Senior animation major Zach Goldstein always wanted to start his own business. Now Zach is joining forces with Ken Willes, associate professor at the School of Visual Art and Design, to fulfill his dream and create a new business that pays people to text.
Rocket Link Mobile has a free application for smart phones that places a short advertisement at the end of each text message. Every time a text message is sent, the user is paid two cents.
“We think that it is a really good product for people who want save money on their cell phone bills or make extra cash,” Willes said.
Those who show high interest in the product are young adults, many of whom send more than 1,000 texts a month, Zach said. The company is trying to make the advertisements simple, comprising of just words. This would keep recipients from feeling bombarded by advertisements.
“We’re aware that some people always hate ads,” Zach said, “but we’re going to do everything to make it as unobtrusive as possible.”
The idea for a text message advertising company came to Zach this summer. Zach began to experiment with the idea and saw potential for it to be a business. At first he kept the idea to himself and focused on developing a business plan. While developing it more, his excitement built, and he spread the word among friends.
“Getting to discuss my ideas with my peers has been very helpful,” Zach said. “What Southern helped me the most with was being surrounded by talented people from all different backgrounds and areas of focus.”
As the pieces for Rocket Link Mobile came together, Zach brought on Willes to be cofounder and to do technical building and development work. Once the website was launched, Zach and Willes received lots of positive feedback and excitement about their company.
Although theirs is not the first text message marketing company, Zach said none offer the same type of peer-to-peer ad distribution and targeting methods as Rocket Link Mobile.
“I think it has the potential to…become a big success,” Willes said. “There’s a lot of interest in what were doing. It’s just a matter of time before it gets where it needs to go."
At this point in development, Willes said they are currently doing internal testing, building their network of advertisers, and prepping the product for release. The beta will be available at the end of the year to a test group to smooth out the kinks, and the app will be officially released to the public in 2012.