Forced to Retire Weather by Text Service

I finally had to turn off the public number for my free Weather by Text service which I’ve been running for a few years. I was fine with the minimal cost running this on Twilio, but over the last couple of months someone has been abusing the number presumably with some automated script. The challenge with Twilio SMS is there is no way to block any abusive incoming text messages. Even though the pricing is pretty cheap ($ 0.0075 per message), it adds up quickly because you’re charged for both the incoming and outgoing messages. In the end, it’s not worth running a free service where one user can drive hundreds of abusive messages each day with no recourse.

Coincidentally it was one year ago today I rewrote the whole service using HERE for geocoding and DarkSky for weather forecasts. I still have the code up on GitHub (bcantoni/wxtext) for anyone interested in running it themselves or just seeing how I built it.

Update: After turning the service off I did hear back from Twilio tech support who let me know there is a way to block incoming fraudulent traffic. That’s encouraging. In this case I already decommissioned the service, but good to know for the future.