hottxt: A potentially viral messaging service ..


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.

This seemingly simple feature has the rudimentary beginnings of the I am not a number, I am a tag idea which we have advocated in Mobile Web 2.0

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!


  1. Rhion says:

    You would have thought they would be bigger by now, but I think the real drawback is that the mobile networks don’t want to become IP pipes just yet, and are therefore not reducing the prices on GPRS. Otherwise services such as – offering the sending of very cheap international SMS – offering picture messaging over the phone’s Internet and Hotxt would be no-brainers.
    Vodafone is sort of promoting broaband on mobile phones, but the issue here is that GPRS does not sound half as sexy as broadband and people simply don’t have a clue yet how it works.
    As measured as they might have been when you met them, they should have looked out for the hungry market. Doug Richards is no Richard Branson who is a one man band marketing machine.
    Great management team hmmm, who is really interested if they can successfully resell their company at some point expensively. Think Facebook, there are tons of social networks out there and that boy who is the MD screwed his former colleagues and just made Facebook huge before they could, it is simply luck and some marketing nothing else, it certainly is not the self controlled management team.

  2. Ajit Jaokar says:

    I agree Rhion! hottxt definately has not done much since launch and perhaps my initial optimism has been misplaced .. kind rgds Ajit