Saturday, March 14, 2009

Going Mobile the Easy Way

You can build your mobile web site, iphone application, and what not... But at the end of the day in order to reach the masses you will still need SMS.

The bad news is that it is a royal pain in the a##. In the US you are looking to pay a monthly fee for your shortcode (~1K), plus an aggregator set up fee (~2K+), and if you want your users not to pay a premium fee to stay connected, you have to pay for the messages yourself (anywhere from 2 - 5 cents per message). You can also expect anywhere from 2 to 3 months before the operators approve your campaing.

There are a few answers to this problem:

One way is to charge your users. Don't expect the majority to sign up for your service, though.

You can also subsidize via text based advertising. The problem is that there aren't enough advertisers who are pumping cash into this form of advertising yet. Companies that you can connect to are 4INFO or Textmarks.

The solution: outsource your integration and DON'T try to build it yourself! A few companies have already have gone through the troubles described above and expose API's that should make it easy for you to integrate. One such company is Unwired Nation. Some of Unwired Nation's customers boast a 3-4 week time period to get up and running. Other successful companies such as 3jam have gone through this trouble at a global scale. They might just be willing to allow your company to integrate into their network and leverage their relationships with aggregators and operators all over the globe.


  1. Thanks for mentioning 4INFO! Ad-supported text messaging is a great way to reach out to consumers on their phones, without charging them for the service. Folks who are interested can visit

  2. I obviously left out a number of other companies. Luke Pacholski was kind enough to remind me about Zeep Media, which provides an SMS API that lets developers send and receive SMS from their websites to users - for free! Check it out here:

  3. All about mobile will ease people in accomplishing what they want to do. SMS will be needed by people because it is good way to send the message. But I think there was no problem if I have to pay for it because it is a part of the service. It is just my opinion.

  4. How to use SMS in zeepmobile? I have tried to do it once but I fail. I don't know, maybe I did not really understand the right way to do it.