Is a Shared Short Code?

What Is a Shared Short Code?

A shared short code is an SMS short code that is used and paid for multiple brands. A shared short code is different from a dedicated short code, because a dedicated short code is used and paid for by only one specific brand.

One of the most important decisions you'll need to make when launching a mobile marketing campaign is whether to use a dedicated short code, or a shared short code.

The reason many brands use a shared short code is the relatively low cost, compared to a dedicated short code. With a dedicated short code, the owner of a short code is responsible for the entire lease amount, which can be anywhere from $500-$1,000/month. With a shared short code, a business or organization can get access to a short code at a fraction of the cost of a dedicated short code.

This is made possible as each brand using the shared short code is sharing the cost of that short code lease. Many shared short codes have thousands, or even tens of thousands of businesses and organizations all using the same short code at the same time. It's because of this that many shared short codes can be rented for a few dollars each month.

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When using a shared short code, all text messages, no matter from what business or organization they are sent from, all arrive on consumer's mobile phone as the same 5-6 digit phone number. This means if you're receiving text messages from Joe's Dry Cleaning, and Bill's Pizza, and they're both using the same shared short code, both of their text messages will arrive on your mobile phone from the same mobile phone number.

To enable consumers to opt-in to receive messages from one specific business or organization that is using a shared SMS short code, a short code owner will rent out what is commonly called "SMS Keywords" on that short code. Each SMS keyword is unique to each business or organization, so when a consumer sends the SMS keyword "JOES" to the shared short code number, the short code owner knows who to route that message to.

Shared Short Code Disadvantages

When a wireless carrier performs a short code audit, the wireless carriers are determining if the use of the short code is in compliance with the standards set by both the CTIA and the wireless carriers. When the wireless carriers determine that a business or organization is using a shared short code in violation of their rules, the wireless carriers will suspend all text messaging traffic on the short code.

This means that if brand A and B are using the same shared short code, and brand B is found to have violated the rules, both brand A and B will not be able to send or receive text messages on that shared short code.

When a shared short code is suspended, it can take up to a month for the wireless carriers to remove that suspension, depending on the severity of the violation. During the time a shared short code is suspended, no text messages can be sent or received on that shared short code.

With the majority of shared short codes being used by thousands, or even tens of thousands of businesses and organizations, it's become impossible to guarantee that all users of a shared short code are in compliance with the wireless carrier rules. It's because of this that it's impossible to ensure that when using a shared short code, that text messaging will not be interrupted due to another's misuse of the shared short code.

The Solution: To avoid being responsible for other’s use of the short code your using, or more importantly their misuse of the short code, we recommend using a dedicated SMS short code.

Top 10 Shared Short Codes

See the top 10 shared short codes in the United States.

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