Twitter & SMS: interview with TweetSMS’s Craig Mason

At least six services have sprung up to fill the gap left by Twitter pulling its SMS service. I’m going to try to interview all of them – the first to reply was TweetSMS‘s Craig Mason, of Stasis Media:

You knew this was coming – how?

We honestly didn’t ‘know’ this was going to happen. A few of us had heard rumours that Twitter was going to drop SMS functionality, so we decided to make some enquiries on how we could provide an alternative. When the news dropped, it was more a case of ‘confirmed suspicion’. We had heard that an ‘announcement’ was likely sometime next-week, and were surprised at the sharp and instant removal of SMS services on Thursday. Even so, it’s still possible that those rumours were based on unfounded truths. But looking at the recent hiccups with Twitter’s business strategy, it wasn’t hard to envisage this happening.

The site mentions tweets from ‘all of your friends’ – will there be a way to select which ones?

We initially plan to run this based on a ‘positive filter’ system, whereby users can add the names or topics that they want to receive via SMS, and those will be duly forwarded. This way, the user has more controls over the flow of information to their device, which is essential when paid-for services are in use.

Do you envisage the rates differing between providers?

We do envisage slightly different rates depending on the country of delivery. However, the UK rates will be flat, due to our relationship with our SMS carrier. We’ll run the system as a ‘credits’ scheme, to homogenise the payment process.

How do you see your service being different from Jaiku and the other Twitter SMS services springing up?

TweetSMS is designed to be a ‘drop-in’ replacement for Twitter’s SMS services. It’s likely that Twitter will re-instate their SMS services at some point, so we have plans to provide extra added value services superior to those that Twitter can provide… premium content, message aggregation etc. We have a lot of experience with delivering mobile content for large media companies. A lot of the services providing content via the Twitter API are often convoluted and used for much more than a specialised service. Using tweetSMS will be fast, simple and efficient.

Just how pissed off are you?

I wouldn’t say I’m pissed-off, more annoyed the team just lost the weekend! I believe additional services like SMS forwarding should be done properly. It’s obvious that people are willing to pay for an efficient service. Perhaps Twitter should consider outsourcing their SMS requirements to more specialist providers.

TweetSMS is on Twitter @tweetsms. Also on OJB: interviews with twitMobile and ZygoTweet.

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1 thought on “Twitter & SMS: interview with TweetSMS’s Craig Mason

  1. Pingback: Twitter & SMS: Interview #2: James Burgess of twitMobile | Online Journalism Blog

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