SMS marketing is a fruitful field that brings a lot of benefits and satisfaction to marketers who made a decision to resort to it. However, there is a massive scourge to the whole industry that undermines the value of this marketing channel. We are talking about fake DLRs and their impact on the industry.
What is a DLR and how does it work?
DLR stands for delivery reports or delivery receipts. Basically, it is a report that notifies a sender whether the previously sent message was received or not.
To understand what a DLR SMS report is, let’s find out how an SMS delivery service works. The message you send from your phone (P2P route) or application (A2P route), goes to an SMS service which redirects it to a short message service center or SMSC of your operator. The operator sends it further to the operator of your recipient. The delivery report shows where this process was completed or not.
There are several statuses that you can see on your delivery report:
— delivered: obviously, the best scenario possible, your message was successfully delivered to the phone of the recipient;
— pending: the delivery is in the process; usually, it means that text shortly has received the message, but it hasn’t yet reached the end-point user. This situation may be caused by a few reasons: for example, the phone is out of network reach, or it is turned off, or the subscriber has a debt to his or her operator.
— scheduled: the message is set up for delivery and waiting for its turn;
— undeliverable: in this case, the message hasn’t reached the user and won’t be delivered lately. The most common situation is when a user’s number is inactive and out of service. However, this status may sometimes appear for the phones that are in roaming in other countries or if the message was marked as spam by spam filters.
What is a fake DLR?
Delivery reports are especially significant for marketing teams who resort to text messaging as their communication and promotional channel. Monitoring what percent of messages weren’t delivered and finding out the reasons is the first step to improve your marketing activities, and hence, increase customer engagement and even sales.
But what if the reporting system is corrupted, and you constantly receive fake delivery reports?
Unfortunately, for the last few years, fraudulent DLRs become a common fraud activity that undermines the whole industry. As you can guess, fictitious delivery reports state that the message was successfully delivered when in reality, no actions were taken to proceed with your messages.
Fake DLR facts
SMS fake delivery reports harm the market greatly. Markers are forced to question the reliability and integrity of their providers, text services need to keep thorough monitoring on their routes, and adding a third-party vendor may seriously damage the quality of your services and hence, your reputation.
Here our team gathered some major facts that will explain why fraud DLRs are considered such a big and complicated threat in the industry.
— It’s almost impossible to detect who is really responsible for generating sham reports: SMS aggregators and other services, as well as operators themselves, have enough means to fake the delivery of SMS text messages. As a sender, even if you discover that you can’t trust reporting, you still can’t know whom to blame.
— Fraudulent delivery compromises your performance. If you are doing your SMS marketing right, then you definitely track the results of your marketing campaign. Fake mobile SMS delivery reports will count as legitimate users. But there is actually nobody who can interact with your message, therefore, your indicators aren’t representative. But you may not know about it, and only notice dropped conversion and registration rates.
— Unreliable services thrive on unreliable SMS DLRs. Every sham report is a manifestation of a scam because clients actually pay for nothing. If the services or operators show a 100-percent delivery rate on fake deliveries, they receive full payment without actually fulfilling their obligations.
Sources and causes of fake SMS delivery receipts
As we already mention, there are usually two players who can provide you with untrustworthy delivery reports.
Aggregator caused fake DLRs
The main reason that pushes aggregators to resort to fake SMS services is profit. The idea of high margins and easy execution excites untrustworthy companies. Moreover, with the rise of bulk SMS verification tools, unreliable vendors are ready to create new, more creative ways to commit fraud.
So how may SMS services work with unreliable DLRs?
— They may send fraud reports on the whole traffic you run through them. Nowadays, it is easily detected, so this approach isn’t used very often.
— The provider finds out your test numbers, whitelists, and uses the best routes for them, so you won’t get any suspicions. But when the time comes to the real numbers, the fraudulent deliveries are in the game.
— Some percent of sham DLR appears in your campaigns. As a result, a major amount of your messages are sent, but there are still blank deliveries you need to pay for.
MNO caused SMS fake delivery receipts
Mobile network operators can also generate fake DLR for the same reasons, but use more profound measures for that, for example:
— sorting texts by sender IDs and send fraud DLR to a certain type of them, for example, alphanumeric ones.
— creating sham DLR on bulk message campaigns;
— presenting messages that couldn’t pass spam filters as successfully sent ones.
Tips on how to mitigate fake DLR
Fighting this problem is possible, and test SMS receiving on real numbers in real time may help you eliminate this threat.
— Run regular tests and thoroughly analyze the results you’ve received.
— Protect your testing numbers and never reveal them: if they get whitelisted by unreliable providers, your testing won’t represent the real situation with the delivery.
— Try SMS API to simplify the testing process and integrate testing features to your existing platform; you will need less time for these tasks.
— Don’t mark your test message content, make it look like a usual text message; it’s the same situation as with testing numbers: if the provider understands what campaigns are for testing, they will add them to whitelists.
— Review your vendor base and exclude those that send fraudulent deliveries to you.
Testing the quality of your SMS routes to prevent fake DLRs
Testelium offers you a multifunctional text messaging testing platform. We sent test messages to real numbers worldwide and log dozens of route and delivery parameters that will help you detect scam deliveries.
Choose Testelium and benefit from:
— Sender ID testing;
— real info on delivery speed and status;
— SMSC detecting;
— content verification;
— test automation.
The Bottom Line
Untrustworthy delivery receipts are a scourge of nowadays SMS market. The consequences of fake DLR may neutralize the efforts you are putting into your marketing. However, the industry offers efficient solutions to this challenge, and present dozens of solutions.
Testelium is ready to help you fight unreliable reports and find quality routes that won’t cause any delivery problems.