MyToday, the free SMS based content services from Rajesh Jain’s Netcore, has shut its operations, citing the SMS Spam regulations from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India. A notice on the MyToday.com website states that the company will no longer be able to provide services, and in case anyone had an active subscription or a positive MyToday balance, they intend to refund the amount to the users. This is not a small thing, because MyToday was among the largest push SMS companies in the country. We’ve contacted Netcore CEO Girish Nair, and will update in case we have more information. (Hat Tip: a tweet from Hacker News India. That said, industry executives have also told us that MyToday was shut a couple of months ago, in which case, this post is just for the record)
The TRAI SMS Spam regulations essentially restricted non person-to-person messages to either transaction messages, or to certain specific categories which it defined; users who remained outside of a consumer registry called National Customer Preference Register (NCPR), could still receive messages, unsolicited, but messaging was limited to those companies that registered as telemarketers. This left SMS based content businesses in a fix, especially those like MyToday, which were not being run by telecom operators.
However, the TRAI has been loosening its grip every couple of months, expanding the list of companies which are allowed to send messages. An update from the TRAI a couple of weeks ago appeared to suggest that those “registered” businesses can send messages for six months, provided there is no commercial/advertising communication within the message, and the consumers validation is sought every six months. We wonder if MyToday took too hasty a decision, but monetization would have become a concern. The TRAI had also imposed an additional charge of Rs 0.05 per SMS on promotional messages, which could have made the SMS business unviable anyway.
In any case, as we pointed out earlier, the action is shifting to the mobile instant messaging space, and MyToday is launching Phone.cc.
We’ll update with more info soon