Back at the beginning of November, we wrote a lengthy blog post about how our SMS pricing was changing to deal with "large SMS body" senders by targeting segments instead of whole messages.
Since that time, we've done a lot of things to help users get ready. We've explained what SMS segments are, added a detailed SMS segments calculator, and provided an SMS X-Ray tool when writing messages to help you see and clean up bloated segments.
This past week, we released "SMS Brands" that allow you to establish a "sending reputation" with the major carriers like Verizon, ATT, and T-Mobile. Over time, this will make your SMS messages and phone calls, from your OwnerRez phone number, show up as "verified sender" on guests' smartphones and not be blocked or delayed. The SMS Brands feature is so new, it hasn't yet been documented in our product updates or support articles. You can find it under Settings > SMS Phone Numbers.
Over the past two months, we've also been busy studying the effects of the new pricing model on existing users, based on the messages they have historically sent.
What we found led us to believe that the announced pricing changes were too high. While it is correct to target segments instead of whole messages, the price of 200 included segments with 3¢ (0.03) per extra would really hit all users, not just the large-body senders. Even smallish SMS messages tend to have an extra segment or two, so 200 runs out quickly. What we found is that the price increase would double most users' SMS charges and increase pricing for large-body senders by 8 or 10 times. Way too high!
After studying the numbers further, we have finalized the new pricing. Our SMS pricing will include 500 segments for free and then charge 1.5¢ (0.015) per extra segment.
Weeks ago, we already updated our pricing page, Cost and Fees articles, and other places inside the app to reflect the new pricing, but I wanted to post a special notice about this as users get ready for the new year. For many users, this will still result in an SMS price increase, so take the time to study your message patterns to see if you can decrease the content. SMS messages should be cogent by nature anyway, to capture guests' attention, or guests will gloss over the messages without reading.