GroupMe, one of the myriad of new group messaging apps that has come on the scene in recent months, is introducing a new feature today that hints at how this startup at least, may plan to make money: Featured Groups.
These groups will give brands an opportunity to create groups and engage in conversations with fans around their particular brand. By clicking on the new Featured Groups tab, users will be able to create and join in the conversations about various television shows, bands, and music events.
The new feature is launching with five brands on board, including Oxygen's Bad Girls Club, MTV's America's Best Dance Crew, Bon Jovi, and the Bonnaroo and Coachella music festivals.
Once users join these groups, they'll be open to messages from these brands - news, marketing information, exclusive content, contests, and reminders that the show is on.
GroupMe says that it was already seeing these sorts of interactions in the app, with people organizing to discuss brands and shows in this way. And the new feature follows a successful SXSW, where those who created groups got access to special information about events in Austin.
That makes sense, particularly for events - media and music ones - as people are likely already creating groups to discuss these things, and GroupMe's new feature could mean better information and better deals. This trick, of course, will be that these branded groups not inundate users with unwanted messages.
The new Featured Groups do suggest that GroupMe might have found a business model. But is this a feature that will appeal to users and help distinguish the startup from the sea of other group-messaging startups?