Twilio SMS May Become Useless

Hello all.

I suspect the Twilio addon may be rendered useless soon (if not already) for most Webthings users.

There are new regulations being put in place as explained at This regulation helps prevent spam by requiring I register a brand and campaign case to keep messages from being filtered by carriers when an automated process sends text to a person (A2P). I started seeing most Webthings messages “disappear” a few days ago.

I’m hoping someone out there can either provide me an alternative to Twilio for sending system SMS notification or some encouragement the new Twilio process is simpler than it looks. I use Twilio to send text messages to myself and spouse regarding security, leak sensors and sensor battery states. In a busy month 15 messages will go out. The sticky issue seems to be that, before approval, they want to see an automated logic flow that allows the message receiver (me or my spouse) to opt out. I’m not sure I want to invest a bunch of time to understand and implement a solution if simple alternatives exist.
Any guidance or direction will be appreciated.


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I had the same issue with Twilio verification. So I ended up building an alternative that let’s people get approved in a few minutes. You can take a look at it here

Thanks for sending another alternative but you may be up against the same forces as I’m seeing at twilio. When I look at the logs of rejected SMS it’s not Twilio rejecting the messages, it’s the carrier (verizon in this case). My impression is the whole industry is going to get constrained by this “verification of sender” movement.

Keep an eye on it as it may take a few months to unfold. I hope it continues to work for you.

That’s a shame :anguished:

I’m afraid I don’t have any alternative suggestions, but please report back if it gets bad enough that you think we should de-list the add-on.

Ben… I’m going to work this in a couple different directions so it might be a month. Twilio’s approval process takes several weeks and I’ll launch that request in the next few days. If I find it burdensome or impossible I’ll report back.

As an alternative I’m toying with sending MQTT to AWS-IOT then using their Simple Notification Service (AWS-SNS) to get texts. It can all be done within the AWS free tier if it works. Plenty of things could go sideways but if I get this working I’ll report back.

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Here’s the workaround… buy a toll free number from Twilio and then make that the “from” phone number.

The toll free number verification does require a business website I did not have. I simply made a shareable google doc to satisfy the need. Now my toll free number is in a pending verification state and all my texts do get sent. If twilio fails to approve the new number in a few weeks I’ll report back.

Satisfying all the 10DLC (rather than toll free) verification requirements of creating a brand and then a campaign looks doable but more complicated. I did create the brand as a sole proprietor (US, no EIN) fairly easily. The campaign generation had potential “lack of clarity” pitfalls, a $15 non-refundable fee and several weeks to get approved and functioning again. Toll free limits how many texts can be sent per day but that limit is orders of magnitude beyond my needs.

The Twilio addon lives again!

Thank you for reporting back.

Wow, that is a lot of work to get SMS notifications working!

An update…

A toll free number solved my problem briefly. I wasn’t as careful in the (opaque) registration process as I should have been and it was rejected. Twilio notified me the number would stop working in 6 weeks.

I changed paths, rolled up sleeves and registered a non toll free number with a twilio campaign. This cost $15 to register and $2 per month. Again, I need texting instead of push to reach my satellite texting device when I’m off grid.

Here are some lessons learned from campaign registering:

  1. All your texts must identify who is sending and an opt-out phrase such as “reply STOP to unsubscribe”
  2. You MUST create a message service. The id of the message service becomes the from number in the Webthings Twilio addon configuration page.
  3. I’d recommend using the messaging service’s Advanced Opt-Out feature. It handles automatically some of the activities associated to regulatory requirements of opt-in, opt-out and help. For me this has the added benefit of being able to subscribe and unsubscribe the satellite text device easily and avoid messaging costs.
  4. Create an opt-in example paper document on a publicly shared google doc and link that document to the campaign registration. Twilio has some examples on their help site to clarify the wording requirement.
  5. The Twilio video on registration is helpful.

I’m back in the saddle again!

Goodness me, thanks for the update, what a hassle!