Company name: SMS.ac
Where it's based: San Diego
When it was founded: 2001
What year it was a Fierce 15: 2005
Why it was a Fierce 15: Despite nagging questions about the company's business practices, one thing was certain: When it came to numbers of registered users, no other mobile service came close. SMS.ac claimed over 30 million registered users in more than 180 countries, making it the largest community of registered mobile users in the world. The company claimed more than 300,000 user-created mobile clubs that provided messages and updates on a variety of subjects. Click here for more.
What has happened since it was awarded the Fierce 15: SMS.ac said it transformed its global mobile payment platform into a "turnkey software solution" for content providers that the company said "removes the major obstacles they face in converting their ‘free' (ad-based) business models into a ‘fee' (premium) model." The company offers MobileGuard.org (for programmers) and FanBox.com (for non-programmers), thereby allowing content providers to "build their audience, price and launch their recurring revenue premium model--all using mobile billing as a backbone," according to the company. Content providers can test their premium business models in the FanBox social network (over 50 million registered consumers, according to the company) before launching on MySpace, Facebook and other social networks, the company said.