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Anyone that has been following Tatango over the last few year knows that we are completely against text message spam. We’ve written letters to the Mobile Marketing Association, we’ve called out notorious spammers and even released our own report on how big of a problem text message spam really is.
What is at the root of all this text message spam? It’s simple, it’s SMS providers allowing businesses the ability to import your mobile phone numbers into their systems. Once your phone number is imported into their system, a business is able to text message spam you with little to no restrictions.
Most SMS providers claim they are doing all they can to prevent spam, as they tell businesses to only import opted-in mobile subscribers. This is a useless statement (and is extremely lucrative), as there is no possible way for an SMS provider to confirm you have previously given permission for a business to text message you. In reality, there is only one way for an SMS provider to verify your permission, and that’s by you opting into an SMS campaign on your own mobile phone with a short code and keyword. This is why Tatango only allows businesses to add mobile phone numbers through this process, no other ways, period.
To give you an idea of how easy it is for businesses to send text message spam to your mobile phone, I wanted to setup a demonstration for you. First, I found an SMS provider that allows the ability to import mobile phone numbers into their system. This wasn’t very hard, as the majority of SMS providers still allow this practice. Below is the website, which I’ve concealed their identify with black, which I will explain why at the end of the post.
I quickly setup an account, conveniently claiming the keyword “SPAM”.
Next I created 1,426 mobile phone numbers with the area code 206 (Seattle) and created a text file to import into my new SMS campaign.
Next I uploaded the text file with all of those 1,426 generated mobile phone numbers to my SMS campaign.
After all of the phone numbers had been added to my SMS campaign, all I needed to do was type in a message and hit send. Obviously I didn’t hit send, but the point is that all it would have taken was a click of the mouse and I would have been able to text message spam 1,426 people in Seattle.
Why didn’t we expose this or other SMS providers that are allowing this practice? In short, it’s not our job to monitor or enforce the SMS marketing industry, that’s the job of the CTIA. To make them aware of this problem, and to voice your concerns, tweet them the following:
@CTIA Stop SMS providers from importing my mobile phone number
(Click here to tweet this)