A numeric code that is assigned to a commercial organization for text messaging (SMS). Users text a message to a short code rather than a telephone number to receive a quick answer or to subscribe to a service that sends them periodic alerts about something. Short codes are three to eight digits in length depending on the country, and, like telephones, numbers often spell out brand names for easy remembering. For example, 447879 spells HISTRY for the History Channel in the Arts & Entertainment Network.|
With premium messaging, users pay a fee in addition to the standard message rate. For example, TV shows use premium messages to enable viewers to do such things as obtain sneak peaks of their favorite shows, vote for a star or answer a question for a possible reward.
Common Short Codes (CSCs)
Each country has its own system that dictates the length of the code, specific digits for prefixes and how premium messages might be coded. In the U.S., common short codes (CSCs) with five or six digits are used across all carriers. Prior to CSCs, short codes were confined to each carrier's subscriber base.
For information about U.S. short codes, visit www.usshortcodes.com. For Canadian short codes, visit www.txt.ca. See SMS and MMS.