Internet · July 2, 2008 3

Chawt (free SMS service) isn’t so ‘unlimited’ after all

Following my review of Chawt – the free SMS service – a couple of weeks back, I decided to swing by again and check out the improvements (if any). To my surprise I saw a new message below the message typing box which states that your are now limited to sending at the most 15 messages per day. Poooof !! So much for the ‘unlimited’ part.

Coming to that, I really don’t get why these services (mostly start-ups) invariably try to make it sound big using the ‘unlimited’ catch-word and then never manage to live up to their claim. It’s a known fact that any such service provider has to shell out a fat packet to the SMS Gateway on a monthly or by package basis. Behind the scenes, internet to mobile texting doesn’t come for free – AT ALL. Unless you’ve got a very strong source of ROI (either through advertisements or by some other brilliant marketing tactic that you’ve come up with) – you can never hope to offer unlimited free service for long. Besides, the market for mobile ads isn’t as widespread as the internet yet and neither is the revenue generated from it. So why make the claim in the first place?

Problems with Chawt

The second problem I face was while trying to send a message. Every time I composed my message (well within their 80 character limit and in English) and hit Send, I kept getting an error message that said “Multi-language message too long”. Multi… what? Since when did pure unadulterated English become multi-language? And what’s with composing your message carefully to keep to their character limit!

And just to think that I had given them such a positive review last week… Sad performance on their part – in fact extremely sad performance considering it claims itself to be a Web 2.0 start-up.