AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

MLB players can exchange digital autographs, messages with fans using lettrs app.

By Logan Bradley
December 07, 2016

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For many years, the preferred form of communication over a long distance was the written word in the form of a letter. Then came the mobile era which shook up everything and sent people reaching for their smartphones. In an attempt to stay up-to-date on the current form of communication, lettrs has created an app that allows people to write the letters of their lives using a mobile device.

What started out as a communications company to make messages matter has turned into a company that allows you to connect with people around the world. “I always believed that words matter because people do,” lettrs CEO Drew Bartkiewicz said.

The app, which requires you to spend at least a minute on your message before you can publish or deliver it, is now bringing baseball FanMail, autograph collecting and FanStamp stickers into the digital age through a deal with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA).

“The national pastime sport of the U.S. is baseball,” Bartkiewicz said. “The national pastime in communication is letter writing, so we think bringing FanMail and letters to the mobile generation is a great relationship and we think the players will inspire young people to write the letters of their lives.”

Through the lettrs app, fans will have the opportunity to write personalized letters to MLB players that they admire. While the letter may start out as a private message, players can reward fans by asking permission to share the letter on their lettrs profile. Also making communication easier is the fact that lettrs can translate messages in 80 languages. Approximately half of the user population on lettrs reside outside the U.S. “We have a very international appeal because of the multi-language translation,” Bartkiewicz said. “The language barrier is gone and that means it opens up a market for the Latino baseball players.”

Not only is lettrs allowing fans to communicate with their favorite players, but also it gives them an opportunity to purchase a digital autograph from the player. This is done in the app through the use of patent-pending biometric authentication.

Bartkiewicz said that they really wanted to make an autograph something that could be bought on a smartphone. “It’s [the autograph] going to come back geolocated where the letter was written,” said Bartkiewicz. “When the fan goes to buy an autographed message, the fan can put in some personalization requests for the letter as well.”

Along with receiving the autograph, the user will also receive a seal of authenticity when the player matches his thumbprint on his device. The seal shows the serial number of the autograph, the location where the player signed it and the original price, among other things. “One day these digital autographed messages will become tradable and sellable by the collectors in the same way that they are in the physical sense,” Bartkiewicz said.

Bartkiewicz mentioned that he realizes the ultimate experience is meeting or seeing players in person, but there’s such a low chance of actually meeting them. Lettrs is designed to give everyone a chance to communicate with their favorite player.

The first block of players is set to be released onto the app shortly. “Our goal is to have all the players activated by spring training so that they have their FanMail set up,” said Bartkiewicz. “We have designed it in a way so a player can set up their profile and autograph settings in 90 seconds right on their phone.”

While each player reserves the right to set the price of their autograph, they can also use the autograph settings for charitable causes and have the proceeds go directly to their favorite cause.

The plan, according to Bartkiewicz, is to bring different sports onto the lettrs platform. He mentioned the company is expecting to announce another major league partnership at some point in the near future. Lettrs also plans on expanding past the sports realm and into the music industry so that musicians can participate in the FanMail experience and distribute their autographs.

We are the mobile generation and lettrs is hoping to make communication with prominent figures and the rest of the world more accessible, more affordable and more relevant to a society that communicates primarily via mobile technology.

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