Blog Post

5 Ways to SMS for free

A lot of us are still avid text messagers, not because we enjoy paying our carrier those tiring toll (or package) fees, but because it’s still one of the most reliable ways to get a text-based message to a cell phone user — not everyone has mobile IM clients or uses mobile email services.

Even web-based services are starting to recognize that, and recently there have been more and more companies launching “free” SMS options — most often free for those users who want to send a text to a cell phone via the web and email.

Sending free SMS from the Internet isn’t a new idea at all and companies have been developing the bridge between email and SMS for years. By now it’s a simple and easy service to set up and companies have started adding these services as a feature to bring in eyeballs.

Startups are also starting to get more creative with the business model (which was previously severely lacking) as well as the technology solution. At the same time they are learning to add privacy and best practices functions. Remember much of the time receiving the SMS message costs, and some of the services like free bulk messaging could have some not-so-nice spam potential. Be careful about signing up for any ol’ service and check out this list of good characteristics of SMS web services.

1). TeleFlip: TeleFlip has always been a favorite way to send “free” texts via email: ‘phone number’@teleflip.com. They still offer that service which they now call FlipOut, but they are also trying to turn their technology into a working business. I haven’t been able to test the new service yet (shown at DEMO), which is supposed to be out sometime this month, but they say it forwards your emails to your SMS inbox for free — 5,000 messages for per month. Hopefully they have a good management tool, as email spam can fill an SMS inbox pretty quickly and receiving text fees still apply.

2). Peekamo: Founded just November 2006 and based in Toronto according to their web site, Peekamo says they are different than other web-based SMS free sites, as both the receiver and sender don’t pay for the message. How do they manage that? — they say ad-sponsored messages, and using a protocol called short message peer to peer, (unlike the more common email-SMS method). When I sent a message from the web site to myself, it was sponsored by Sharp and had a link to Sharp’s web site www.moretosee.com. It’s still in beta, but is adding other social features.

3). Gizmo SMS: SIPphone has more than its fair share of sweet mobile services like the Gizmo Project, and earlier this month they also added a free web-based SMS service. The service works for dozens of countries and has a model ‘terms of service’ and privacy assurance sections. It’s not rocket science, but shows how these services are easy enough to create that they can be used to market the company’s other money-making solutions.

4). TxtDrop: TxtDrop founder 22-year-old Nate Kapitanski got some flack over his SMS MySpace widget and web service last year — the site didn’t launch with privacy terms and didn’t have an About section describing the company or its goals. He says the whole thing was a learning experience which helped make the site much better. As a result he added a privacy policy, email blocking, limited the number of messages that could be sent per minute, and says your phone number is now hidden in the MySpace code. Kapitanski, who only works on the project part time, also recently released a Mac OS dashboard SMS widget and says he is working on a Vista text gadget that could be out as early as April. There still isn’t a clear about section, but if you email the info address on the site, Kapitanski will probably oblige you on details you want to know.

5). Your carrier!? Yes, its true, some carriers have some limited web-to SMS and email to SMS services. On Verizon Wireless’ vtext.com site you can send a text to a Verizon wireless cell phone user, and send an SMS via email to “verizon wireless phone number”@vtext.com. Sprint has a similar web based service to text Sprint customers. They still get some money the more times people text using most solutions, so why not get more people to text their customers.

207 Responses to “5 Ways to SMS for free”

  1. Great titbits all, so does anyone know of a way to download IM services such as yahoo, msn, gtalk onto your cell phones? Another alternative to sms is to use IM – of course the US carrier will use your local sms out of the bundle you have – this is esp good if you txt int’t. T mobile charges 0.15 c, AT&T 0.20. Anyone know a free service that allows u to sms to Sri Lanka from the US?

  2. itxtmo.com sends Philippine SMS to USA for free. In addition, receiver gets a copy of SMS on their email and itxtmo.com inbox. itxtmo.com has SMS blogging tools as well and now being used by Philippine radio stations to receive listeners requests.

    • Ibrahim Aliyu Mustapha

      Please i read your posting on sent a free sms for free to the whole world, I want to know much about that and how it work.
      My location is Northern Nigeria i wish you will be in Nigeria to see what we going through in sms tariff, i will like you to also see if it is possible to let me know how i can get free bulk sms sender using Microsoft excel from PC to Phone sms.

