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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Text-messaging company explores options

    Melissa Vrabel, a senior majoring in health education and Spanish, checks text messages between classes April 9.
    Melissa Vrabel, a senior majoring in health education and Spanish, checks text messages between classes April 9.

    A Tucson-based company has been exploring a new method for sharing information between groups and companies – text-messaging.

    Syzygic, LLC operates a Web site, intextmessage.com, on which users can join groups and receive text messages from members within that group, said John Hand IV, the company’s founder and co-president.

    “”Everybody can communicate with everyone, so I can log into the Web site, send a message out and then 20 people in that group would receive that same message,”” Hand said.

    Since the company started in fall 2006, about 170 people have signed up to receive text messages from a variety of groups.

    Some of the groups created include social groups interested in barhopping or hiking that can use the service to gather members for an event; business groups in which businesses can send coupons to those signed up with the group; and nonprofit and student organizations, Hand said.

    “”The applications are endless,”” he said.

    Test markets have been established in other areas of the country like Washington, D.C., and Colorado.

    Based on the market research conducted by Syzygic, there are no companies that offer the same services, Hand said.

    When new forms of marketing like text-messaging are introduced, outcomes vary.

    “”Any new approach will have those who are innovative and early adopters,”” Sidney Levy, professor of marketing for the Eller College of Management, wrote in an e-mail. “”It will take hold if enough people use it to make it profitable to someone; otherwise it will be just a temporary fad.””

    Although there is no fee associated with signing up to receive text messages from the Web site, regular text-messaging costs will apply.

    Some UA students said they were concerned about the text-messaging costs, while others thought it would be a nuisance.

    “”Since it costs me money, it’d probably annoy me,”” said Amy Wilson, a sophomore majoring in English who gets charged when text messages are sent to her phone from other phone networks.

    While subscribers might be wary of giving out their phone numbers, Syzygic has designed security measures to prevent unsolicited messages.

    “”You never see an unsolicited message,”” Hand said. “”You receive messages pertaining to the groups that you join.””

    Phone numbers of group members are also encrypted to prevent other group members from seeing the number. Users can also opt to have an e-mail sent to them instead of a text message, Hand said.

    “”We’ve implemented a lot of things to ensure that people’s privacy is protected, because otherwise this sort of thing just won’t work,”” Hand said.

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