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Author Topic: Add option to text in/check prices? Back to Topics

Rookie Author
South Bend

Joined:Jun 2012
Message Posted: Jun 15, 2013 12:02:04 PM

I know that in this day and age a lot of people have smart phones with data packages and these users can report gas prices using the gas buddy app. However, there are still many of us who do not have smart phones and would still like to report a price (especially if it has recently changed) but are unable to for a few hours because we don't have access to the website.

To submit prices, I am thinking of a process similar to facebook's or twitter's capability to text in status updates. I am not a programmer, so I don't know how feasible this idea is.

Thank you.
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Champion Author Maryland

Joined:Aug 2004
Message Posted: Jun 17, 2013 2:55:49 PM

Even if you don't have "access to the website" for a few hours, you can post prices and simply adjust the "Time Spotted" to indicate what time you actually saw the price (rather than having people assume you saw the price at the time you posted it).

At most it takes only several additional seconds to do, and the price will be available to help your fellow Gas Buddy members be more knowledgeable shoppers. A late posted price, in my opinion, is better than no price posted.1/270
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Champion Author Los Angeles

Joined:Mar 2010
Message Posted: Jun 17, 2013 5:24:36 AM

While FB and Twit status updates are free-from text, GB price updates would need to follow some pre-defined format.

SMS (text message) is unformatted text sent one-way at a time so if GB prompted for information and the member responded it would take several back and forth messages.

If the entire price update was to be contained in one transmitted SMS message, the member would need to follow a very specific format for the price update info. Things such as mis-spelled street names may cause an orphan price entry that does not match a station in the MSL; a missing data field separator may render the price update useless; the member would need to follow a specific order for the three gasoline and one diesel prices, with placeholders for the grades not reported or not sold.

As to the technical aspect of receiving text messages and feeding the text to a computer program for processing that is straightforward.

If GB wanted to invest in the technology, they could set up an automated voice response and speech recognition system to answer a phone number that members could use to phone in price updates. That would probably be faster to use than sending updates via SMS.
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Champion Author Sacramento

Joined:May 2007
Message Posted: Jun 15, 2013 10:13:02 PM

This suggestion has been added to the Suggestion Tracking List as a new topic on an existing subject.
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