The goal as a company is to have customer service that is not just the best but legendary.Sam Walton

SMS Privacy relaunches physical numbers.

3rd Feb 2017

Towards the end of last year SMS Privacy launched our physical numbers service, to let people buy numbers that don't have messages filtered out by our virtual number API provider.

This was basically a "minimum viable product" - we just bought a bunch of cheap Android phones and wrote an app that would receive SMS on the phones and send them to our web service. Then we periodically bought stacks of SIM cards, and put a fresh SIM card in each phone every time a user released a number.

The system worked surprisingly well, and we were completely overwhelmed by the demand for this service. The upshot of this is that a small number of users were delighted with their physical numbers, but the large majority of users were in no better position than before, as we were unable to supply enough physical numbers to meet the demand.

The Android phone system was also rather time-consuming as we had to manually change SIM cards. There were also issues where some of the cheap phones we ordered arrived non-functioning, further delaying the availability of numbers. Last week we had to disable physical numbers entirely because it was taking up too much time.

We've now outsourced physical number management to a partner who is able to manage a much greater quantity of numbers than we were able to do ourselves. This is great news for customers, as it means you will almost never be in a position where we are unable to supply you with a physical number.

The numbers are more expensive than before (now 0.02 BTC per day). This is because buying numbers from our partner is a lot more expensive than managing them ourselves. The typical use case is to hold a physical number for only one day before releasing it, so while the ongoing cost to customers would be a lot higher than before, the typical cost is just twice what it was before.

We're really excited about what the future holds for us all, and we hope you are too.

If you'd like to buy a physical number, you can do so here.

If you have any questions or comments, please email jes@smsprivacy.org. I want to hear from you.

Yours faithfully,
James Stanley
SMS Privacy


SMS Privacy is a project by James Stanley.
Available as a Tor hidden service at smspriv6fynj23u6.onion.
Please send bug reports, feature requests, comments, concerns, etc. to jes@smsprivacy.org.
As featured on Indie Hackers.