Bulk SMS is the use of a short message service (SMS) to send out hundreds or thousands of messages to recipients on a list quickly and efficiently. This is done using the same message and is typically done as advertising or a promotion, to let as many different people as possible know about a concert, major sale, or similar event. Bulk SMS are usually sent out to people who have opted to be part of a contact list for businesses or promoters, as unsolicited messages may turn off potential customers or be seen as a form of harassment.
An SMS is the service provider that allows text messages to be sent between people’s mobile or wireless phones quickly and efficiently. These messages typically consist of just over 100 characters, and though they are called text messages they can also include pictures, sound files, and even videos. Usage of the term SMS has become synonymous with the messages themselves, so though it may technically refer to the service, it is often used to indicate the message. This is why bulk SMS refers to the messages sent out and not necessarily the service or process of doing so.
The basic idea behind a bulk SMS being sent is that people who are interested in local events, musical concerts, club openings, movies, sales at major retailers, and just about any other type of occurrence can sign up to be part of a messaging list. A promoter or business then compiles these lists, amassing hundreds or thousands of mobile phone numbers for use in bulk SMS advertising. The business can then pay another service to allow it to quickly and easily input those lists of phone numbers into saved customer lists for easy use later.
A bulk SMS service is then used to select the desired list, type in a brief message to be sent, indicate a response email address or phone number, and then send out the message. These types of services typically charge a monthly fee for usage, but most businesses simply see this as the expense of advertising and find it preferable to the alternative of sending messages individually or developing proprietary software to send out bulk SMS. The message then goes out to the recipients on the list who all see the same message and can either reply to the message, or more likely simply read it and either act on the offer or ignore it.