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WEB/DIGITAL Texting Biz

bad_dog

PARKED
Oct 7, 2007
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Calgary, Alberta
Hey everyone

I was skimming thru a european Maxim mag not too long ago, and was also watching a football match at my local pub, and was blown away by all the "TEXT ____ to ____ FOR ____" ads over there.

Why has this not taken off on our side of the pond to the extent over there? Why can I not enter my # into a website service and be updated with traffic info, etc. or text my # for stuff over the TV, radio?

Regulations???? I'm confused!
 

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Jorge

Bronze Contributor
Oct 5, 2007
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Mendoza, Argentina
I've thought about this many many times.
In Argentinian TV you see this ads all the time, but most of them are useless: Jokes, Horoscope, Ringtones and wallpapers. Thats it. No value in that service.

A friend of mine has a friend who works in a Mobile Company (Movistar) but never let me know how to get a Code. Its a somewhat "underground" business.

I have plenty ideas but without a code, I'm trapped.
 

Rawr

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Aug 12, 2007
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Could you please provide some examples of what you saw?


I see a lot of txt advertising - usually some giveaways or "should I dump my boyfriend" nonsense ;)
 

JScott

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A friend of mine has a friend who works in a Mobile Company (Movistar) but never let me know how to get a Code. Its a somewhat "underground" business.

I have plenty ideas but without a code, I'm trapped.
Here are the basics (feel free to ask questions if you want more info):

There are companies called "SMS Aggregators" who have relationships with each of the major mobile carriers; in order to send large-scale SMS messages, you need to contract with one of these aggregators, register your "short-code", set up your application and servers, get your application approved by each of the carriers, and then when you want to send SMS messages, you send them to the aggregator through a special type of server called an SMPP gateway, and pay a fee for each SMS sent.

A few more details:

To register a short-code (the 4-6 digit phone number from which the SMS message appears to come from) costs between $500-1000 per month, depending on whether you want a vanity short-code (one you pick yourself) or a random short-code (one provided by the aggregator).

After you create your application and document it, the aggregator will help you get it certified by all the major carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Sprint, etc), at which point you're allow to send messages.

You set up your infrastructure on your end, including your server (that hosts your application) and an SMPP gateway, which is used to send and receive SMS messages in the format specified by the aggregator.

For each message you send, you will be charged by the aggregator. The cost depends upon your contract with the aggregator, but expect to pay on the order of $.01 - $.20 per message, depending on your volume (and your negotiation skills).

The thing that should be obvious is that it's not cheap to manage one of these services, so if you're not making money off of it, it can get expensive.
 

Jorge

Bronze Contributor
Oct 5, 2007
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Mendoza, Argentina
Great info! Thanks!

Now the thing is, in this ads, at the bottom of the screen it says something like this:

"$3,50 for each message sended, other charges my apply"

Are they making a deal with the mobile company, or what?

Because if you send a message for example to get a joke, in your monthly bill you get that credit billed also...
 

Andrew

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Aug 8, 2007
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Huge industry, I would guess somewhere north of $500 million a year right now. The big wildcard is the mobile providers make all of the rules and the contracts are written so that they can chose not to pay you for any reason.

Assuming everything is set up right you can make about $6 profit a month per customer, factor your marketing costs in to that.
 

JScott

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The big wildcard is the mobile providers make all of the rules and the contracts are written so that they can chose not to pay you for any reason.
Can you provide some source to backup that claim?

In my experience, the carriers have little incentive not to pay application developers, and I've never seen them "choose not to pay."
 

LightHouse

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I wont dig into this too much, however, one of my tenants does this business. last year they were offered 33 mil for the company... this year they cant find a buyer becsue the carriers are taking it in their own hands. this business has come and gone for the quick money (if even ethical in the first place).

developing a system to text to get new etc etc would be a huge expense and chances are the texting generation wont dig. just my opinions on the subject.
 

Andrew

Contributor
Aug 8, 2007
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There still is "easy" money involved, but you need to know what you are doing. Understanding the advertising angle is absolutely critical. If you have no experience in doing large ad buys you will have a rough time.

As far as ethics, the mobile providers have to review and approve *everything.* I'll leave it at that. I don't know if that was the case 12 months ago.

JScott -- this doesn't even involve application developers, it involves SMS billing. The contracts have all kinds of holes and no one is in a position to change the terms with a $120 billion+ company such as Verizon. I am not going to go into the reasons of "choose not to pay" here, but its fair to say they are there, other than it would still be a future event.
 

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