Textingly, one of the inaugural startups that launched at the first TechCrunch Disrupt last May, raised some seed money and landed its first big customer, the New Jersey Nets. The company is raised $400,000 of a still-open $750,000 seed round.
Textingly is a text-message marketing campaign management tool for businesses. The New Jersey Nets will be using it to give away free tickets to fans who text in “NETSBUMP” to 88062 and say why they are excited to be a Nets fan. You accumulate points by being one of the ten most recent texts. The basketball team is also going to use Texting.ly to manage a Nets trivia game.
Textingly gives both businesses and consumers finer controls over these kinds of SMS marketing campaigns. It is all opt-in and consumers scan start, pause, or stop the messages at any time.
Personally, I think this kind of fan-based marketing would be more effective on Twitter, where fans can broadcast their loyalty to all of their friends, but not all Nets fans use Twitter. They all most certainly have cell phones.
Plus, these SMS campaigns will start to become more interesting once location becomes a factor. Textingly is working on a very interesting new feature which allows marketers to send text messages to people only within a certain geo-fence. That could be really great for local businesses to entice their most loyal customers to come more often: “Hey, you are in the neighborhood! Come in for a free coffee.”