- Mobile apps
- Browser-based admin panel
- For Democrats only
- Users don’t favor the iOS experience
Hustle is a peer-to-peer (P2P) texting platform built to target activists and voters over text message directly. Founded in 2014, the Hustle framework is one of the leading P2P texting platforms available in the activism space and outpaces several competitors with its admin controls, mobile apps, and intended use.
For Democrats only
Hustle prohibits Republicans and any group or individual that they don’t ideologically agree with from using the platform. Rather, the company has promoted its platform as a leading solution for the center-left, and with TechCrunch describing the firm as “Salesforce meets MadLibs” for progressive movements. In fact, Sen. Bernie Sanders used Hustle as a part of his outreach strategy in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary race. Due to the company’s focus on their ideologically-aligned clients, right-of-center organizations could go to the Koch-funded i360 ecosystem. i360 is a multi-functional advocacy platform that features a central dashboard, like Hustle, but goes as far to have a door-knocking app, phone-banking app, and P2P texting app.
More on Hustle’s targeted audience
We don’t discount Hustle’s high points as a platform nor do we have to underscore their rights as a private entity not to serve a specific class of consumer. But, as we did to Crowdpac when they initiated their temporary ban on Republicans and center-right campaigns, we have to rate Hustle low on the effectiveness and user interface scales. Until the firm begins accepting center-right users, the score will remain low.
The features of the platform and how it works
On the technical front, Hustle is very easy to use. The basic functionality of the platform focuses on SMS texting between activists and marketers to targeted voters or customers. On the central browser dashboard, admin users can create scripts and manipulate data while managing staffers and volunteers joining in on the “text-banking.” There are also mobile apps on Android and Apple devices that are free to download on to an activist’s phone. In the app, users can work through assigned contact lists and send out scripted texts and responses while having the option to create custom text on the fly during conversations. The app has also been successful for fundraising drives across several campaigns.
Problems with the iOS app
During our research, we tracked reviews on app marketplaces of the Hustle mobile app. On the Google Play Store, we saw that most users enjoyed their experience on the mobile app, giving it an aggregated four stars, while iOS users aren’t so kind. According to the Apple users, the “enhancement” update for the mobile app has caused several bugs. One issue in particular that we noticed on both app marketplaces was that the app continues to duplicate contacts and users receive delayed or unsolicited responses, among other topics. These issues could be directly attributable errors in the data and whether or not the system syncs actions quickly enough.
Other targeted audiences
Hustle offers solutions to organizations outside of politics, including a series of product solutions targeted at higher educational institutions, private companies, and nonprofit organizations.
According to the company’s website, customers must contact the sales department for pricing, meaning that plans are typically customized to the needs of a particular customer or organization.
What we think
Hustle is a phenomenal platform to use for center-left campaigns and organizations. Due to their targeted audience, we recommend that users should look for other P2P texting solutions. For our center-right readers, i360 offers an entire ecosystem of advocacy management tools. For those looking for a front-facing nonpartisan platform, we would recommend CallHub or Opn Sesame.
We also must state that we’ve contacted Hustle previously seeking to review the platform. However, that was some time ago and have yet to receive a response. Please note that all of the information in this review is based on publicly available information regarding the platform and customer feedback.
If you have any feedback on this review or you would like to suggest an app for us to review, please drop us a note – firstname.lastname@example.org.