Zemble publicly launches Tuesday morning, after a week of letting the founders’ family and friends test it out.
Zemble is a social networking site that allows users to text message en masse from the browser. Competitors in this space include Dodgeball and Twitter. TechCrunch has been following multi-person SMS for a long time but Zemble believes they have something new. Users create groups of friends, or Zembles, and can then text a message to the entire group at once. Not only can users send texts to several people simultaneously, recipients can opt to reply to all. While this may be a new text messaging feature, I’m not convinced that it’s preferable.
First of all, recipients cannot see who else was on the distribution list so it is difficult to know who you are replying to if you reply to all. Ludlow said that users can familiarize themselves with group members so that they know who they are writing when they reply to a group. I think that might just be too much to keep straight.
Even if I do know all of the recipients of my book club email list, (which I do), do I really want a text message from each of them to know who is bringing what dish to the next meeting? Not everyone has unlimited text messaging as part of their mobile phone plan so is it really wise to facilitate text spam?
To Zemble’s credit, they do allow users to turn off text notifications within certain groups. The site is designed like MySpace where users can personalize their pages and link to friends. As of Monday night, they had approximately 300 users.
Zemble was founded in Los Angeles in March.
“Our funding has come so far from a friends and family round,” Ludlow said. “We’ve managed to raise approximately $90,000, which has been good enough to get our product to this point. We’re open to looking for venture capital now.”