GOGII’s well-funded, free text messaging app, textPlus, announced today that it has crossed the 10 billion text messages sent mark since it launched in the app store in June of 2009. They’re pumping out texts like McDonald’s pumps out burger patties. Of course, when it comes to group and micro-messaging apps, textPlus has some competition. Think SXSW and you probably think group messaging. Ask Around, Ditto, Yobongo, Beluga, GroupMe, FastSociety, etc. have all been making noise, getting acquired by Facebook, or raking in funding. The list goes on.
But today textPlus makes it clear who the leader of the pack is and will be for at least the near future. On top of 10 billion total messages sent, in May alone, textPlus sent 1.3 billion texts. The app has been downloaded more than 17.5 million times and, while the startup hasn’t finalized the statistics yet, GOGII Founder & CEO Scott Lahman said that the startup has now passed the 8 million monthly active users mark.
In March, ahead of SXSW, textPlus launched a group messaging charity campaign that donated $1 for each new group created to charities like Livestrong and EnoughisEnough. This followed a long scaling process that started two years ago with free texting and group texting, then added communities, or supergroups as Lahman calls them. textPlus then moved from doing traffic over shortcode to giving out free phone numbers, before adding the ability for avid texters to not only get their own number but create a social profile and search all other users by name or keyword.
Today, textPlus has built its own social network of texters and instant messagers, and not surprisingly, its core demographic is teenagers, who are, on average, text messaging machines. And since adding search functionality in December, textPlus has seen 27 million searches, mostly among younger users, who have embraced texting as the new voice — and instant messager.
When asked what the next step is for textPlus that will allow it continue to stay ahead of the rapidly scaling field, Lahman referenced Comscore’s latest mobile data, which showed that 70 percent of mobile usage centers around texting, while gaming has grown to 25 percent. When GOGII left the mobile gaming space in 2007, that number was closer to 10 percent. Lahman said that the communities of texters and the textPlus platform itself are already social in nature and are well positioned for gaming integration. For teens, mobile chat is already an engaging and social game for mobile, and really there’s little separation for young people between texting and gaming, so Lahman said that it’s a matter of finding the best way to build gameplay out of social chat.
With competition on its heels, Lahman is wary of sharing too much of GOGII’s future roadmap, but there’s no doubt textPlus will be playing with game-ified texting over the next year. There was also mention of a “Twitter and textPlus lovechild”, which could add a bit of microblogging to the textPlus platform. Nothing for sure yet, but it will be interesting to see what textPlus has up its sleeve.
textPlus already enables users free and unlimited one-to-one, group and community texting, so that users can group text with friends and talk to people all over the world about what interests them via chat communities. And the announcement of 10 billion messages sent includes the addition of textPlus Free Text, Group Text, and GOLD to Amazon’s app store for Android. textPlus is also available on Apple’s app store and the Android Marketplace.