Can I use my 2ndNumber to receive verification SMS messages?

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You've asked the question. But do you really want the answer? Are you going to take the blue pill or the red pill?

Red pill? OK, read on...

Firstly, this doesn't apply to UK numbers, you can skip this article and the answer to the headline is a yes - on the basis you do not use your 2ndNumber for unsolicited / commerical communications in bulk.

So, the direct answer to the headline is : Yes. But there is a BUT. A series of regulations came out called STIR/SHAKEN which prevent robocallers/spammers and scammers from using cloud based numbers (like ours) to carry out their evil deeds. Broadly speaking it's very welcome, however the fines that come with non-compliance are truly eye watering and right now the industry is in a state of panic and essentially blocking anyone or anything it thinks could be remotely "spammy".

The first thing they look for is the "symetry" of the number - ie. inbound communications vs outbound communications. It should be 1:1 - so ie. expecting 1 call/text in for every 1 call/text out - makes sense right, just like human to human conversation. If you don't do this, you're conducting A2P traffic - which means machine to person. We don't support this, plus A2P designated numbers are not reliable for communicating with. You need P2P. Which is person to person. Our numbers are P2P.

So when you sign up to online services, such as Google, they'll be looking for a variety of things, namely so they don't get slapped with a fine from the FCC. (and this is where it gets freaky):

1. Have you signed up to several accounts under the same number? Yes? That's asymetrical. That's more traffic going into a number than going out. FCC says bad. Might be patchy.

2. Do you have a history of using cloud numbers to sign up to multiple accounts under one number (ie. are you a marketeer?). Yes? That's commercial. That's asymetrical. Again, FCC says bad. Might be patchy.

Hang on, how does Google know? Well we're not sure, but they do. They know that your device has been used in the past to create multiple accounts and you're put on the naughty list. Most likely via digital fingerprinting of your device/devices.

3. Do you live in a country that has a bad reputation for spamming? Yes? Well, you'll be saddened to hear that geographical prejudice happens. Don't believe me? Take a look at the below. The same 2ndNumber being used from two geographical locations. One computer in Brazil. One in the UK. Guess which one got accepted?

Yes, folks, big brother is real. The plus side, if you're not a marketeer without a history of creating multiple user accounts on individual platforms (such as Google or LinkedIn), you'll be fine. If you don't live in high spam continents, you'll be fine. If you try to get around the matter by using VPN, tough luck, 'cos most VPN IP ranges are known and on the naughty list. The only real way is to get a friend over the pond to sign up on your behalf, you'll almost certainly receive the signup SMS, but continued use of such an account back on your home computer will eventually mean you'll be blocked in the long term. 

Let's hope this cools off a bit once the FCC STIR/SHAKEN regulations have matured and restrictions are eased, but right now the industry is in full self-preservation mode. UK numbers are largely exempt, but we're still controlled (to a lesser degree) by OFCOM and they too can flex their muscles to disconnect heavily asymetrical usage.

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