Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.


You may have seen on last night’s Daily Show that presidential hopeful Ted Cruz gave a speech at Liberty University in which he implored the attendees to text “constitution” to 33733, with little context. It wasn’t just selective Daily Show editing, either; publications covering the event didn’t offer any additional context, and Cruz’ official Twitter account didn’t either.

I did some digging after watching this and it turns out that 33733 is the vanity number for a company called Tatango:

Tatango comprises of a team of seasoned retail SMS marketing experts located in both Seattle & San Francisco. Our passion at Tatango is to help retailers solve their SMS marketing challenges, while at the same time building easy to use, yet powerful enterprise-grade software to manage the scale of even the largest and complex retail SMS marketing campaigns.

(My, they sure do want to rank well for “retail SMS marketing”, don’t they?)

So they’re a company that provides SMS spam services, something which Cruz didn’t disclose. Nor did Cruz disclose how to opt out of his SMS spam. Tatango, however, does:

Msg&Data rates may apply. To opt out, text STOP to 33733 and 68398.

Not only do you have to text “STOP” to the number you’re receiving texts from, you also have to send it to a completely different vanity number. Seems sleazy for this company, and irresponsible for Cruz not to disclose any of this information.