In the war for third-party mobile messaging clients, textPlus is making a strong case for why it’s the market leader.
Gogii, the maker of textPlus, shared with PandoDaily that its users spent an average of 8.5 hours per month on the app in April. That’s 21 percent more time than Facebook’s users spend on both its apps and the mobile Web combined, according to comScore.
The power of any network of this type, beyond a simple feature war, is reach. TextPlus has grown to over 30 million registered users and now sends more than three billion messages each month. Even at 160 characters, that’s one helluva talkative bunch.
The app offers users free, unlimited text messaging. It also offers group messaging, photo messaging, voice notes, a la voxer, and communities. The company is able to continue offering this free service, because it serves two billion ad impressions per month.
Alongside the messaging app, Gogii has released TextPlus Free Calls, allowing users to call other textPlus users for free and make calls to cellphones and landlines via WiFi or mobile data connection. Users can either buy minutes or earn them by completing tasks, such as viewing advertising.
The free calls app is currently localized in Canada (meaning users can get a local number), and the company has plans for further international expansion, starting with Germany and the UK. While Free Calls is currently a standalone app, it actually represents the new foundation onto which all services will soon be merged as a single app.
This is not a market without competition. Each individual feature and the package as a whole have multiple competitors. At the high end, Skype, Google’s Talk and Voice apps, and Apple’s iMessenger and Facetime require mention (only Apple is platform-restricted). Additionally, there are Facebook Messenger, Voxie, and a multitude of instant messenger clients.
Gogii is one of the oldest and most established companies competing in this space. It was co-founded by Scott Lahman, Zack Norman, and Austin Murray,who previously co-founded JAMDAT Mobile which had a successful IPO in 2004 and sold to Electronic Arts for $680 million in 2006. Gogii has raised a total of $28 million through its February 2011 Series C from investors including Matrix Partners, Kleiner Perkins, and GRP Partners.
Recent reports of declines in traditional text messaging have validated the market and demonstrated the impact of solutions like textPlus and its competitors. Speaking to the issue, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson went on the record last week saying, “If you’re using iMessage, you’re not using one of our messaging services, right? That’s disruptive to our messaging revenue stream.”