18
Jan 2016

Why we need to remove old SMS/text technology

Today we are announcing that as of February 1, 2016, we will be dropping the option to send messages via SMS (texting).  This information as well as instructions for Members on how to create an account is available as a PDF download at the end of this article.

Popular apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram do NOT use SMS.  They use ‘push notifications’.

That is what Class Messenger uses so if your Members use our app, they’ll continue get instant notifications as always.

Since most Class and Staffroom members in our system have a Class Messenger account or use our free mobile apps, this change will only impact a small percentage of our users.  That said, we encourage Teachers to have their Class members register for the service and download the mobile app so they can keep getting their messages on the go.

Mobile app notifications are far more reliable than SMS messages so this change will ultimately lead to better reliability for your messages.

We realize this decision may impact some Teachers, Parents and Students in a negative way in the short term (no one likes a feature being taken away…we understand that).  There are some very important reasons for the change including:

1.  SMS technology is not reliable for our type of service.  We have to pass your messages through one company, and then onto the many phone companies in the U.S. They too often ‘drop the ball’ and frustrate our customers…without Class Messenger knowing.

2.  FCC spam regulations with text messaging are causing more messages to be dropped.  Because we send so many messages each day, our service is constantly being ‘flagged’ by phone company software mistakenly thinking we are sending spam…which we have never done.

3.  SMS technology is expensive.  Class Messenger spends tens of thousands of dollars each month to deliver messages via SMS and charges our users nothing.  Sending the same messages via email and our mobile apps costs virtually nothing.

4.  SMS limits the length of your message.  Class Messenger users love things like Timeslot Meetings and Surveys as well as long form messages.  SMS is meant for less than 140 characters.  95% of our messages via SMS require the customer to click a link to see the full message.

5.  SMS is not what the best programs use to communicate, so it needs to be dropped.  The entire world is moving away from traditional phone and SMS/text technology.   Communication apps like ours need to spend our time on leading edge ideas for our users…not on propping up something that has such limited functionality.

Just as Apple made the tough decision to not support Flash, we no longer want to support a format that so severely holds back the development of our service.

Class Members who have been using ONLY SMS messaging (that means getting texts to their mobile phone number) will be shown in ORANGE for the next two weeks so Teachers will have time to message them and get them to sign up for a Class Messenger account or at least provide an email address.  Below is an example of how they will appear in a recipient list:

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.26.03 AM

After February 1, any member who was using SMS for their messages will be moved to email (if they provided one) or can simply log into their Class Messenger account to see their messages.  We will ‘tag’ members who were using ONLY SMS with a red exclamation point like this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-13 at 9.08.28 AM

The Teacher will be able to click these Members and send them an SMS message (if we have a phone number on file) with a link to finally register for a Class Messenger account.  That will solve any issues with people being left out of the loop.

To summarize, if your members are:

1.  Registered with Class Messenger (ie. they use the mobile app or simply have a username and password they’ve been using)…they are fine.  No action is necessary.

2.  Getting messages via email (but have not registered with Class Messenger)…they are fine.  No action is necessary.

3.  ONLY getting messages via SMS AND do not have a Class Messenger account…they should click the link that’s in EVERY message you send them, and register for a Class Messenger account.

We apologize to those of who really love this feature but it’s simply too unreliable, feature limited and expensive to continue to support.  We’re happy to take your emails and provide support via support@classmessenger.com

Attached is a PDF with the information as well as instructions for Class members on how to move away from SMS only messaging:

Moving away from SMS/text messaging

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