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SMS Messaging


MessageGears has integrated with Tier 1 organizations to allow users the highest rate of deliverability when sending SMS.


Table of Contents

Sending Messages

Short Codes

Toll-Free Numbers

Receiving Messages

Keyword support

2-Way Messaging


Sending Messages

Short Codes

A short code is just that - a short 5 or 6-digit number that is capable of sending SMS messages at high volumes within a territory. While these codes originated as a way for brands to be more easily identifiable, they are now the premium product for high-volume SMS sending and the most reliable form of messaging. Short codes are meant to be used if you need to send messages in bulk (burst capacity of dozens or hundreds per second), and are provisioned per territory. This means that if you would like to send SMS campaigns in both the US and the UK, you would need to provision two different numbers.

Short codes are monitored and regulated through the CTIA, and most activities are guided by the online CTIA guidebook Although many providers may get you in hot water by sharing your short code to save money, MessageGears prohibits sharing codes and will only ever allow you to message on your code. This means that your short code is recognizable by the consumer to your brand only - a useful way to build consumer confidence in your messages.

Although they are the fastest and easiest way to send SMS (with the lowest messaging fees per message), short codes do have their downsides. Short codes take weeks to provision through cell carriers, and typically have an up-front fee to get started. If you want to get up and running soon, perhaps you should consider a Toll-Free Number.

Toll-Free Numbers

Toll-Free Numbers (TFN) are codes that begin with recognizable 3-digit sequences, and were established long ago for outbound phone communication. However, recently marketers have begun the ability to send SMS messages on these numbers and take less than a day to provision.

TFN are easy to use and are quick to get up and running, but come with caveats of their own. Delivery quality for TFN may vary, as it is up to the cell carriers to deliver the message as they see fit, and users do not have bulk capacity when sending by TFN. However, TFN are a great solution if you’d like to send triggered/transactional messages to a small population and are a great toe in the water for many SMS programs.


Receiving Messages

Mobile-Originating (MO) messages are any SMS messages sent from a user’s mobile device to a number provisioned through MessageGears. MessageGears provides support for MO messages through the Keyword Support, and 2-Way Messaging which are further detailed below.

Keyword Support

MessageGears offers users the ability to have instant responses automatically handled for keywords of their choosing.

When a keyword is sent to your number, MessageGears will respond with a pre-determined message back to that recipient from your number, recording both the inbound keyword and outgoing message in your event feed. For keyword responses, the Job Category of the message will be AUTORESPONDER and the correlation ID will be the kind of auto-response the message is handling.

There are three kinds of keywords:

  • STOP:  Any STOP message received from a user. These messages will result in a final opt-out message sent to the user. Per CTIA recommendation, the following words are automatically provisioned as STOP words for every number: STOP, STOPALL, UNSUBSCRIBE, CANCEL, QUIT, END
  • HELP:  Messages from recipients asking for additional information from your brand. These messages will result in a support message that must include a contact endpoint for your brand (e.g. phone number, email address). Per CTIA recommendation, the following words are automatically provisioned as HELP words for every number: HELP, INFO
  • OPT-IN:  Opt in messages that recipients send to your number to begin communications. This can be any single word of your choosing and can come with any opt-in text that adequately informs the user of the kinds of messages you will be sending, with clear help and stop calls to action.

2-Way Messaging

Having an ongoing conversation with your users is important, and it’s why MessageGears has prioritized immediate access to inbound messages to foster conversation. When a recipient sends a message to one of your provisioned numbers, you will receive an Inbound Message event in real time on your provisioned queue, containing the sender and message they sent. You may then develop against that endpoint with the expected schema for whatever two-way communication you’d like to enable.

As an example, imagine you have an SMS campaign with purchase and shipping updates to your users, and any non-keyword responses are sent to a customer service desk you have to help your users. An inbound message event may look like this:

<InboundMessage>I need help tracking my package</InboundMessage>


This inbound message text can be shown to the help desk agent, with subsequent messages back to the user organized through



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