In simple terms, link tracking helps measure the success of text message campaigns, but it can cause problems for users. Public shortened URLs often redirect multiple times and don't provide much information about the sender, which can lead to text messages being blocked. To solve this issue, using custom domains that match your website or are familiar to your company's brand is a straightforward solution. Interestingly, T-Mobile has also addressed this problem.

Just to recap, T-Mobile introduced their Code of Conduct for Commercial Messaging on September 1st, 2020. This code lays out T-Mobile's guidelines and expectations for business-related messaging on their network. If you want to communicate with someone using a T-Mobile-connected device, it's important to follow these new rules.

T-Mobile has a preference for using a single, recognizable domain name. According to their Code of Conduct, messaging programs should be connected to a business's web domain. While using the complete domain is preferred, using a branded short URL is acceptable for delivering custom links. This helps maintain consistency with consumers, enhances brand awareness, and boosts confidence in the links.

T-Mobile has more to say about URLs. In their section on "Prohibited Messaging Practices," they have two rules related to URLs:

  1. They prohibit the use of URL cycling to bypass spam filters. This means that public URL shorteners like or are likely to be blocked, preventing messages containing those URLs from being delivered.
  2. T-Mobile discourages the use of URLs that redirect multiple times. Such URLs can hide the actual website destination from consumers, potentially leading to fraudulent websites. T-Mobile's spam filters specifically check for URLs with multiple redirects, and messages containing them are likely to be blocked.

In fact, AT&T has decided to completely block public link shorteners due to their association with fraudulent activities and phishing scams. Although T-Mobile and others haven't taken the same stance yet, it would be wise to take steps to improve message deliverability now to prepare for the future.

What does all of this mean?

The efforts to minimize or eliminate the use of public link tracking domains for shortened URLs or URLs with multiple redirects aim to reduce spam, fraud, and abuse in the messaging industry. However, link tracking is one of the few ways for companies to measure engagement or the success of SMS/MMS programs. This creates a frustrating situation for companies, especially when they are sending important messages that contain necessary links.

3 ways to improve delivery of messages with links

To enhance the deliverability of messages containing URLs and avoid accidental blocks, here are a few steps you can take:

1. Limit the number of redirects in your links. When a link takes users through multiple jumps to reach a different landing page or domain address, it raises suspicion for both users and carriers. Optimize your link destination and consider using tracking methods like UTM parameters to avoid multiple redirects.

2. Using a full-length URL is the carrier's first suggestion, but it can take up valuable space in an SMS where you also need to include your business identification and contextual information within the 160-character limit. If you have critical links, it might be best to use full-length URLs and accept the extra cost for additional message segments.

3. When space is limited, consider using a branded shortened URL that is identifiable with your domain. This method is not limited to big brands like ESPN, Nike, or the New York Times. While it may seem cost-effective to use free public link shorteners like or, if your messages are not being delivered, the cost to your business can add up. Investing in a custom domain for shortened URLs is often more affordable than expected.

Remember, you pay for the messages you send, not just the ones that are delivered. Therefore, maximizing your delivery rate is in the best interest of your business overall.