In the UK, Hottxt is making some headlines for two reasons. They were among the first (if not the first) to use SMS over GPRS (thereby making SMS messages cheaper).
Secondly, it’s co-founder/chairman is Doug Richard (of the BBC2 Dragon’s den fame)
However, my interest in Hottxt comes from another – not so well known – facet of their service
Hottxt uses the same tag to message people from the Web as it does from the phone.
So, I am glad to see the hottxt service ‘abstract’ the number because the possibilities of doing so are interesting
And as I write this, there is an announcement from Hottxt that the service will be completely free.
The combined effect of free SMS, a well funded company with experienced management, number abstraction and other community services like group texting could make this an interesting service
When I met Doug and David as introduced by their PR company (Lucy Watson of Ballard Associates), I found their approach very measured i.e. Create the service, understand the user base first, introduce new features slowly and grow from there.
Hottxt is certainly doing the right things in providing the tools – but the ‘crossing the chasm’ will come if it can master ‘community’ i.e. will users use these tools to create a viral effect/community?
If they do, this could be very big
Definitely one to watch!