ZapTXT, a Valley-based startup which launched back in August 2005 just recently relaunched in version 2.0. ZapTXT enables you to monitor and track RSS feeds through e-mail, IM, and SMS. Optionally, you can supply it with specific keywords that it tracks on the RSS feed, so you only get what you care for. As we've seen in the last few months, this space is growing, others trying out a similar idea include Big In Japan's InstantFeed, PubSub, FeedRinse, Rasasa, and a few others.
ZapTXT works around the idea of having ZapTasks, which is simply a task that contains the specified feeds to track, the keywords to track in those feeds, and and a few other options. Since ZapTXT is a completely free service as of yet, so you can have as many ZapTasks as you want with an unlimited number of feeds in them.
ZapTXT gives you three methods of receiving RSS alerts: e-mail, SMS and IM. You can tick all of them if you want to, or just one. Alongside the methods, you can also select the frequency you'd like to get them in, which go from Hourly, Daily, 8AM – 10PM, 6PM – 11PM, and As They Appear. The time-slots are reasonable settings for things like stock changes, although I can't see why we can't add or make our own ones (for example if I wanted to receive every Web 2.0 piece of news that happens overnight in my e-mail) – would seem more useful.
In my experience of using this feature, I found ZapTXT to be quite relevant and precise - even more so, for example, the Technorati Tag and PubSub feeds I've got in my aggregator. Most of the items were the ones that I cared about, except for maybe a couple in every 20. I guess in the end practicality is all that matters, and ZapTXT delivers.
ZapTXT turns out to be one of the best players in this space, certainly as my experience has turned out. Admittedly this is the first time I'm writing about them, and if it wasn't for the thought they put into the relaunch I probably wouldn't have even heard about them. The opportunity for niche plays is plenty in this market, and surely ZapTXT turns out to be in this criteria.