NEWSLETTER: Navigating 10DLC Regulations | We’re Hiring!

September 29, 2023

Mike Biundo: The 10DLC Travesty

Amanda Biundo, our Creative Director and newsletter editor, asked me to write something for this week’s newsletter edition. I find it hard to say no to her, maybe because of our father-daughter relationship or perhaps because she is usually right. Although I was reluctant, I agreed to write something this week.

I figured Amanda had a big topic in mind. Government shutdown? Presidential debate? Ukraine aid money? Maybe Fetterman’s hoodie? Or maybe this was a rebuttal piece, and she wanted me to explain to Andrew why she-crab soup is not as great as he thinks.

Nope. None of that.

Instead, I was offered an opportunity to opine to you on the travesty that is 10DLC. Or, in plain English, a 10-Digit Long Code. This inhumane practice takes what used to be a quick and easy process of creative design to texting implementation and makes it as complicated as an Indiana corn maze. For campaigns, candidates, and vendors (here’s your reminder that we do more than just general consulting – we also do digital, mail, public affairs, and yes, you guessed it, phones and texting), there’s now a multi-step process that takes forethought and some planning before we can launch your texts.

Now, being the business owner I am, I could sit here and feel my way around an explanation of how and why these carriers chose to add all these extra hurdles before you can communicate with your constituents and voters, or I can do the smart thing and hand it over to our Operations Phone Guru, Austin Buholtz and let him enlighten you on this subject.

Before I go, though – I think Vivek won the debate. Fetterman dresses like a slob. Perhaps we should be taking care of Americans before we send billions of more taxpayer money to Ukraine, and for the love of all things good, can we please stop governing by continuing resolutions and threats of government shutdowns? (There, I feel better.)

Austin Buholtz: Navigating 10DLC Regulations

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions, I assume that most of that road was designed by the same folks who oversee 10DLC texting regulations.

Whether you are trying to rally supporters or deliver important election updates, texting has become an integral part of the modern-day political playbook. However, the introduction of 10DLC (10-Digit Long Code) regulations has thrown a wrench into the gears of political texting, leaving many people in our industry frustrated and exhausted. Let’s dive into this texting red tape and follow me as I attempt to persuade you why it is essential for political organizations to get their 10DLC registration sorted out as soon as possible.

Imagine this unsurprisingly common scenario – you’re a political campaign manager trying to send out an important campaign update to a list of donors right before Election Day. You’ve got a message drafted, and your candidate has given you the green light to get it out the door. But wait! You haven’t taken the time to get your campaign approved by 10DLC, so now, instead of getting a text out the door, you have to explain to your candidate why no one will receive a text message for at least the next two weeks. Sound like fun? Of course not. Whether you’re texting for a political campaign, PAC, or political organization, avoid the nightmare by getting 10DLC registered right away.

Before we dive into the nitty-gritty of 10DLC, it’s essential to understand why these regulations exist. 10DLC regulations were designed by mobile carriers to curb spam and fraudulent messages, and The Campaign Registry (TCR) oversees the 10DLC verification process. So, in the eyes of the carriers, it’s all about protecting the integrity of text messaging for their “valued customers.” While these carriers were trying to keep their customers happy, the people they didn’t think about were those who actually have to go through the registration process that they were nice enough to invent for us.

So, what on earth do you have to do to get registered?

You’ll need to fill out forms (here’s our form if you want to get started now), verify your identity via Campaign Verify and get a token from them, have the organization’s website updated with the proper opt-in language and privacy policy/mobile terms of use, and then, finally, wait as patiently as possible for approval. The wait time can feel excruciatingly long, especially in the fast-paced world of politics, where every day counts.

Once you have been approved, which can take days or even weeks to receive, you’ll be set for text messaging your audience until the next political cycle, where you’ll be forced to re-register your campaign again to continue text messaging.

Getting your 10DLC registration isn’t just about complying with regulations; it’s about ensuring your text messages actually get to your voters and donors. Unregistered campaigns can find their texts relegated to the abyss of spam folders or, even worse, blocked entirely. It’s like having your campaign rally in an empty room because you forgot to send out invitations.

Furthermore, the cost of non-compliance can be expensive. Penalties for sending unsolicited or unregistered texts can be thousands of dollars, so unless you’ve got a bunch of money you want to set on fire, you should do everything that is required to stay 10DLC compliant (regardless of how asinine these regulations may be).

If there’s one thing to take away from what you’ve read, it’s that you should get your registration sorted out as soon as possible. If we have learned anything in our time of dealing with carriers and sending out millions of text messages for our clients, there are likely more changes yet to come to the world of 10DLC regulations. But you can rest assured that our team here at Ascent is ready to navigate you through this storm and make sure that your next texting project is nothing but smooth sailing.

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