August 11, 2023

The Harsh Reality of 10DLC: Forbidden Message Categories

Explore the intricacies of 10DLC messaging guidelines. Stay updated on forbidden categories and ensure your SMS campaigns comply with CTIA standards.

The Harsh Reality of 10DLC: Forbidden Message Categories

In preparation for a full 10DLC messaging ecosystem, mobile carriers are starting to strictly enforce the10DLC compliance guidelines set forth in the CTIA Messaging Principles and Best Practices.

The CTIA is an industry trade group representing the U.S. wireless communications industry. Its Messaging Principles and Best Practices guide is a set of voluntary best practices developed by CTIA’s member companies. Going forward, it will act as a checklist of items that senders must comply with to ensure their messages are not blocked as spam. But before you waste time wading through the document, you should be aware of the following forbidden message categories, which carriers will block regardless of any other compliance steps undertaken by the sender.

High Risk Financial Services: Messages touting payday and short term high-interest loans, new loan solicitations, student loans, cryptocurrency offers, and offers that pertain to stock and investing platforms are all forbidden.

Third Party Lead Generation Services and Marketing:Under 10DLC, messages sent by companies that buy, sell, or share consumer information will be forbidden. This includes affiliate marketers and any other third-party use cases. Carriers have taken the position that consent to send marketing texts must be obtained directly from consumers, so any business with a terms of service or privacy policy that mentions sharing or selling consumer data/opt-in information will be considered noncompliant.

The Harsh Reality of 10DLC:  Forbidden Message Categories

Debt Collection or Forgiveness: Debt consolidation, debt reduction, and any other debt relief offers, including credit repair, are on the forbidden list.

Get Rich Quick Schemes: Carriers will block messages describing work-from-home programs, risky investment opportunities, pyramid schemes, mystery shopper programs, and any type of multi-level marketing programs, all of which are forbidden under 10DLC.

Illegal or Dangerous Products: Cannabis, CBD, Kratom, or drug paraphernalia product businesses are prohibited from utilizing SMS/MMS messaging in the US and Canada, regardless of content. This list includes vape products and fireworks. These restrictions apply regardless of the federal or state legality.

Prescription Drugs: Offers for any drug that cannot be sold over-the-counter in the US and Canada are forbidden regardless if the sender is a licensed professional.

Gambling: Gambling traffic is prohibited in the US and Canada for all number types (Toll Free, Short Code, or Long Code), but sweepstakes offers are allowed on Short Code but need to go through a special review.

S.H.A.F.T. Messages: Messages pandering Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco (SHAFT) are generally forbidden, but alcohol traffic will be permitted as long as proper age gating procedures are in place.

Clearly,10DLC is an ultra-strict paradigm, especially with regard to its restrictions on lead generators. For direct senders, compliance with the principles set forth in the CTIA document (and registering with the Campaign Registry), should result in campaigns running without issue.

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