On Facebook, Many SMS Apps Find Little Use

Sarik Weber co-founder of CellityEarlier this morning I met with Sarik Weber, co-founder of Hamburg, Germany-based mobile callback service, Cellity. He brought me up to speed on his company, but he also mentioned that they had launched a Facebook application that allows you to send free SMS messages to anyone worldwide.

I signed up for the app but also looked at the competitive landscape and found that there are around three dozen (free) SMS-related apps, but they have little or no usage. Even the best ones get about 500 users a day, though most have fewer than 50 daily users. (Related story: 5 Ways to SMS for free.)

The state of these SMS apps is no different from many social voice applications (voice widgets). The only difference being that the VoIP widgets have high incidence of installs but comparatively low daily usage.

App Name Daily active users % of total
Babuki SMS 645 3%
Send SMS 2,099 0%
Shickclick 1,106 5%
SMS 500 2%
SMSfree 224 6%

These two examples make me question the viability of Facebook as a communications hub. Our columnist Daniel Berninger has eloquently made an argument for a social directory that uses Facebook and other social networks to break away from the current paradigm of numeric phone numbers.

He is part of a group that believes social networks could be used to authenticate our “communication” relationships. I don’t necessarily disagree with Daniel, but the usage metrics of SMS and voice apps makes me wonder if Facebookers really want to do anything more than throw Vampire Bites, Scrabble and pretend to have a lot of friends.

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