Monday, February 13, 2012

SendHub Brings Simple Group SMS Subscription Services To Everyone

Earlier today I almost skimmed right passed a post about SendHub from TechCrunch. Based on the name I initially thought it was just another service that brings all your phone numbers together like Google Voice. I am beyond happy to have taken a moment to read more about it and to try the service out.

SendHub offers a group SMS (text message) service that could not be simpler. Within ten minutes of signing up a new way to subscribe to this blog was available. This service can be used for families, clubs, companies, classrooms, churches, sport teams, and a broad range of other groups. They use Twilio's reliable API to power the communications. The venture actually started as InfoRate in 2010 and received some press back in September 2011 and only recently changed its name to SendHub. The team is made up of the three co-founders Garrett Johnson, Ash Rust, and John Fallone along with Ryan Pfeffer; (Michael Siedlecki recently left the company).

On initial sign up you will verify your cell phone number by using a confirmation code that is sent to you. After verifying your number will be linked to a new number from their system that will most likely have the same area code as yours, or you may select a different one. Their number is the one people use to subscribe to and will be the number they receive text messages from. You can send texts to your group members through SendHub from your personal cell number.

Lets take a look at how I am set up to better illustrate how this works:
  • My number, as found on my contact page, is 413-342-1082
  • SendHub assigned me with 413-315-4418
  • I set up a new contact group named Dain Binder's Technology Blog and enabled the Text to Join feature using Keyword TECH
Now anyone can text TECH to 413-315-4418 to join my SMS group; when they do:
  • A message is sent saying "Welcome to Dain Binder's group: Dain Binder's Technology Blog - please respond with your full name to complete the subscription."
  • Then, "Thank you, your subscription is complete. To cancel, send 'unsub tech' to this number. To stop all messages text STOP at anytime."
An example of a message I recently sent is:
  • "Like Secret Finds Romance Within Your Social Circle - http://goo.gl/1YTww -rate http://j.mp/xtJlGZ"
    • The "-rate" and link are automatically added by SendHub and will be used in conjunction with an upcoming analytics feature
    • I sent this from the website, but it can also be sent from your cell phone by sending a text to your SendHub number and precede the message by, in my case, "@tech".

As you can see this is a really powerful and solid way to communicate for many reasons. The SendHub number can be replied to and even called; if called it connects to your linked number. There are options to disable incoming messages and/or incoming calls if you choose. If you have contact lists and permission to use cell phone numbers you are able to import and add them to your groups. This entire setup can be used for individual communications also.

Join SendHub on Twitter, AngelList, and Facebook. If you want to try it out feel free to use a test group I set up by sending TEST to 413-315-4418, or subscribe to my TECH group. I will send out test messages from time to time under the test group and you can unsubscribe whenever you like.