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Google Gets Into The Push SMS Business In India, Takes On MyToday, SMS Gupshup

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Google is making a habit of entering market segments in India that others have spent time and effort and money evangelizing: they did that to local language search and local business listings search, and now are trying to grab a piece of the Push SMS subscription pie. Via an email from a kind reader, we were informed about the launch of Google SMS Channels. Digital Inspiration had also written about it.

At the time of posting this, there are already 242 channels live on the site, many of them user created. As a publisher, or a sender, it’s a fairly simple process for creating an alert – just choose an available keyword, verify your mobile number, add an RSS feed as a content source, and you’re good to go.

The numbers, the numbers, the numbers
As we’ve mentioned earlier, the Push SMS business suffers from a problem of plenty – the more the number of users, the higher the cost. We’ve heard that bulk SMS rates have been coming down, and though none of the publishers or bulk SMS providers have confirmed this, we’re told that they’re now lower than Rs. 0.05 per SMS, or around $0.00108 (at Rs. 46.31 to the dollar).

If Google were to send as many as 10 million SMS per day, it amounts to a cost of Rs. 18.25 crores per year, which at the current conversaion rate is around $3.96 million. If the Rupee strengthens, then at around Rs. 40 to the dollar, it is around $4.56 million.

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Do note that MyToday and SMS Gupshup claim that they’re sending more than 10 million SMS’ per day.

The monetization?
MyToday and SMS GupShup have tried to monetize the service with advertising. Netcore (MyToday) MD Rajesh Jain, in particular, has been evangelizing mobile marketing quite aggressively over the past couple of months, at several conferences. He’s coined a phrase called “Invertising”, or Invited Advertising. According to his calculartions, the Mobile Marketing business can be Rs. 1000 crores (around $215 Million) per year in 2 years – with Rs. 600 crores ($130 Million) from Invertising, Rs. 300 crores ($65 Million) from SMS advertising and Rs. 100 crores ($20 Million) from WAP advertising. Of course, there are a number of assumptions involved with the estimation:

Click on the image for an expanded view, or take a look at his presentation here (PDF). What I’d like to know is – what are the current CPM and fill rates for MyToday and GupShup?

The Search-Alert Opportunity
Mobile content and search startup Zook has already implemented alerts around their local search results. Sameer Shisodia, founder of Zook informs us that they are enabling SMS alerts related to local business search results. For example: for a query “Shoes Deals”, one  can select a city (Bangalore), and set up alerts for those. Google provides a similar service with RSS feeds for Google News Search results; They can monetize by incorporating SMS alerts for local business search, like Zook. However, Zook doesn’t appear to have an option for publishers.

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Analysis of the Cost of Push SMS Services

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