Promotional SMS in an insanely scalable solution

Discussion in 'General discussions' started by OptiBiz1, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. OptiBiz1

    OptiBiz1 Active Member

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    A little bit of our journey...

    Promotional SMS... (and transactional, but the need for scalability is not that big then)

    So many ask for it, but I believe that most doesn't really think of the consequences - do you?

    We are currently at the end of a project to rebuild our SMS feature to something VERY potent and scalable in EXTREME. With customers potentially sending 3-50 million SMS per campaign, we had to do something.

    We provide a white labeled SaaS based on MW for email and SMS, where we consider MW a platform that we have added a lot of features on top of it, but we have rebuilt much of it to also handle SMS, partially in a form of a set of plugins. Our SaaS can send regular textual SMS, either promotional or transactional, but we can also send newsletters that way and this became quite tricky due to the need for server capacity and to make that possible it required some serious thinking to come up with how to do, and we did. I am not into describing every detail of this as it is on a serious bleeding edge with something that is really competitive for us, where companies FAR bigger than ours were involved to review and confirm / deny whether our ideas should be possible to implement and yes they did confirm it and we know that now.

    Just imagine this. Let's say that our reseller has a customer that sends an SMS campaign to 10 million mobiles and it is a promotional offer. We know from statistics from the US that 98% of those who receives an SMS opens it within just a few minutes. If there is a link in such SMSs, the CTR for SMS is around 19%. The number who receives the SMS varies with country, network and quality of the telecom providers' networks. Let's assume a success rate of 90%, so 90% of the SMSs that are sent, reaches the SMS inbox. Further assume that each newsletter can link to 10-20 resources that are needed to show the newsletter. Now it suddenly becomes very interesting because within just a few minutes (depending on our sending speed of the SMSs) the one who created the campaign which sends the newsletter via SMS suddenly have created 10,000,000 * 0.9 * 0.98 * 0.19 = 1,675,800 visitors to our servers and between 16,758,000 - 33,516,000 hits on our server(s) that serves the newsletter. On top of this we get a massive set of web hooks to handle) in this case 0.9 * 10 millions). This within a short period of time.
    (We will also gather in-depth statistics for this and build stats and segmentation attributes on the fly using bleeding edge technology, but we are not there yet.)
    This from ONE campaign, a quite big one, but still...

    Now just imagine this: What-if we have as few as 50 customers sending an average of 5 million SMS each during one day, this gives a total of 250 million SMSs that day. With the above formula we now have 41,895,000 visitors to our servers during the day split up in short time periods, some might even occur during roughly the same time. The number of hits (with an assumed number of assets linked in between 10-20, this means that we have a total of 418,950,000 - 837,900,000 hits during the day or much less. Not to mention the massive amounts of webhooks that we need to handle which in turn will render in roughly 30-40 times the number of database calls which we handle in a very special way. Luckily we will be able to put some things onto the CDN (thanks @twisted1919 for having that as part of the platform already), still this is some crazy a** things that we are doing because that alone will not solve the needs for power.
    (and of course our A/B testing / split testing feature and most of the other features that we have, are possible to be used when the newsletters are carried by SMSs too).

    The cool thing is that we have solved this. Our problem is that big telecom companies' networks are not as fast as our solution when receiving our API calls.

    So, asking for a bulk SMS feature might seem easy to start with, but I promise you that it's **MUCH** more complex than most people can even imagine, at least if you want to provide something of real value, a great user experience and a great value to the customer who sends the SMSs (the company that runs the campaigns to their offer).

    ---

    Our SaaS is, as I mentioned, a fully white labeled, re-brandable solution intended for resellers to sell as if it is their own. The cost, which is intended to cover our 2nd and 3rd line reseller support (while the reseller handles 1st line support so that the white label stays intact), is really low per quarter and on top of that we apply a revenue share model. We are also one of the cheapest on the market when it comes to price per SMS. This is possible since we go directly to the networks, not via a wholesaler who has a distributor who has a reseller that resells it, like most others. I see many competitors for textual SMSs only that charges around 9-10 times more than our prices, some even higher than that. A reseller of ours can of course choose to increase our prices, the revenue share model is still applied. This way our solution is adaptable to each market with that market's prices.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  2. buzzin

    buzzin New Member

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    Hi there,

    Can you please PM me with some more details about this?

