Tatango, the ad-supported group SMS service previously known as networkText, spent the last few months in a private beta following a functional and visual overhaul and a round of funding by Bellingham Angel Organization. Now everyone is free to get in on the group texting good times; they’ve opened the doors to the public.
The service is dead simple to use, as it should be. I made the jump from accountless bum to en masse messaging mogul in all of about 2 minutes. Sign up, invite some friends (they have to opt-in, else this thing would be a spam machine), and you (or anybody you dub as a group admin) are able to SMS the entire group at once, either from the browser or right off your mobile handset.
The basic service is free, supported by 30 character advertisements strapped to the bottom of each message (Don’t worry – Tatango keeps a close tab on who they let advertise, so any messages you send to your Sunday Choir group won’t end with “Reply HAWT for girl-on-girl action”.) Ad-free messaging is available along with a few other pay-per-option premium features but, at just under $35 bucks a month, such novelties may be a bit out of range for the hockey mom just tryin’ to keep the weekly carpool organized. For Joe McAdvert using it as an alternative to mailing lists for peddling his product to thousands of fans, however, it’s probably worth it.
I didn’t think I’d have much of a use for Tatango when I first got wind of it. After playing with it for a bit, I’m thinking of using it as means of keeping the rest of the CrunchGear team updated of news breaking on the trade show floor without having to break out the laptop. Would I pay for that convenience? Probably not. But if all it costs me is around 30 characters at the tail end of a message, I don’t mind dropping a vowel or two to get the message out quick.
Check it out at Tatango.com