We’re a week away from the SXSW conference in Austin, Texas and it’s becoming very clear what the big battleground will be this year: group messaging apps. Just like micro-messaging apps a few years ago, and location apps last year, a bunch of players are poised to battle for the conference crown. But the fight will be even crazier this year as apps from players big (Ask Around) and small (Ditto) will be in the mix. And one of the larger players is taking a unique approach to the war.
TextPlus honestly doesn’t need SXSW. With 7.7 million monthly active users, the very well-funded app by GOGII is already massive. For comparison’s sake, until their public launch today, Yobongo had 140 users. And the previous huge winner at SXSW, Foursquare, just hit 7 million users. TextPlus is going into this battle with quite a head start.
But they’re smart enough to know that no lead is safe. Rivals like GroupMe, FastSociety, and Beluga have gotten a lot of buzz and some traction recently. So much so that Facebook has already scooped up Beluga. But textPlus is going to use SXSW to build on their success by doing some good.
At the conference, the service is launching a new monthly campaigned called Groups4Good. The premise is simple: for every group created within textPlus, GOGII will donate $1 to charity. For SXSW, they’re capping this at 10,000 groups (meaning $10,000). But again, this will be a monthly thing. For each month after SXSW, they plan to give up to $1,000 to charity.
Plainly: if you use textPlus to group message other people, GOGII will give $1,000 to charity each month. (And $10,000 in March to kick things off.)
For the SXSW initial campaign, three charities will get this money: EnoughIsEnough, A Good Idea, and LIVESTRONG. And they’re not restricting it to users in Austin for the conference, that’s just the kick-off point — anyone can create groups in the app to add to the cause.
And beyond this month, textPlus is going to open up the charity picking process to the users. Within the Groups4Good Communities Channel in the textPlus app, users will be able to vote on which charities should receive the money each month.
It’s a nice gesture, and a solid way for textPlus to leverage their huge userbase at SXSW in a slightly different way. Sometimes war can be used for good too.