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Shorthand delivers mobile Web via SMS to consumers without data plans

Shorthand Mobile Inc. has introduced TextApps, a completely new category of applications that deliver content from top Web sites via SMS in a rich, interactive, graphical interface.

Shorthand?s TextApps expand the capabilities of even the most basic phones and provide access to Web content for the majority of mobile users without data plans. While there is incredible buzz around mobile application consumption, in reality, only 12 percent of the almost four billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide actually have data plans, per Shorthand.

Countless people are sidelined when it comes to accessing mobile content. Shorthand hopes to change that. Mobile Marketer interviewed John McDonough, CEO/founder of Shorthand Mobile.
Here is what he had to say:

What is Shorthand?s strategy behind the launch of TextApps? What challenges do they address for partners/clients?
Shorthand TextApps address a void in the mobile ecosystem, giving users without data plans seamless access to top web content and brands a great way to deliver branded apps to a previously unreachable mass-market.

TextApps offer a rich, graphical, interactive, and intuitive interface to deliver functionality much greater than can be achieved over standard SMS all while keeping the user in a branded environment.   

Shorthand TextApps are designed to connect brands with mass-market users on the phones they already have and using the plans they already pay for. 

Ninety-four percent of US users 18-29 use text messaging and a minority of them pay for data plans, a divide which is many times larger in emerging markets.  

With regular SMS, discoverability, ease-of-use and branding represent huge challenges. 

TextApps solve all these problems and can be published quickly and cost effectively for brands big and small and across many different categories.

Which brands, content providers and publishers have adopted TextApps to date?
We offer TextApps that allow people to access to the great, branded content and services mobile subscribers typically use, including  Facebook, Google, Netflix, Citysearch, ESPN, TMZ, MapQuest, Twitter, Yelp, Zillow among others. 

The apps work via text messaging from the most basic handsets to smart phones, no data plan required. 

We?re continually adding more TextApps our users will love.  

All of our TextApps can be found in the App Finder at

Can you please provide examples of fast-food text ordering?
We currently offer a Subway TextApp that gives users a way to build their sandwich, submit their order order ahead of time and pick it up at the register without waiting in line. 

It?s super simple to use, just click into the Subway TextApp and scroll-and-click through intuitive, interactive menu options to build your sub.

There?s no typing and no keywords or short codes to remember. 

With one final click, your text order is sent to any of the participating Subway locations.  

This is one of our favorites. Try it once and you feel like  a VIP picking up your sandwich.

Does each client get consumers to opt-in with their own call-to-action, or does Shorthand get them to join a community? Does the call-to-action appear in a banner ad? On the carrier?s deck? Is a short code used?
TextApps can be discovered in many ways, including on content partner websites, on the Shorthand Web site, on carrier portals (coming soon), on third party app stores and on in-store marketing collateral. 

The call to action will typically be online (?click to download the TextApp?) or a text in call to action. 

Shorthand?s TextApps can use any short code, including ours 767767 (sms sms)

Do consumers sign up to receive messages from a specific brand or publisher?
All interactions in each branded TextApp can be managed within TextApp, including opting-in or out of any alert subscriptions. 

Are the text messages ad-supported, subscription-based, or are they intended to drive sales and/or engagement with the brands and publishers?
All the above. 

Shorthand works with content partners to achieve their goals.  

Our business model focuses on creating value as each partner defines it and sharing in the upside created from their TextApp. 

Primarily these brands want to build engagement to drive advertising, transactions, or subscription revenue. However, some brands at this point want to put their brands in mass-market users pockets and let the business model evolve over time.