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Regulatory Guidelines for US Short Code Marketing and Opt-in Procedures
Regulatory Guidelines for US Short Code Marketing and Opt-in Procedures

Call To Action Guidelines for Short Codes

Written by Klane Pedrie
Updated over a week ago

Regulatory Guidelines for US Short Code Marketing and Opt-in Procedures

To ensure your short code campaign meets Telnyx's expectations, as outlined in our Acceptable Use Policy, your company must adhere to carrier compliance mandates, industry benchmarks, and relevant laws.

Industry norms dictate that specific details must be included wherever your short code is promoted or when individuals opt-in to receive short code messages. This includes any medium through which an individual provides their phone number to receive messages via a short code, such as paper forms or online platforms.

Promotions and opt-in forms are often referred to as Calls to Action, or CTAs. The phrasing of your short code CTA will differ based on the sign-up method, guiding users on how to subscribe to the campaign. When crafting your CTA, consult resources like the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook and the MMA’s Global Code of Conduct and Best Practices Guide. Below, we provide examples of effective CTAs.

For instance, an SMS keyword Call to Action might be:

Text {Keyword} to ##### to subscribe to alerts.

Wherever the short code is advertised (online, in print, etc.), include the following mandatory information:

Message and data rates may use. {Message frequency}. Text HELP to ##### for assistance. Text STOP to ##### to unsubscribe. For terms: {URL to SMS terms of service}. For privacy: {URL to privacy policy}

Consider these points when drafting your Call to Action:

  • Message frequency must be precise, such as “1 message/day” or “4 messages/month.” If the frequency depends on user interaction, phrase it as “1 message/user request.” For variable frequencies, "Message frequency varies" is permissible, but justification may be required.

  • Ensure your privacy policy is tailored to your text messaging campaign, detailing how data is managed. This policy should be accessible via your CTA and clearly marked.

  • Link to the terms and conditions pertinent to your text messaging campaign within your CTA. These terms should clearly explain the operation of your campaign. Consult with your legal counsel to ensure these documents contain all necessary legal notices.

  • The word “STOP” should be emphasized in bold wherever it appears.

  • Your CTA may need additional language to comply with specific legal requirements depending on your campaign's nature.

Based on industry standards for short code services, be prepared for potential audits by carriers or regulatory bodies. U.S. short code campaigns frequently undergo such reviews according to the CTIA Short Code Monitoring Handbook. Remember, carriers can suspend short code services at any time, so adhering to these guidelines does not guarantee uninterrupted service.

Furthermore, your CTA may be subject to additional legal and regulatory requirements depending on the specifics of your text messaging campaign. It's advisable to consult with your legal counsel to address any compliance questions and understand how industry standards apply to your campaign.

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