October 10, 2007


Vakow: Forwarding culture brought to SMS

It's been a long time since I received an interesting forwarded mail. In my very first email account on Hotmail (which expired long time back), there was a folder (It was not called "label" or "tag" then. That old!) named "Forward" which had interesting forwards. With a stunningly big 2MB mailbox, I was forced to keep only short and text-only forwards. No images, or PPTs. please. We have only 2MB. That folder had the highest concentration of quality forwards.

Gmail now gives me a cute 2911MB (and growing) mailbox, but the sources of forwards seems to have gone dry. Occasional, mildly interesting forward landing the mailbox is invariably documented in detail on snopes.com or breakthechain.org. The only amusement I get in my mailbox are of "read this blog entry" or "watch this YouTube video" variety, which, I must admit, are not amazing the as the good ol' forwards.

While the email forwards have been on steady and sad decline, the SMS forwarding is experiencing a viral growth, reason being 200+ million cellular subscribers in India. As written more than 2 years back, age has really caught up fast (and it's been 2 freakin' years since then) and I don't find SMS really really cool. I still don't find them uber cool as I insist on using "regular" English on SMS, albeit with the help of T9 dictionary. (That is a polite way of saying I'm so darn uncool.) I don't receive much SMSes because I don't send many. People forward SMSes to people who forward SMSes. So, yeah, that kind of leaves me out of the loop.

Vakow! is the newly launched service which lets you forward cool SMSes to your friends. It offers the convenience of internet (easy forwarding to many friends, managing subscriptions, paying Rs Zero, discovering cool SMSes, etc) and reach all the friends. If I go by experience with email forwards, I can easily assert, this fun service can really get addictive. Like, say, YouTube.

The guys behind this venture (drum rolls, please!) are Rahul Gupta and Amit Upadhyay, my former colleagues. I wish them all the success! Rock on, guys.

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