Spongecell brings viral communications to events

For a few months, I’ve been looking into an interesting Left Coast startup called Spongecell which helps companies promote events virally. (The only problem with this company’s presentation is that it’s easy to call it “SpongeBob” instead, especially you have two small children (grin), but apparently the founders find that amusing.)

Well, now I’ve meddled with the Spongecell tools for a while. I’ve also brought them to the attention of my husband, a Web designer who manages a site for a folk artist that does lots of gigs. And my conclusion is that if Spongecell can make them a bit simpler to use, they’ve got a huge hit on their hands. While it’s not as easy as it should be to wire up multiple events–such as the dozen-odd shows being performed this quarter by our folkie friends–the result is worth the trouble.

Here’s how it works. Users who want to promote an event enter event details into Spongecell’s hosted application, creating a customized event page. Users who visit the event page can then easily move the event from the page onto their personal calendars, their iGoogle interface or Outlook.

They can also share notifications via e-mail or into a social network setting like Facebook or Digg, or promote their events through a Java or Flash widget.

Spongecell also allows users to send up to 1,000 free e-mails (using its templates if they wish) to promote their event. The e-mails offer the same capabilities as the customized. They can also send out SMS messages.

Then, there’s tracking. If the user wants to know how users are interacting with their event content, they can check on forwards, acceptances and the like using Spongecell’s reporting technology.

At present, Spongecell doesn’t charge send users for the majority of these functions, though they do impose a fee if users want to send out more than 1,000 messages.

Now, to be honest, my husband found the Spongecell a bit too intimidating to implement–though he later found out that he could have imported those dozen-odd events into Spongecell fairly simply from a spreadsheet (.csv) or calendar file (.ics).

Even so, I see tremendous potential in this approach. While sites like Facebook do a lot to tap the viral potential of their messaging and sharing capabilities, Spongecell takes things a step further by offering viral functions that cut across networks and systems. I’m eager to see where they take this.–Anne

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3 responses to “Spongecell brings viral communications to events

  1. Holy smokes, this is SNI on steriods! My pitifully limited exposure so far has been limited to Evite, which now looks positively paleologic in comparison. Had I not read your blog, I might have powered down in a panic, fearing “spongecell” and “viral messaging” portended certain demise of my silicon life force. The names feel threatening, but a better understanding of their powerhouse nature overrides my apprehension. Perhaps it’s a deliberate marketing attempt to grab the fickle attention of the marketplace that craves more muscle ( I admit that MyPunchBowl sounds quaint and completely dated by comparison). Thanks for the skinny on these guys. I’m jazzed to finally be ahead of my crowd on this one.

  2. RES:

    Glad you found the profile of Spongecell to be useful! It’s amazing how the cutting edge of any tech sector keeps moving, isn’t it? (And those guys are sharp enough to keep moving the puck forward, too.)

    What kills me is that I haven’t had time/opportunity to do a really full-scale test of their technology for a major even, as my professional work focuses on other areas. If you (or other readers) get to do so I’d love to hear how it went.

    -Anne

  3. Pingback: Bookmarks about Viral

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