    Thx!
     
  3. OptiBiz1

    OptiBiz1 Active Member

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    Hi,

    Depends on what it is that you want to know. How can I help?
     
  4. JeffC

    JeffC New Member

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    @OptiBiz1 I'm interested in your platform for both MW and SMS. I'm tired of dealing with servers and SES and all the rest and just want a solution for my clients. PM me please.
     
  5. buzzin

    buzzin New Member

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    I'm interested in knowing where/how I can check in detail what your white label reseller platform is about; features, pricing, demo availability?

    Looking forward for your PM.
    Thx!

     
  6. Andy

    Andy Member

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    That's quite an interesting platform you talk about here, sound much powerful as well.

    However, this kind of technology is the number one reason I'm VERY MUCH reluctant to give my phone number to anyone I don't know first. I just cannot imagine living the scenario of any email box that's been created for more than 5 minutes, on my MOBILE'S SMS that would among the worst nightmares. lol

    Let's face it, it's a great piece of software that could be useful but using it otherwise than for transactional SMSs to OPTED IN CUSTOMERS would very likely be illegal in most digitally advanced countries, if not all eventually with the explosion of the phenomena while such apps are popping out all over the place.

    For sure, you will find a lot of interested parties who will be attracted to buy your app for the SPAM side of the "promotional SMSs".

    However, SMS are not emails!

    Can you image receiving hundreds of SPAM SMS per day? No way!

    This will quickly destroy the use of our mobile's SMS system. The very one we all use for normally and quickly exchanging messages, sometimes very important, and urgent, and to be received in a timely manner, with our friends and family. I believe that those who will engage improperly in such "spamotional" tactic will get in very hot water quicker than than can send a second round of 'promotional SMS' ...

    My two cents on the question...

    Regards,
    Andy
     
  7. OptiBiz1

    OptiBiz1 Active Member

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    Who says that this is spam? I think you are snowed in too much on how your own business works and for some reason spamming emails are seen as "ok" by some people, we don't allow that either.

    Just to mention one example. One huge retail chain has shown their interest, they get their mobile numbers from their customers in return for free wifi access. Our lawyer has read their terms which their customers have agreed to and they will follow the legislation in the countries where they have their stores. If we agree then there is nothing wrong about that, unlike you who seem to think that spamming emails is ok.

    I think we just work with different types of target groups. We aim at large organizations and you seem to go after the not so much caring customers who allow themselves to send spam. You clearly don't know the international legislation and rules for sending SMSs. I suggest that you get that knowledge, before you start assuming things.

    Besides, I am not selling our "app". This is a SaaS and we are very careful with whom we bring in.

    So assuming that this is spamming is just wrong.
    Interesting though to see how other people look at their own businesses.

    (besides, my post was about the technology to handle it and this is FAR more complex to handle than most people can even imagine)
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2019 at 6:41 PM
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  8. JeffC

    JeffC New Member

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    Large organizations (and political campaigns) collect millions of cell phone numbers precisely so they can communicate with their customers. I get a text once or twice a month from Ace Hardware, e.g., offering me coupons .
     
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  9. OptiBiz1

    OptiBiz1 Active Member

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    ...and there is another example. Thanks for that @JeffC
     
  10. Andy

    Andy Member

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    Nah, I've nailed it down pretty much correctly suffice that you read me correctly before ASSUMING I am against that software and that I consider it all as spam, which is NOT THE CASE AT ALL!

    If one understands that correctly, of course it is OKAY to send promotional SMS to CUSTOMERS. Duh!

    I'm not going to elaborate I think I wrote clearly what I meant and think, and that is based on more than 20 y marketing online, but I'll quote just one thing I WROTE above.

