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Solutions to text spamming

We all hate receiving spam e-mails. They’re annoying, and they usually offer us things we wouldn’t need in a million years (we’re quite comfortable in our manhood, thank you very much). However, they’re a mere inconvenience; a check-and-delete action away from obliteration. This is not the case for text messaging spam. For anyone without one of those $10 to $20 plans that give you a block of text messages, they cost 5 or 10 cents each, depending on your provider. So why should we have to pay because of some idiots? That’s a question we feel that the wireless companies should be answering. Some have, but few have satisfactorily. Here’s what each has to say on the issue:

AT&T: It’s an all or nothing deal. Either you shut off text messaging, or you’re prone to text message spam. Not cool, not cool at all. As the wireless carrier with the most subscribers in the US, it stands to reason that they should be leading the charge against text message spam — or at least offer its customers a way to alleviate the burden. Alas, they’re the most primitive. Why do people subscribe to them again?

Sprint: You can completely shut off text messaging, but Sprint takes it a baby step further. You can ban text messages from individual numbers. The problem: text message spammers don’t use real numbers. They send messages via Internet sites, and therefore rotate numbers specifically to avoid filters. Sorry, Sprint, but you’re not cutting it.

T-Mobile: They claim to allow their customers to create text message filters. Since we’re not subscribers, we can’t tell you what those filters are. But unless it blocks Internet-sent messages completely, it runs into the same problem as Sprint. Blocking from individual numbers simply isn’t enough; it’s as close to nothing you can get without technically being nothing.

Verizon: And we have a winner. Verizon allows you to block all messages coming from Internet sites. Trust us, spammers don’t send you messages from their phones. That would take far too much effort. Remember, spammers spam you because it’s relatively easy. All they have to do is type a poorly-worded message and let their software send it out to a database of numbers automatically. If they sent you a message via a cell phone, it would not only cost them money, but it would take far more time to enter in those numbers. The text spam you receive is from Internet sites, so by blocking that type of message, you’re effectively blocking text spam.

Logical question: Why the hell aren’t other companies mimicking Verizon? Is it really that difficult? It’s a simple measure that provides an invaluable service to customers. But it appears that three out of the four major providers don’t care enough to employ this. Shame on them. Much as we don’t like many of Verizon’s business practices, we have to give them a high-five here.

[Mobile Messaging 2.0]