June 13, 2013
Did anybody else use AOL Instant Messenger religiously? I remember all the cool features from the glory days: the sound of that door as it opened and closed, annoying jingles, designing the perfect profile, creative away messages, and horrific text color schemes that no human eye could ever hope to read.
The point I am making here is that instant messaging was one of the hottest trends of the 90s, but it did not stay in the 90s. When Facebook released their messaging client, IM was carried over into the modern day. So, why have no other social network platforms developed a solid messaging program?
Brandon Sowers, Brett Williams, and Trevor Clarke were all asking that exact question when they realized there was no effective way to instantly contact their 700,000+ followers on Tumblr. After three months of development, they had their answer: Babblr.
“We know that a lot of people only use Facebook for chat,” explains Sowers. “Why not apply that function elsewhere?”
Set up on a pay-what-you-want model, Babblr can be downloaded for free or purchased for a donation of your choice. After you download it, Babblr installs on top of your Tumblr dashboard, or as a standalone mobile app, and allows real-time, instant messaging to anybody who uses the client.
The number of users who are jumping onto Babblr is growing every day, and the team wants to ride the momentum to extend their reach beyond just Tumblr. The future looks like it will offer users across social networking platforms the ability to chat: users on Instagram can talk to users on Tumblr.
“I did not think chat would really help Tumblr much,” explains Sowers. “But we are actually seeing a lot of traffic exiting Facebook heading towards Tumblr because of our platform.”
While the marketing end of things was not too difficult because the team has plenty of Tumblr followers, the road to success was not always paved in digital gold for Sowers, Williams, and Clarke. During a challenging testing phase, a memory leak went unnoticed and Babblr had to shut down. The three-man team was frustrated over their lack of funding, and they had no clue how to fix Babblr and get it live again.
Before throwing in the towel, a CEO affiliated with Realtime.co provided some much-needed infrastructure. The new updates and funding made it so Babblr had the server strength to support 15 million users at once with no hiccups, crashes, or issues. The quick turnaround and recovery gave Babblr its first taste of real success. After the recent soft launch, the team recorded over 2.5 million messages sent over a four-day period.
So babble forth, young Babblrs, and chat about funny GIFs, amazing Photoshop jobs, and stunning blogs. Babble about them until your fingers fall off from typing, and then babble some more because team Babblr is only going to get more efficient and popular moving forward.
Babblr will be featured at Tech Cocktail’s San Diego Mixer & Startup Showcase on June 27th
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