Way2SMS.com Claims Over 5 Million User Registrations – A Look At Their Strategy Vs Competitors

One of the online free SMS services in India, Way2SMS.com has recently claimed to have crossed the 5 million mark in user registrations. This comes close to two years and seven months since the website was first operational. In a statement, VV Raju, the founder and CEO of the website says, “Recording five million subscriptions is phenomenal success for any web portal. Only few online players have achieved it but we are the first free SMS provider to make it. Way2SMS has become part of millions of lives by carrying their emotions and feelings. We will continue to live up to the expectations of our users who have faith in way2sms to communicate with their near and dear.”

way2sms

Free SMS is a competitive business since it involves a lot of upfront capital that is required to purchase SMS inventory from the network operators, and monetization is a tough challenge. In India, this area is majorly dominated by only two players 160by2.com and Way2SMS

About Competition

I have passionately followed the competition among the two players over the past few months (Disclosure: I formerly worked with 160by2.com) and it is interesting to see how the two players have grown from almost a similar base since 2007. Both these players started out as offering ad-supported free SMS service whereby users can send free SMS of around 80 characters long which is tagged with contextual advertisements.

Business Model Change

However, business models have changed since then. While 160by2.com has stuck to the core business of SMS advertising and has been expanding to offer International free SMS (the service currently allows users to send free SMS to and from 7 countries in the Middle East and South East Asia), Way2SMS has focused on offering lengthier SMSes (140 characters versus 80 characters from 160by2.com). The company has moved from core SMS advertising to monetizing off the Internet traffic.

Which of the two strategies – free International SMS of 80 characters against lengthier 140 character SMS, will pay off can only be seen with time. However, it is an exciting competition in this market and the users are surely to benefit from either over the long run.


10 Responses to “Way2SMS.com Claims Over 5 Million User Registrations – A Look At Their Strategy Vs Competitors”

  1. Sanjeev Thomas
    September 3, 2009 at 3:57 pm #

    Hi Anand,

    I’m also following both the sites from long time. Great to see healthy competition between 2 companies. One(way2sms) with huge user base , traffic and other(160by2) with good media presence. Both the companies always used to claim as Number One in this segment.

    I tried to compare these 2 sites, to find out who is big…who is number one….

    Here is my analysis……

    According to alexa…

    Way2SMS is getting around 1200 unique visitors out of every 1 million visitors around the world.

    Where as 160by2 is getting around 550 unique visitors out of every 1 million visitors across the world.

    Way2SMS is ranked at 32 in india, and 160by2 is ranked at 91 in india.

    When it comes to Comscore stats for the month of may( I don’t have June/July data yet)…

    Way2SMS has 1332000 unique visitors in MAY 2009
    160by2 has 993000 unique visitors.

    With the above stats , one can conclude that there is a heavy competition going on between WAY2SMS and 160by2. But , currently WAY2SMS is far ahead than 160by2 in the traffic.

  2. Sunil
    September 3, 2009 at 4:20 pm #

    I prefer Way2SMS than 160by2. I’m really impressed with the email alert feature they have.

    I don’t think 160by2 is comparable to Way2SMS. Way2SMS is always dynamic which can offer the services offered by 160by2 at any time but 160by2 can not.

  3. rajasekhar
    September 3, 2009 at 4:51 pm #

    Hi Anand , I am an user of both these websites but i prefer way2sms.com to communicate with my friends and customers .Because They responding to the customer queries like increasing the characters in message and mail Alert system ( an excellent feature nobody is providing) these feature are helping the existing users as well as new users. where as 160by2.com introduced messaging to different countries to expand their business and to get new users but nothing given for the existing users like me. Way2sms Message Delivery is also good on festival days.

  4. Jonathan vivek
    September 3, 2009 at 9:14 pm #

    Hey Anand Srinivasan,

    You are no more with 160by2. But it seems you are a great loyalist to your previous employer(160by2). You are showing too much loyalty towards 160by2 by comparing it with way2sms.com. Don’t you know the fact that 160by2 is far behind WAY2SMS and almost incomparable distant from WAY2SMS.

