Last month when I was speaking at a GetListed.org Local University workshop in New York state, my jaw about hit the ground when Google’s representative introduced Talkbin in her presentation to the 100 or so small business owners in the room. It was the first time that I’d seen or heard Google promoting the mobile messaging service that it bought back in April.
The company is promoting it again now, primarily with a temporary 80% price cut that chops the monthly fee from $25 per month per location, down to just $5 per month per location. The discount applies to all new signups by the end of the year.
Not familiar with Talkbin? You’re probably not alone. And the discount is one way Google is hoping to get the attention of more small business owners. Talkbin is a service that lets customers send text messages directly to business owners — it could be feedback, requests, questions, or just about anything. All communication is anonymous; Talkbin doesn’t send any personal information back and forth between the customer and business owner.
Google positions Talkbin as a replacement for “clumsy comment cards and surveys.” Business owners get a custom Talkbin text messaging number that they can promote in their store, restaurant, etc., along with signage to promote the service to customers. In fact, today’s announcement includes news of a DIY sign builder inside the Talkbin merchant dashboard.
When Google bought Talkbin in April, there was some speculation that it was just for the Talkbin team, not the tool. These recent promotional steps suggest otherwise; Google is at least trying to see if the service has legs.
Postscript, December 13: As Mike Blumenthal reports, Google is offering Talkbin at an even steeper discount: just $1 per month per location. Use the coupon code BETASELECT for that price.