How Does Carrier Filtering Work?

When people receive messages they find objectionable, they may file complaints or report the carrier to governing bodies, seek damages, or simply stop being a customer. All of these things reduce the revenue of or increase costs for cell phone carriers. Thus, it is in the best interest of cell phone carriers to protect their subscribers from what they consider to be objectionable content.

How do carriers filter messages?

There is no standard practice for carrier filtering across all cell phone carriers. For some, filtering can range from a simple static list of prohibited terms to advanced machine learning systems that work in real time. Regardless of the system, carriers keep their filtering systems closely guarded secrets. In turn, we cannot say definitively how these systems work or why a particular message was filtered.

How do I know if my messages are being filtered?

Unfortunately, we are not always notified by the cell phone carrier when they filter a message. But, you may see the Status "rejc" or Unreachable Carrier. Reach out to us and we can look deeper into the situation. You can use the chat feature in the bottom right hand corner or you can email us at support@textinchurch.com

How do I prevent my messages from being filtered?

1. Communicate like real people do. 

2-way communication is key. Text In Church is not a bullhorn. Be sure that you are NOT just blasting out text messages all of the time, but instead engaging in conversations. You want people to reply to your messages. This lets cell phone carriers know that people want to receive your messages and confirm you are not SPAMMING. Treat Text In Church like you do your own personal cell phone. Have conversations and engage with your community.  

2. Remind them who you are.

A confusing message to users might seem like someone they don’t know has their contact information. So be sure to end your messages y reminding them who you are. For example you may want to conclude your text message with "Pastor Tyler" or "Tyler @ City Church". This ensure they know who has sent them this message.  

Suspicious users are more likely to report messages to their carrier, and when messages are reported to carriers it becomes very likely that future messages from that number or with similar content will be filtered. In some cases, the user may have forgotten that they requested the message. 

4. Is it a good user experience?

How the message is formatted and written is important: overly long messages can trigger carriers to filter your messages. Remember, you're sending a text message; not a novel. Also, overly capitalized messages, mysterious links, hyperbole, and using aggressive language can raise the level of suspicion users feel about a message. 

5. Use our placeholder, {FIRST_NAME}, to add the recipients first name.

Using {FIRST_NAME} in your messages makes them all personal and unique. This allows you to send thousands of unique messages and avoids the appearance of one large (potentially spam) message blast.

6. Limit sending shortened URL's in a message

Some major carrier's like Verizon and AT&T have begun aggressively filtering messages that contain shortened URL's in the message. It's best to use the full web address when available. Some popular URL shorteners are Bit.ly and TinyURL 

7. Only communicate during an end user's daytime hours unless it is urgent.

It's sounds obvious, but messages sent too early or late causes frustration. Be sure to only send messages during normal hours.  

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