  3. Well teleflip software seems very simple but still cant get why would i want my emails forwarded to my cell as a text message?
    If i do so i will have to pay prob $10 per month, now the email will be only 100 or so characters so i will be able to read the begiinng hi how are u balbalbla and cut !????

    in the other hand get internet acces for $5 acces your gmail as shown above and get your email full (50 pages) and reply

    I thnk text message to connect with customers and friends so mass text messaging service makes sense and make money.

    it seems on this blog everyone is looking for FREE FREE stuffs well there is nothing free, you will get advertisement or so

    anyway many companies, provide free service and they all not making monay they just all hope amd pray to get acquire by big companies who will then trun it around advertis eyou then you will opt out or remove your info but the fat is you started to get in for a reason that did not follow wiht you cause of the greed of the human nature lol

    cheers to all
    I love text message and if I am going to have to increase my plan to get free text therefore there is a contradiction the free comes with my plan being increased to lets say $10 for unlimted therefore lets just use your phone and have fun

    DD

  4. Hello
    Can someone help me with my problem im here at brunei and i been looking for a free sms installer but i cannot find any. I what to txt my friends in the Philippines.
    Can someone help me..

    tHANKZ.

    MIKE

  5. Okay, this is how it works. When you send the message the person sees the number 23333. Your Peekamo ID say it is “Kim”, shows up in the message. So the message will say:

    Kim: Txt’n 4 Free on Peekamo.com.

    The person would press reply and type:

    Peek Kim wow that is awesome.

    That’s it. Not so complicated is it. The groups work the same way. And there are other commands too that you can use, like status, find, on, off, and some other ones.

  6. Free SMS indeed been around for a while. One of the best free sms sites I’ve found (and I think it works in US – it definitely works in UK) is Wadja.com . You just have to register, and upload a photo, and then you can send free sms to your heart’s content

  7. Free SMS indeed been around for a while. One of the best free sms sites I’ve found (and I think it works in US – it definitely works in UK) is Wadja.com . You just have to register, and upload a photo, and then you can send free sms to your heart’s content.

  8. Okay, this is how it works. When you send the message the person sees the number 23333. Your Peekamo ID say it is “Kim”, shows up in the message. So the message will say:

    Kim: Txt’n 4 Free on Peekamo.com.

    The person would press reply and type:

    Peek Kim wow that is awesome.

    That’s it. Not so complicated is it. The groups work the same way. And there are other commands too that you can use, like status, find, on, off, and some other ones.

    Anyways, give it shot, it works for me. I have 150 plan, so I use those when I’m mobile and I use peekamo the other times from my PC and I’ve never used up all 150, but before I used to have a 500 plan and I would always use it.

  9. So I have a question. If you sent someone a message on peekamo, they get it. What number do they reply to? And I seriously don’t get the Id space then message thing. I need an example!
    kthnx!

  10. Short Stack

    Yeah, MobiK isn’t available in the US or Canada. It looks like it’s focus is in Australia.

    I haven’t had any issues with lag – it works perfectly and definitely the sexiest SMS tool I’ve seen out there.

  11. I am an avid free SMSer. I think in the last little while I have tried every single one, infact even got spammed by one or two of them and had to ask them to stop and remove me from their list.

    Mobik was one of the ones I tried, and though I found the interface intuitive, it lagged a bit when typing the message. Maybe this is something they have fixed. However, what I didn’t like is that if there was no marketing message for the area I wanted to send my message to, they would not let me send the message.

    In fact I tried 4 numbers within the US and kept getting the “There is no marketing message for that area” message, until I finally gave up and moved along.

    Hooray for the interface, but Boo for the service.

  12. I have recently checked out http://www.mobik.com it too is a free sms tool for Web to mobile. The interface is superb and very user friendly, letting you drag and drop up to 25 numbers for one single message. There is no cost for this service but you have to join the ‘opt in’ community, as the cost of the service is carried by the advertiser. The ad that is played is only 5 seconds long. It doesn’t stream, as it is cached for instant play when you send.
    The only limitation I can see is the number of gloabl locations you can get a free SMS delivered is only limited by avertisers in country to carry the cost. So the reach of this tool will grow as the MobiK subscriber numbers grow, hence bringing advertisers to pay for the service.
    They have even put measures in place to prevent sms spammers getting hold of this service and hijacking it their own promotions.

    check it out, its great! http://www.mobik.com

    Jeremy