4 Reasons Why Spammers Love Long Codes

The following is the weekly guest series by Derek Johnson, Founder & CEO of SMS marketing provider Tatango. You can text him at (206) 334-4012 or email him at derek@tatango.com.

There’s been a lot of noise lately in the mobile marketing industry about long codes, some are even questioning if these will be the death of short codes. I’m still bearish on long codes as the carriers have yet to come out publicly and give their approval for long code A2P (application to person) messaging. This post though isn’t about long codes being approved or not approved by the carriers, or even if long codes are a good substitute for short codes. This post is about why I feel text message spammers are on the verge of a mass exodus away from short codes to long codes.

Here are my three reasons why text message spammers will love long codes, and in-turn will make the migration.

1. Low Messaging Costs – There is one thing that all spammers have in common, if there are two methods of spamming that achieve the same results, they will always pick the cheapest method. Sending messages through a long code is significantly cheaper than through a short code, especially when you factor in the cost to setup and manage a short code.

2. Easy Setup – Screw applying for a short code, waiting, signing contracts with aggregators, waiting, submitting campaigns to the carriers for approvals and waiting some more. With long codes, there are no approvals, no setup fees, really nothing getting in the way of spammers sending their first text message.

3. No Stupid Rules – Spammers don’t want to have to comply with stupid rules and audits of those rules, that kind of stuff just gets in the way of spamming. With long codes, no one is watching, so feel free to say fuck you to the MMA Best Practices, the mobile carriers, the CTIA, etc.

4. Hiding is Easy – Have you ever tried to find out who to blame for those long code spam messages you’ve been receiving? It’s nearly impossible, even with the almighty Google. Spammers love staying anonymous, and with short codes that is hard to do with things like the U.S. Short Code Directory. With long codes though, spammers are able to cycle through batches of different phone numbers with each and every campaign, dodging detection with every message.

Now that I think about it, I actually love long codes. It’s a fact of life that there will always be people wanting to send text message spam, but with the rise of long codes, these spammers will now have a new home. After this migration to long codes, short codes will once again be a spam-free haven for SMS marketing.