Record numbers of people in New Zealand are tapping out holiday greetings, sending holiday text messages soaring to record rates. New Zealands communications company, Telecom indicated that 23 million text messages were sent via SMS service last Christmas. Vodafone indicated a similar volume of SMS messages with nearly one million being sent per hour.
The added ability to send greetings to loved ones using text messages via SMS from PCs, has added to the popular method of sending seasonal greetings to loved ones, even those overseas. As people use SMS computer-based services and send SMS online messages, the message volumes have increased up by up to six times, particularly as friends and family text one another greetings for the New Year. In fact, Vodafone spokespersons indicated that although Christmas is a particularly heavy texting time, the volumes double on New Years Eve, which puts a strain on the network. In addition, the popular mass SMS to multiple family members and friends on cell phones with group features means it is nearly impossible to calculate or predict the number of texts that will be sent this New Year.
The huge challenge for SMS gateway networks to handle the rush of text messages can occasionally mean that some messages are not received. The SMS API, however, is designed to deliver text messages for up to three days after the Send button is pressed, ensuring that even if late, the text messages will get through.
A consumer advocacy group, called Choice, stepped in to fight against mobile ringtone service, wall paper services, and horoscope services that make it very difficult to unsubscribe. Consumers have lately reported a number of incidents where their phones are inundated with misleading SMS online mobile services they never requested, prompting the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to begin a review.
The ACCC found that some portions of the mobile phone industry were engaging in deceptive consumer practices with bulk SMS and SMS from PCs that included distracting visuals, hard-to-read fine print, and even misleading contracts. The protection groups are now asking that subscription services include a double opt-in procedure to ensure that consumers are presented with the terms and conditions of a service prior to being signed up.
In the past, grossly invasive marketing techniques involving Internet text were reined under control, and Choice is asking that a similar method be implemented with a confirmation SMS message clearly spelling out the services offering along with the consumers rights. Consumers would then have to respond with a code to formally agree to joining the service.
An abysmal lack of customer service continues to haunt the PC SMS-based services In a recent survey, Choice found that among those who knowingly subscribe to SMS computer service, nearly two thirds had difficulty canceling it when they found the would be charged for the service. In addition, nearly 50 percent of those had no idea how to cancel the service. Rogue industry tactics always work for a little time until proper enforcement kicks in and change the industry.
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