July 06, 2011
Text Messaging: Short Code is to Long Code as Apple is to Google
Stop trying to make long codes function like short codes; they DO NOT work like that!
Long codes are not meant for blasting, they are not able to do premium SMS text messaging. There are reasons short codes cost what they do and reasons why not every domestic wireless carrier accepts the traffic. If you are trying to increase your reach while saving money to PUSH your marketing SPAM, long codes are not the right avenue for you. There are throughput limitations for messaging (it’s there for a reason) as well as acceptable use restrictions requested by the wireless carriers (because they lose money) in regards to long code; they want you to use short codes for this reason (in case you missed it- so they can make money).
Plus, if you don’t use long code for its intended purpose, you will be missing the GREATEST point of using long codes - - to interact and engage with your customer base at a hyper local level.
Long Codes, like Flextalk SMS, are designed for P2P (peer to peer) traffic or 1 to 1. While many scoff and view that as a limitation (mostly mobile marketers who care nothing about their clients wants and even less about a mobile user’s sanity) it should really be viewed as it is: the opportunity to get with the mobile user and to show that you care and are interested in their opinion. Short codes cannot do this, they are not designed for this because they are expensive and the reach is limited (Read: 7 Ways Short Codes Fall Short).
What about voice? You know that little thing a phone was designed for in the first place. Short code cannot handle or deliver voice, so if you are trying to use it for an interaction with a mobile user and decided they would rather speak with your client then short code falls off and the mobile user must take extra steps to make that call. Long code empowers your clients with the ability to engage mobile users either with SMS or Voice so now if they decide to speak with your client they can simply hit ‘SEND’ and BAM they are connected.
There are many other differences (again Read: 7 Ways Short Codes Fall Short) between the two but just like you wouldn’t go to Apple (News - Alert) as a search engine or go to Google to buy a iMac, (yes you can search for one there…I know but they don’t make them) you can’t go to long codes if what you really need is a short code.
Embrace long codes for what they are designed for: Connections.
Think I am completely off my rocker? Got a comment or question or you want to discuss further, by all means please do.
David Vaughan is an industry veteran of telecom, now Director of Projects at TSG Global, Inc. To read more of David's articles, please visit his
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