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Should you be a CSP or Reseller?

Campaign Service Provider vs. Reseller: What’s the Difference?

So you’re utilizing A2P 10DLC text messaging for your business and you know you need to get your traffic registered with The Campaign Registry (TCR). After all, registering is the only way to achieve higher throughputs and better deliverability – it’s a win-win! But perhaps your messaging API provider is encouraging you to register through them as a Reseller (or sometimes referred to as an Independent Software Vendor, or ISV) because it’s quick and easy. But… what are the long term implications? We’re glad you asked. 

The alternative is to register as a Campaign Service Provider (CSP) – we’re going to break down what they both are and their key differences so that you can make the best decision for your business. 

Before we do, a few quick terms (and acronyms) you should know:

  • The Campaign Registry (TCR) – the reputation authority for business text messaging on 10DLC. 
  • Brands – In TCR, your customers are called Brands. A Brand is a company or entity that the end user, or message recipient, believes to be sending the message. 
  • Campaigns – In TCR, each Brand will have one or more Campaigns, which are messaging use cases. Examples include Delivery Notifications, Marketing, and Security Alerts, to name a few. 
  • Connectivity Partner (CNP) – simply put, this is your messaging API provider. For our customers, Telgorithm is their CNP. 
  • Campaign Service Provider (CSP) – the primary user of The Campaign Registry. The CSP registers their customers’ Brands and Campaigns on TCR directly. 
  • Reseller – when your messaging API provider registers your Brands and Campaigns on TCR on your behalf. If registered as a Reseller, your messaging API provider serves as both your CNP and the CSP of your account. 

A Closer Look: Campaign Service Provider (CSP) 

A CSP is the primary user of TCR. A CSP works with multiple Brands, aka its customers, to create and launch SMS/MMS messaging Campaigns. Because a CSP is the primary user of TCR, its Brands, Campaigns, and any additional Brand vetting fees that are paid will all be saved under their CSP profile. These “soft assets” are all controlled by and connected to their CSP profile, essentially making them the owner (as opposed to their messaging API provider, or CNP). 

As a CSP, you don’t need to pay “one-time fees” for Brand registration or additional vetting everytime you migrate to another messaging provider. It’s a one-and-done deal. You only need to pay the carrier’s registration fees (if applicable) when switching. Low switchover costs and minimal effort from a change-management lens makes being a CSP much more flexible when considering switching providers or even multi-threading with various providers. 

It’s also important to note that registering as a CSP is not more difficult or complex – it requires the same steps as being a Reseller, but you get to maintain ownership.

For more information, check out TCR’s comprehensive CSP Portal Guide

A Closer Look: Reseller 

A Reseller also uses TCR to register Brands and Campaigns, but they need to go through a middle man to do it. This third party – or their messaging API provider, or CNP – sits between them and their Brands and Campaigns, registering them on the Reseller’s behalf. While this can sound appealing to businesses because it’s initially less hands-on work for the Reseller, it entrenches business with their CNP. 

Additionally, Resellers don’t get a pass when it comes to those “one-time fees”. A Reseller will have to pay every time they migrate to another provider, including Brand registration fees, mid-month Campaign activation fees, one-time carrier fees for special use cases, and Brand vetting fees. 

What’s more, there’s no conversion path from Reseller to CSP should you want to become one at some point in the future. 

Our Recommendation?

At Telgorithm, we strongly advocate for being vendor agnostic. As CSPs, our customers have structural flexibility that keeps them empowered. Being deeply entrenched with your provider can hinder your SMS strategy or make you vulnerable to provider outages, etc. It’s important to do what you think is best for your business and customers, and we’re more than happy to help by answering your questions, providing additional resources, or walking through your options together. 

If you are already a Reseller but want to learn more about what the path to becoming a CSP looks like, let us know! We’re here to help bring transparency and simplicity to the world of A2P messaging.

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