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Phone.cc: How Netcore’s Is Trying To Provide A Workaround For TRAI SMS Spam Regulations

Rajesh Jain’s Netcore Solutions is planning to introduce a mobile Internet based solution to address the challenges the industry is facing while sending SMS’ to consumers, following the TRAI SMS Spam guidelines, which limit consumers on the do not call registry to an all-or-nothing regime for categories that they can subscribe to.

Speaking with MediaNama, Netcore CEO Girish Nair said that via a partnership with Verisign, the company is introducing Phone.cc, which allows each user with an Indian mobile number (beginning with 91, for India), to create his own message inbox on the web, which allows for the selective blocking of spam messages, and for the consumer to receive messages over the mobile Internet, and also allows enterprises to message consumers those messages which they choose to selectively receive. He said that this is particularly applicable to certain transaction-related messages which have not been included in the defined transaction messages list from the TRAI, and also address the SMS cost increase expected once an interconnect charge of Rs 0.05 is levied.

netcore phone.cc

“The (marketing) source can be blacklisted or whitelisted by you, and unlike the TRAI regulation, which is about categories, you can bar a specific brand or allow a specific brand. In the end, the user will go to the website to see the message, but the consumer will go to publish,” Nair told MediaNama.

But won’t this limit the usage to the Mobile Internet users only? Nair agrees, but says that he expects mobile Internet users to grow. The company plans to launch a mobile application in a couple of months, and this will enable a server based mobile message push to the users mobile phone, mirroring the way SMS works.

From an enterprise perspective, any messages sent by the enterprise will be published to the users web page, whether or not they are on the NDNC. According to an email sent by Netcore, they will encourage enterprises to ask users to create their own page, using a message like:

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Dear do-not-call customer, we respect your need for privacy. Henceforth, all messages from us to you will be available at your own private web page at http://.cc. Please visit http://phone.cc on your computer or phone and claim your page NOW!”
where you may substitute with the customer’s actual phone number

Why Will Users Create Their Own Webpage?

Why will a user, finally free of SMS Spam, create such a page? Nair said that it will allow the user to selectively blacklist or whitelist messages that have not been categorized as transactional, and also just blacklist specific marketers, and not everyone. In addition, the site will be a customer interaction portal, and customers will be allowed to create their own groups or mobs. “We used to have groups called Mobs, and you can create your own group of people whom you want to share your discussion swith. Just like the MyToday channel, any opt-in service will be there. We are initially focusing on the enterprise component.”

Our Take

– Consumer proposition not clear: If you ask me, the success and failure of this initiative depends on only one entity – the user, and the consumer proposition appears to be rather weak. I can understand why enterprises might want this service – to be able to target customers no longer in the DND, but in a world where Blackberry Messenger and the Whatsapp application is replacing conventional SMS, Netcore might just be a little late to the game. Even the lure of free messaging might not work, since the value proposition of services like 160by2 and way2sms has always been about internet-to-sms. This is Internet-to-internet, otherwise known as email.

– What is Netcore trying to do? Nair told MediaNama that “Messages may be sent via our platform, and we’ll offer enterprises an API, so they can even use only the web.” Now this is radically different from the bulk SMS scenario, wherein the sender was Netcore, but others could send as well. Through the phone.cc alignment, Netcore is trying to control the pipe, taking on the role of a telecom operator.

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P.s.: We had recommended an operator agnostic, non-SMS based push messaging service earlier this year.

Corrigendum: Girish Nair had been incorrectly mentioned as the COO of Netcore. He is the CEO.

Written By

Founder @ MediaNama. TED Fellow. Asia21 Fellow @ Asia Society. Co-founder SaveTheInternet.in and Internet Freedom Foundation. Advisory board @ CyberBRICS

MediaNama’s mission is to help build a digital ecosystem which is open, fair, global and competitive.



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