There are changes being made to the way Subscription notifications are being delivered by the Website as part of an overall upgrade by our host server.
Changes to Email Subscription will be behind the scenes and this should function the same as in past seasons.
Changes to Text (SMS) Subscription is significant and is better explained by clicking Read More to view the rest of the article.
IMPORTANT CHANGE TO SMS NOTIFICATIONS
Since we first introduced the SMS subscription option over 10 years ago we’ve been using the “Email To Text” service provided by various wireless carriers. For some carriers like Telus this has always worked great and still does. But for others like Bell, and specifically Rogers, things have been much more off-and-on; and lately much more off than on.
For the past year we’ve been experimenting on a few sites with a “True SMS Notifications” feature. This uses a service called Twilio to send an actual text message from a phone number we purchase. This has many advantages:
· We no longer need to know what carrier the phone number belongs to – the number is sufficient. This also means that if the person changes their carrier and keeps their phone number (which happens a lot) the subscription keeps working.
· The “Email To Text” service has a phone number which is specific to that carrier but because anyone in the world can use that service we end up with the problem described here: http://support.mbsportsweb.ca/kb/a113/is-the-website-sending-spam-text-messages.aspx. Using Twilio, the “from” phone number will be a specific number – one that we’ve purchased in Twilio on behalf of your association.
· Some carriers had strange limits on the number of characters available in the message – Twilio allows a full 160 characters for every message.
Of course, however, there is one big disadvantage: cost. The “Email To Text” service is free and Twilio has a per-message cost in addition to a monthly cost for each phone number we purchase from them. MBSportsWeb will absorb these costs in order to ensure that the text messages work properly – but we have to re-imagine what the valid use cases are for text messages. As of this week, the following new limitations are in place:
· While the email notifications will be triggered for changes that affect the next “X” days (default is 14 but you can configure), SMS notifications will only be triggered for changes that affect the next 12 hours. The subscription page has been updated with this information, but anyone who subscribed prior to this change may not be aware of this new limitation.
· The idea is that people probably check their email on a virtually daily basis so they should subscribe to email notifications as needed – the text notifications are for notification of an imminent change where perhaps the email hasn’t been checked.
· For the time being, it is no longer possible to sign up for text notifications of news articles. This may change back in the future, however, we also think that email notifications are sufficient for this purpose.
· For the time being, it is no longer possible to sign up for text notifications of game results. Again, this may change in the future, however, we believe that most people who received these notifications were probably already at the game – those who aren’t are probably texting people for live play-by-play during the game separately. Email notifications still work for this purpose too.
These new limitations aren’t necessarily set in stone – however, the concept is that going forward email should be the primary notification method for things that aren’t critically important (like results or news items) or don’t affect the very near future (currently 12 hours, but that could change).
We’d also like to offer an enhanced / premium service to “parents” who want more text messages – things like news items, game results, and probably the biggest – text message reminders X hours prior to an event. This would be rolled out as a paid feature for the individual the individuals who want them.
The last point with the SMS messages is that we’ve improved their content to include a link to the relevant page on the association website – either the team’s calendar or to the event details page. So for a smartphone user they’ll receive the text and be able to click the link for more specific details. The side-benefit to this is that a person who wants to unsubscribe from the text messages will now be able to figure out what site is sending them (which they couldn’t do with the old contents of the messages).