    I said:
    " it's a great piece of software that **could be useful** but using it otherwise than **for transactional SMSs to OPTED IN CUSTOMERS**"

    That should clear it all.

    All other assumption is only based on your perception. ;)

    Cheers!
    Andy
     
  11. Andy

    Andy Member

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    Then you are selling your SaaS app! :/
     
  12. Andy

    Andy Member

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    Yep, so where did I say the contrary? :)

    Ciao!
    Andy
     
  13. OptiBiz1

    OptiBiz1 Active Member

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    Yes, you are right. It does.

    You have a point about something though. In the hands of the wrong person, our software is like a cluster bomb that they drop in the middle of a high density crowd. It CAN do much damage if used in an in-proper way in a country where this is not regulated in law or terms, but that's the thing, most countries have regulations for this.

    Besides, if people have got authorization to send and don't get their mobile number lists the right way, it will be super expensive to send their SMSs and the telecom companies internal warning system will notice that the response from the built-in validation services in the phone networks will go crazy and mark numbers as invalid numbers, still the cost is there, thereby removing the profits and instead making it a loss.

    The phone networks have some counter measures that are in place already. If ppl doesn't have those in place, they will not even be able to send, which is good.

    We go directly to the phone networks APIs, which is why our price, our self-cost, per SMS is super low compared to the competitors (who buys them from wholesellers who has distributors who in turn sells them through resellers), we do it so that our SaaS can be offered on any market and in any country. If a reseller manages to sell it at a higher price, our revenue share is still applied. I talked to one guy last week who was going to set up a textual only SMS business and after sharing some info with each other, I realized that his prices (for just one country) was 9-10 times higher than ours depending on volumes, ours also includes the massive dynamic scaling service. Since we do it the way we do, we offer the same rates no matter the country.

    HUGE difference with an SaaS compared to selling it as software. If we did the latter, we would not be in control anymore. Now we are. We can do the necessary checks, the validations, reviewing terms etc - proper on-boarding. For now it's closed temporarily.


    In my country there was a sender of emails that had a very bad reputation at that time. He was known to be this country's biggest email spammer. He wanted to buy our A/B testing plugin. Now first of all, we don't sell our plugins for reasons I have explained many times before at these forums (there is no money to make on it), but on top of that I would never want to support a known intense spammer to become more efficient. If I sold him the software, it would be out of control, but if instead we at all let him in, we would shut him down faster than I can snap my fingers if he was spamming.

    Interesting with an ethical discussion about this, I mean sending messages using different types of channels, e.g. emails, SMS, social media etc. In my opinion, the biggest spammers (not spammers by definition since they sneak it into their terms) globally are the big social networks, no matter if it's promotional or transactional messages on any channel.

    ----

    Anyway. I was just sharing some info about our journey and the fact that most people who ask for such an SMS feature in MW doesn't have a clue of the consequences of having access to sending news letters/campaign offers using SMSs as carriers. It requires massive dynamic scaling.

    My personal ethics on this matter is clearly seen in my profile. We have 21 pcs of MW licenses, most are extended licenses, some are for my developers. We have a support agreement going on til September 2024. My ethics is pretty much unquestionable.
     
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  14. Andy

    Andy Member

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    Besides any other features THAT is AMAZING! :)
    Had to say it!
    That would very likely work with my VoiP MS platform.

    Andy
     
  15. Andy

    Andy Member

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    LOL it is still an "app" man, stop it. Whether it's self-hosted or a SaaS in the cloud, one still buy and use an app... At the very least on the Sales side... ;)

    Seriously, I too own a SaaS and as I said I'm in this biz for 20 y so rest assured that I know what it is, and the difference in the sense that you mean it, technically speaking, as well.

    I hate them so much. with a passion...

    And that is a very good thing! And, an excellent reason to sell your app as a SaaS access only! ;)

    I've never put your ethic in doubt, I only kind of expressed some WARNINGS and light up the discussion to educate the 'wannabe', and we just did it.

    Cheers mate.
    Andy
     

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