TextBound, has big plans to make text messages the new mass media for advertisers. Like we mentioned earlier, more and more companies are going to be betting on location based mobile ads this year, and TextBound hopes to capitalize on this trend. But unlike mobile social network/marketing vehicle, Fluc, TextBound isn't about connecting with your friends, it's about delivering ads to your cell phone via text message, then taking you to the mobile web for more details.Mobile marketing startup,
The Memphis-based startup is the latest addition to VC firm Mercury Technology Labs LLC's portfolio. The service is so new that I actually saw their web site change as I wrote this post - what began as a simple landing page with broken links morphed into a full-on web site describing each of their offerings in detail.
The company, founded by Rajesh Ramanand, was started out of winning the FedEx Institute of Technology Business Plan Competition in the Summer of 2007. Ramanand, a part-time Doctoral student in Computer Science at the University of Memphis currently researches Text Classification problems. Before TextBound, he worked at FedEx Innovation Labs, the R&D division of FedEx Corporation.
TextBound's REZZEE Service
The service is launching with a test of their marketing application in the real estate industry, details of which can be found on a site called REZZEE, where real estate agents can sign up and test the app in beta form.
How will it work? Fortunately, the service doesn't spam you with information, it's opt-in. Explains Ramanand: "You drive by a house for sale; you see a sign telling you to send a text message containing a certain keyword to a certain number; you instantly receive a text message with the house's price, number of bedrooms, exact address and the name of the listing agent. Clicking on a link in the text message will send you to a TextBound-hosted Web site with photos of the property, the appraised value of nearby houses, etc."
According to the site, agents using the service are reporting more prospective buyer leads, increased number of offers, more closings, and more listings...of course, that could just be marketing-speak...they are in the business. It's more likely that the service is simply too new to be able to analyze its results yet, but still, it's an interesting idea.
Real estate professionals who want to join REZZEE can sign up for this service for free from this page.
BandBound, which came online just now. Bands will be able to use this service to reach fans who have opted-in to receive alerts. They can text their fans with details of upcoming shows, ticket sales, or anything else they desire.REZZEE is but one of TextBound's offerings, though, it's just the first to launch. The next property to launch appears to be
Future TextBound services will include ArenaBound, which will market to attendees of sports events and FoodBound, which will be a text message ordering and commerce system, but no details are available for either of those just yet.
And so arrives mobile marketing. Since TextBound's services are opt-in, we are at least being spared text message spam ads (for now). It also doesn't appear that any of the services are location-based in the sense that ads are being targeted via GPS, but it's foreseeable with the ArenaBound and FoodBound programs it would make sense for them to use that methodology.
I'm sure that, in the near future, TextBound will be just one of many mobile marketing services. I just hope they are all opt-in!