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How Online Reminder Services Work


Getting Started with Reminder Services
HassleMe "nags" users by sending reminders at unpredictable intervals. HassleMe works well for things you do on a regular basis (like cleaning your fridge) rather than for specific events.
HassleMe "nags" users by sending reminders at unpredictable intervals. HassleMe works well for things you do on a regular basis (like cleaning your fridge) rather than for specific events.
Copyright 2008 HowStuffWorks

Most reminder services require users to create a profile before they can take advantage of the application. The profile creation process usually asks users to provide information including:

  • The user's name
  • An e-mail address, cell phone number and/or an instant messaging ID. If it asks for a cell phone number, the service may also ask which cell phone service provider the user subscribes to
  • The time zone the user lives in

Some services ask for additional information, such as the user's gender or birthday. Most services also require users to click a box saying that the user has read and agreed to the application's terms of service and privacy policy.

The terms of service vary from one provider to the next, but in general they protect the provider from being held responsible for any account activity. In other words, if users decide to arrange a bank heist through an online reminder service, the service won't be held accountable for transmitting that information to the parties involved.

After creating an account, users must submit information through the service's user interface. Here's where the user can tell the service when he or she wants to receive updates and information about the appointments or events. These services only work if the user puts forth a little effort -- it's not going to automatically know when you need to be reminded about something.

Most services have an option that lets you repeat an event at specific intervals. For example, you can enter important dates like birthdays and anniversaries into the service and tell it to repeat the reminders annually. That way, you don't have to put the information in again the following year -- the service will know to send a reminder at the same time each year.

You can use most service reminders to send messages to you about specific events and appointments, but you have to give the information to the service first. That means you'll still have to input data into your account regularly to benefit from the service.

Next, we'll take a look at online reminder services that send users messages in text format.


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