An Instant Messaging hosting service name IMifield, which was bought by Voxeo in 2009, has announced that it will shutter on May 1 according to an email that the company sent to its users, reports The Next Web. The company in the note explains that “running an IM bot hosting service is something that cannot be done profitably”. It states that is has struggled as the number of IM networks has decreased significantly from time to time.
The email further says that the company has tried to keep things going but ultimately, with no support from IM networks and integration with bots shrinking down, the options to its users have narrowed meaning that the revenue that the firm has been bringing in hasn’t justified its existence. IMified saw its popularity peak around the time that Google introduced Google Wave, a messaging product that has also been shuttered too.
Here is an excerpt of what Imifield says:
The logical question that many of you will have next is “what can I do instead?” Unfortunately, we’re not aware of any viable IM bot hosting services. Those that we knew of have all gone away. One alternative is to host one yourself. Building a basic XMPP (Jabber) bot isn’t hard. You just need to sign up with an XMPP host, someone like Gmail or Jabber.org will work for low-traffic bots.
There are numerous tutorials and frameworks for building XMPP bots in your language of choice. A discussion thread on Quora has some other ideas. Once you have a XMPP bot up, you can connect it to other IM networks using XMPP Gateways (also known as Transports). These sign on to an IM network for you, and relay messages to and from an XMPP account.
There’s not much in the way of public gateways available, so to go this route, you may need to host your XMPP server and your gateways yourself. Spectrum and Kraken are two popular gateways, and Kraken is available as an easy-to-install plugin for Openfire, an open source XMPP server.