An application I've been working on sends random challenge tokens by SMS
to confirm certain user actions. My client had an account with
Way2SMS already, so I used their
simple HTTP API to send out the tokens. Later, we discovered that
messages to some networks were delayed by fifteen minutes or more, and
we decided to find a backup provider. I relayed a friend's
recommendation of Air2Web to my
client, and they signed up for the starter package.
They got our account set up quickly, and I sent myself a message through
their HTTP API (which, like Way2SMS, was just a URL which took the phone
number and message as query parameters). The message never arrived, so I
wrote to "aircare" to complain. They replied promptly that my number was
on the Do-not-call registry, so they would
not deliver messages to it.
I explained that we were sending transactional messages to people with
whom we already had a financial relationship, and that we would never
send any unsolicited or marketing messages. They replied the next day
saying that they had made "some changes", and asked me to try again.
I did, and it worked. Satisfied, I put aside the SMS code to work on
more important things.
Some weeks passed.
When I got around to the SMS code again, I sent another message to my
own number. It didn't arrive, so I wrote to Air2Web again. Once again,
they replied promptly that my number was on the do-not-call registry.
I pointed out that I had been through exactly the same rigmarole a few
weeks earlier, when they had changed something to allow me to deliver
messages. A week has passed since then, and I have sent two followup
enquiries, but I have not received a response from Air2Web.
I can only assume their silence means that they don't want to do
business with me, and are too unprofessional to say so. At least I
know better now than to recommend them to anyone else.
I was discussing this with my friend Pooja yesterday, and it suddenly
occurred to us that the simplest explanation for the behaviour was that
they had just deleted my phone number from their local cache of the NDNC
registry database. When they next reloaded the database (which they are
supposed to do after every forty-five days or so), my number reappeared
and deliveries to it were blocked again.
If that's true, they're much more shady than just refusing to answer
inconvenient questions from customers. Alas, it's unlikely that I will
find out the truth in this case, but I'm not planning to waste any more
time with them, and I hope this post will be useful to other people who
are considering them as a provider.