Tuesday, July 8, 2008

SMSGupShup is no Twitter!

SMSGupShup the Indian Twitter startup is making waves with the number of users it has amassed so for. Pretty impressive. I have read lot of article where SMSGupShup is compared with twitter and in fact they call SMSGupShup the “twitter with no downtime”. Comparing SMSGupShup with twitter is in itself a compliment to twitter. Twitter is like a benchmark to all these startups that are playing a niche in Group Communication arena. Whenever there is a new search company they always compare that with Google; Why, because Google is the one that lead and showed the path for search. I see the same trend with twitter. I’m sure twitter had its bad moment for so long; I guess its time for twitter folks to buckle up and show the world what they have in them. Really! I love twitter, period.

Another thing I beg to differ with folks that compare twitter with SMSGupShup. Here is why I feel they are different
• Twitter is micoblogging tool using which users can post a short message up to 140 characters on anything and everything they want to share with their friends and follower. It doesn’t have concept of group. Where as SMSGupShup is built as a SMS Group Communication application where in user’s can create a group and invite friends to join the group.
• Twitter doesn’t really support a group creation or invitation to join the group. However, they support follow and notification options using which anyone can follow anyone and receive updates if notification enabled.
• SMSGupShup has no concept of individual users, it’s a group based communication. So users can create group, join groups and post messages to the group.
• Users that follow me on twitter become my implicit group, and any message that I send to twitter is broadcast to the entire group (My followers with notification ON receive the message). If one of my follower replies to the message, it’s not broadcast to the entire group, it is just sent to the message originator i.e. ME. Where as in SMSGupShup, if a member of a group sends a message, its broadcast to the entire group and any reply from the members is again broadcast to the entire group. This something similar to a group chat, except that it can be done using SMS message.

According to pluggd.in, Om and Micheal , SMSGupShup has raised around $10 million dollars funding. SMSGupShup has over 7 million subscribers and 300,000 publishers. The usage is more on Mobile than Web interface. In India, SMS message packages are very cheap compared to USA and other countries. Also, incoming SMS message is free where as you get charged for incoming message in North America. This explains why the usage of service is more SMS based than web.

The trigger for writing this article was based on this paragraph I read from VentureBeat article, which talks about how tribes were using SMSGupShup as a communication channel. Bravo SMSGupShup

“ I’ll close with a vignette that illustrates the magnitude of the need. One day the GupShup spam control team noticed several messages that looked like gobbledygook to them. So they sent these suspected spammers account termination notices. They didn’t expect the response: messages not just from those senders but from many others, pleading with them not to terminate the accounts. It turns out the messages were in a language called Hmar, only spoken by some 65,000 tribal people living in the hilly regions of India’s northeast. There are now several Hmar groups on SMS GupShup; the tribal group sees this as a major communication channel. Being too small to attract mainstream media, the group also sees SMS GupShup as their main form of media and a way to save their language and culture from extinction as they assimilate into the Indian mainstream.”

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Pratyush said...

You got it right - SMS gupshup is not twitter. Its not even like twitter. It has an entirely different value proposition. Thats exactly why it has grown to where it is today and continues to grow.

Its easy to compare it to twitter because anything that has anything to do with SMS is compared to twitter. I dont however agree tha comparing smsgupshup to twitter does twitter a favor - if anything its the other way around.

P.S. I used to work with SMS Gupshup till some time ago

Anonymous said...

I still dont understand the revenue model of most of these startups that are not involved with the operators. You either work with operator or go under the drian. Its that simple.

omfut said...

What i meant is- twitter has become a bench mark for group messaging applications. That in itself is a big validation for twitter being the leader in this arena

omfut said...

Well in a way thats true. Nevertheless ad based revenue model is an alternative revenue generating model. Its just a matter of time before u will start seeing ads in all these messaging startups.