SMS.ac, Inc.

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SMS.ac Inc.
Type Private
Industry Telephone, Mobile, Internet
Founded 2001
Headquarters San Diego, California, USA
Key people Michael Pousti, Chairman and CEO
Products SMS messaging
Revenue unknown
Net income unknown
Employees 100-200
Website www.sms.ac

SMS.ac Inc. is a mobile data and Internet communications company based in San Diego, California. The company (and its spinoff subsidiary FanBox) has been widely criticized for charging unrequested SMS services from consumers and for failing to respond to the complaints of users[1] and for FanBox's e-mail[2][3] activities. The company provides distribution and billing to people buying and selling digital content (video, music, and applications) through (SMS) mobile services[citation needed] and web-based applications. SMS.ac's website integrates its mobile billing technology with various social networking services like photos, videos, music, and comments.[4][5] SMS.ac claims over 50 million registered users in more than 180 countries.[6]

The SMS.ac website domain name uses the .ac top-level domain for Ascension Island.

Business model[edit]

SMS.ac's revenue is derived through revenue-sharing arrangements with content providers and mobile operators.[citation needed] Specifically, the company enables content providers to bill subscribers for consumption of video, music, and widgets through SMS-based (text message) mobile billing.[citation needed]

History[edit]

At the time of its public launch in 2002, SMS.ac made history by signing up "nearly 6 million users in its first six months – making it the fastest product launch in Internet history".[7]

In 2005, SMS.ac was recognized as one of "the top emerging companies in the wireless industry" by Fierce Wireless's "Fierce 15".[8] An article by the Chicago Tribune described "a clever text-messaging ploy" whereby users provide their e-mail address and password in response to a message to join.[9]

In 2006 an article in the International Herald Tribune, while praising the service's integrated billing option, stated "SMS.ac is one of those right-place, right-time, right-technology companies that has nearly all the elements for colossal success. But it also has hovering over it a big red flag that could wrong-foot it at any moment as some consumers had complained on the Internet and in the mainstream press that SMS.ac has charged them for services they never asked for, making that billing relationship into potentially its greatest liability."[10]

In 2007, SMS.ac created a DBA called FanBox, a social networking mobile desktop site.[2]

In 2008, SMS.ac was fined £250,000 by PhonepayPlus for operating misleading and unfair mobile-terminating text message services without giving proper pricing information, and barred from operating reverse-billed services in the UK until it became compliant with the PhonepayPlus compliance rules.[11] Following the ruling SMS.ac brought their practices into compliance with UK regulations.

On 18 July 2009 the alleged unfair labor practices of SMS.ac subsidiary, FanBox were reported by San Diego 6 News.[12] In the coverage, former employees claimed they often received partial paychecks if they were paid at all.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BBB Business Review Reliability Report for SMS.AC Inc". Better Business Bureau. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Riley, Duncan (4 March 2008). "FanBox Is The New Plaxo". TechCrunch. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "FanBox Part 2". Consumer Fraud Reporting. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  4. ^ "SMS.ac Mobile Homepage service". SMS.ac. [dead link]
  5. ^ "FanBox: Products". fanbox.com. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  6. ^ "FanBox: About Us". fanbox.com. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "Fast Company: Speedometer". Fast Company. 
  8. ^ "Fierce Wireless". Fierce Wireless. 
  9. ^ Yue, Lorene (4 May 2005). "Reality check: A message to the wise about text trick". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 19 October 2010.  (contains corrections).
  10. ^ Shannon, Victoria (22 February 2006). "The End User: Noticing a red flag". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  11. ^ Cases 702783/GL and 704922/GL at Phonepayplus.org.uk
  12. ^ Myers, Heather (18 July 2009). "Former Employees Frustrated with Downtown based "fanbox.com"". XETV (San Diego TV Channel 6). Retrieved 19 October 2010. 

External links[edit]