TL;DR: Most Can Still Utilize SMS with Proper Age Gating

Sex, Hate, Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco. And text messaging.

For so-called S.H.A.F.T. companies, keeping in compliance with SMS legislation and carrier rules can seem daunting.

SMS is referred to by many businesses as a new “wild west.” In 2021 there’s been a lot of talk (and some confusion) about what is and isn’t permitted for SMS eCommerce, especially if you operate a brand that might fall under one of the S.H.A.F.T. categories.

At Voyage SMS, it’s our mission to help a diversity of clients best serve their customers, so let’s dig into the overall situation with SMS and S.H.A.F.T. brands, and clear up the confusion.

This way, you can be sure to not only remain in compliance but also pursue your business goals through SMS – worry-free.

First, let’s move past one common misconception.

The Rules Haven’t Changed – But Enforcement Has Shifted

Recent chatter about SMS compliance updates are in actuality not about new legislative changes applying to S.H.A.F.T companies. Such rules have been in effect for a while, and have remained largely the same for some time.

What has changed is carrier enforcement. Carriers are simply paying more attention to whether S.H.A.F.T. brands are following federal rules under the FCC.

This increased scrutiny has for related reasons coincided with the grandfathering out of shared short codes. With more brands texting, carriers want to more easily gather detailed information on who is and who is not complying with regulation. You can’t do that when brands are sharing short codes.

These are the facts. The rumors circulating suggest a more dramatic – and incorrect – interpretation: that S.H.A.F.T. companies are being restricted from SMS marketing altogether.

That’s not the case – with one exception*.

The Solution: Proper Age Gating

Voyage SMS was built to flexibly serve all marketers’ unique needs. Just as no consumer is the same, no brand is the same. This remains a primary driver of our product decisions.

For this reason, our custom-designed lead capture forms ensure immediate compliance for all S.H.A.F.T. brands. Consumers must provide a valid age to opt-in to our text messaging platforms.

As an example, look at how we’re executing proper age gating for Winc:

example of a modal with proper age gating

For any brand leaders that want to be doubly sure, you don’t have to just take our word for it. Check out what Twilio** has to say on the subject as well.

In Short: Voyage SMS Has Got You Covered

If SMS is the wild west, Voyage is your trusty partner as you explore the vast potential of SMS eCommerce. Our solutions remain flexible, compliant, and rapidly innovative.

Schedule a demo with Voyage SMS today to learn more about age gating and our many other features and integrations.

* The exception would be for entities designated as promoting Hate.

** Sources: and

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