    Too much of noise in media(&in blogs) cannot make 160by2, bigger than what it is.Every one knows the fact, No longer they can claim themselves as the “FIRST and LARGEST” player in this domain.

    Its time, 160by2 has to answer several facts…
    1) Who started first? its 160by2 or WAY2SMS ?
    2) Who is bigger in terms of traffic, user base and revenue?

    Vivek J
    WAY2SMS Team

  5. Amit
    September 3, 2009 at 9:40 pm #

    Cheers Way2SMS!!

    With 160by2 i’m able to send only 50 messages in a day which is limited for 80 Chars, With Way2SMS i’m sending 140 chars and don have any limit i think.

    Cheers! once again.

  6. September 3, 2009 at 9:53 pm #

    Thanks for the comment guys.

    @Sanjeev,

    That’s an interesting argument you have brought up. I did intend to compare the two based on the Alexa stats. But that would be sort of unfair for two reasons:

    1. Alexa/C rankings do not reflect the true rankings.

    2. Way2SMS.com is much more than just core free SMS website today. The internet traffic also includes frameset redirections to partner sites like IndiaGlitz and MoneyControl. On the other hand, 160by2.com’s traffic also includes traffic of its other sections like Classifieds. So, on a strict service offering comparison, it would not make much sense.

    @Jonathan Vivek
    I am sorry if this appears to be a biased portrayal. To be honest, I have not taken any sides at all in this comparison. But like I have mentioned in the comments above, I have not made a comparison of the internet traffic for the simple reason that they do not reflect the true picture of the health of the two businesses.

    Whilst I cannot comment on the questions you have posed, from publicly available information,I can infer that both 160by2 and Way2SMS are indeed running a close race. 160by2 recorded their 4 millionth user in May of this year (so should be inching towards the 5 million mark too). Besides, the company was also listed among the 50 fastest growing technology companies in India and 500 fastest growing technology companies in Asia Pacific by Deloitte for the year 2008.

    So, in my opinion, my blog post here has been fair to the word.

  7. Sanjeev Thomas
    September 4, 2009 at 10:00 am #

    Hello Anand,

    every one knows the fact that alexa ranking doesn’t reflect true position. Thats why i tried to come up with comscore data as well. the whole industry(agencies) relies on comscore data currently.

    Also, I feel you have to understand ‘frameset redirections cannot make traffic to native portal’. Another Important point here is, no one will land on sites such as way2sms for movie news. They come for SMSing, they may also visit other sections just because they are just a click away.

    Anyhow, good to see public debate on these kind of services.

  8. Sanjeev Thomas
    September 4, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Also,

    I would like to see, How long these kind of service can survive. As Interconnect charges are going to be levied by telecom operators, looking forward to see their strategies post interconnect charges.

    It would be great if they can continue the same way even after interconnect regime.

  9. September 4, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    Hi Sanjeev,

    I guess we are not using the right parameters to compare businesses in the free SMS market. Uniques and Page views are of course critical to any website on the internet, but they are not the money-spinning parameters to either 160by2.com or Way2SMS. New uniques can come from other websites: Gaming freaks can make a casual visit to Way2SMS from Way2Games. Similarly, Google visitors searching for Buy/Sell stuff can land on 160by2 Classifieds. People reading this blog could be clicking to the two websites. They help in boosting the Comscore/Alexa rankings, but that does not necessarily reflect the health of either of the two businesses.

    To compare these websites, we need to know critical parameters such as:

    Number of registrations per month
    Number of active users per month
    Volume of SMS served per month
    Value and Volume of ad-inventory sold per month
    Fall-back monetization models (that is, other than SMS ads, and third party ad networks)
    Future growth potential,etc.

    It is with these that we can truly gauge the current health as well as the future potential of the business.

    Your point regarding interconnect charges is interesting. That can indeed change market dynamics. Thanks for comment.

  10. October 22, 2009 at 11:05 pm #

    I have been using both the sites for a long time & found dat way2sms is the best site in India for free msging,
    it offers 100 SMS a day,140 char’s each sms & there is no
    restriction in no of sms’s to a particular no. , there are no
    added stupid adds too

    http://WWW.WAY2SMS.COM

    ROCKS….!

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