Sending Bulk SMS (Txt Messages) at No Cost


Image Source: http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1266/706401207_b8ff020a72.jpg


Ever wanted to send txt messages to people's phone en masse? You are not alone:
I run a few list serves but I am looking for a way to take the concept over to texting?  I would prefer free (Open Source) but would look at a pay for service.  
I would like to be able to have a site that people can go to and register their cell phone to receive txt messages.  I could then send messages, "This is a reminder that all servers will be offline for maintenance starting at 6PM tonight." Anyone using such a system or know of one?
Here's one possible solution that is no-cost if you have your own web/mail server:

Howdy! Have you considered this approach? I just tested it successfully...here's what the txt message looks like:

Web server is offline until 10pm for maintenance  / . -- _

Here's how to do it....

PHPLIST BULK EMAILING
1) Have end users fill out an online form (e.g. Googleform) that includes their firstname,lastname,email address, and phone email address.

The phone number email address would look like this for ATT:

or for Tmobile:

If you don't want to trouble them, you could always ask them to choose their provider, concactenate the phone number with the appropriate @whateverservice.net 

Data fields for the form would look like this:
  • firstname
  • lastname
  • district email
  • your mobile phone provider (this would be a drop down of TMobile, Sprint, AT&T, etc.
  • Mobile Phone #
  • Do you understand there may be charges for receiving txt messages? You are encouraged to have an unlimited texting plan.
Then, after data collection is complete, concactenate the mobile phone number with the appropriate @whateverservice.net

2) Install PHPList on a server that has a mail server; more about it here http://goo.gl/j0vKO
When you import the data into PHPList gathered from Step 1, only pull in this info:
a) firstname
b) lastname
c) phone email address as "email"
Alternative Possibility: Note that if you don't have your own server, you could use a bulk email solution like Fairlogic's Worldcast (free for education use) to send the messages out
3) You can create your own distribution lists, organizing people into various people into groups like Principals, WorkshopTraining, etc. That's what I do and can spam thousands (oh, it's a heady power ;-> ) as I need to.




4) Enter the txt message in the subject and simply put a period "." in the body of the email. That way, the user gets a brief message.


This is one possibility. You can read about another using a similar solution:
http://contentdeveloper.com/2006/06/open-source-sms-text-messaging-application/

BTW, I'd considered Moodle, but this approach is easier. Email headers mess up the Moodle solution. Another possibility is to use Wordpress subscribe list and have people subscribe to updates posted there. Again, message headers and the length of the message may cause problems.


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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

Comments

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