Being kept “in the loop” usually means you want to receive information but not necessarily exchange it. A company called Loopnote allows people to stay in the loop on any given topic by subscribing to one-way information updates.
Loopnote launched in public beta today. It is a service that allows users to join groups and receive regular information updates from the moderator of that group. Founder Alan Seideman gave me a demo last week and explained way too many scenarios in which this would be useful.
Say you are a member of a volleyball league and you want to be privy to real-time game updates. You can subscribe to the league’s loop and decide if you want updates via RSS, SMS, email, IM, or all four. So if a game is rained out, the moderator can send a cancellation message to the entire group.
Only the moderator of a loop can send alerts and thankfully the members of the group cannot reply to all.
“We may allow the reply-to-all feature in the future if the loop owner chooses to allow that but then you run into some issues with spam,” Seideman said. “The group SMS services are for small groups of friends. But with Loopnote, I don’t really need to have a dialogue with all 250 people in my volleyball league.”
Seideman actually does moderate a volleyball loop, which is why that was his favorite example. But I can also see this being useful for several scenarios, and not just activity organization. What if a notable professor whose work I want to follow sets up a Loopnote? I can see myself activating an RSS feed to read journal articles or other information he/she posts.
“You find something that you’re an expert in and get people in the loop,” Seideman said.
I really like that you can choose how you want to be notified. It seems pretty unobtrusive. The reply-to-all feature of the group text services such as Zemble and Yahoo’s new Mixd is something I want zero to do with personally.
Loopnote is a free service, but regular text fees apply of course. Currently, you can give the site your email address and they will invite you to the beta. The three founders have a few possible profit models in mind that they hope to follow but they are not married to a single one yet until they observe just how the product is used by those who sign up for the beta. Possible profit generators include contextual advertising or commercial sponsorship of loops.