Interview with Todd Berkowitz, Director of Marketing for NewsGator

January 10, 2007 at 12:04 pm 3 comments

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Below is an interview with Todd Berkowitz, Director of Marketing for NewsGator. We hope you find the interview informative and useful. Please visit their website and check it out! http://www.newsgator.com.

TechAddress: Tell me a bit about your company, what it does and what’s your value proposition?

NewsGator: We like to think of NewsGator as “The RSS Company,” and we have three primary offerings:

For consumers or individuals, we provide RSS aggregators or readers via the Web, Microsoft Outlook, desktop clients (Windows and Mac) and mobile devices among others. More than a million individuals use NewsGator Online (Web), NewsGator Inbox (Outlook), FeedDemon (Windows), NetNewsWire (Mac) and NewsGator Go! (Mobile) to access their news and information via RSS, with synchronization across all the platforms. These products help users improve productivity and stay better informed by bringing information directly to them from across the Web and blogosphere.

For businesses, we offer two centrally managed solutions: NewsGator Enterprise Server (server-based) and NewsGator Enterprise On-Demand (SaaS) to help easily deliver both internal and external RSS feeds to employee intranets, portals, e-mail clients and mobile devices, without a large learning curve for users. The solutions help reduce information overload, improve internal communications, drive greater portal usage, increase knowledge worker productivity and help organizations better leverage investments in Web 2.0 technologies.

Finally, for publishers, media companies and other companies with large Web presences, we provide a range of RSS, personalization and social media tools through the NewsGator Private Label Platform. The solutions help them build increase page views and loyalty within their existing brands.

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TechAddress: What makes your company stand apart from your competitors?

NewsGator: On a macro-level, we are the only RSS company to offer solutions to individuals, businesses and media/publishing companies alike. On a product level the differentiators include:

  • Individual/Consumer: Multiple interfaces/devices – all synchronized, a full-featured taxonomy, and an index of more than one million feeds
  • Enterprise: Largest share of deployments and seats (Approximately 80-90% of market), widest set of access points (only one to support SharePoint or offer desktop clients), access to external content (via NewsGator Online) and integration with key Microsoft technologies
  • Private Label: Only one to provide widgets and other tools beyond a branded RSS reader, deployments outside of newspaper market

TechAddress: What are some of the main features?

NewsGator: This is described above, but from the beginning, the philosophy has always been to provide a back-end platform to handle users, feeds and subscriptions and then provide a wide variety of points to access the content – from power users with 200+ feeds to people who need to get relevant content delivered to Outlook or a portal without having the faintest idea what RSS is. Some key features along that point include clippings (find an article from a feed, clip it to a folder, let others subscribe/or subscribe others to that feed), read-state and subscription synchronization between different access points, and ajax-based Web interfaces.

For particular products, there are other features. FeedDemon and NetNewsWire both have three-pane “newspaper” reading windows and are lightning fast. NewsGator Enterprise Server has integration with Microsoft Exchange, Active Directory and other LDAP stores. NewsGator Private Label Platform has widgets called “Buzz” that can be dropped into a site and provide content from the publisher or outside with only a few lines of code. We also provide a wide-range of security features across all of the offerings.

TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?

NewsGator: It depends on the product. Here are some examples:

  • Individual/Consumer products: These are targeted to individuals with more casual users going for the free NewsGator Online, power and business users targeted for Inbox and FeedDemon, Mac owners targeted for NetNewsWire and mobile device power users targeted for NewsGator Go!.
  • Enterprise products: NewsGator Enterprise Server is targeted to the Fortune 1000 and other large companies (5,000+ users) as well as organizations with 250 or more employees and a high concentration of knowledge workers such as pharmaceutical/chemical manufacturers, law firms, PR/marketing agencies, high tech companies, government and professional services firms. Targets include IT (Advanced Technology or Technology Architects), Corp Comm/Marketing and Librarians/Knowledge Management. NewsGator Enterprise On-Demand is more suited for smaller companies (less than 250 employees), divisions or functional groups of larger organizations without IT staffs supporting them. Targets include Corp Comm/Marketing, Librarians/Knowledge Management as well as business owners such as sales, research etc;
  • Private Label: Newspapers, magazines, media companies, online content providers, publishers and B2C companies with a significant Web presence and content.

TechAddress: Any new things in particular that you’re working on right now?

NewsGator: Of course. NewsGator Enterprise On-Demand will be coming out later in January. A significant update of NewsGator Enterprise Server will be available in the first half of the year. We’re also part of the “SuiteTwo” project announced by Intel (www.suitetwo.com) which will ship in the next few months. On the consumer side, new versions of Inbox, FeedDemon and NetNewsWire are in the works as well as an even snazzier interface for NewsGator Online. Private Label is also constantly coming out with great new features like the recently announced Hosted Conversations. Subscribe to our blog to keep up-to-date on all major NewsGator developments: http://blogs.newsgator.com/daily/.

TechAddress: Where do you see your company heading in the future?

NewsGator: Although RSS is one of the hottest Web 2.0 technologies around, it’s still only being knowingly used by a small percentage of the Internet population (less than 5% according to Forrester). As the technology matures and gains wider adoption, we plan to continually innovate and make it easier for people to access RSS and Web 2.0 content and maintain and even grow our leadership position.

TechAddress: Any negative feedback or criticism regarding technology and services?

NewsGator: Not really, but used the wrong way, RSS can become as bad as e-mail in terms of information overload. If people subscribe to too many feeds it can be problematic. This means that businesses should think about the knowledge management implications of RSS and use best practices when embarking on a corporate initiative.

TechAddress: So what would you say is the guiding principle behind your company?

NewsGator: Making it as easy as possible for as many people and companies to take full advantage of the power of RSS.

TechAddress: What is the mission of your company and what are you bringing to the market that is innovative?

NewsGator: The mission is really the same as the guiding principle. From a development standpoint we try to provide solutions and features that the market is asking for and also stay ahead of the curve and innovate in ways that people haven’t even thought was possible.

TechAddress: Where are you in terms of funding and your lifecycle?

NewsGator: NewsGator was founded in 2003 and accepted its first round of funding in June 2004. NewsGator closed its second, third and fourth round of financings in December 2004, April 2005 and June 2006 respectively. The company’s investors include Mobius Ventures and Masthead Venture Partners.

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Entry filed under: blog, blogger, blogging, blogs, blogsophere, business, business news, cell phones, communication, email, information resource, Interactive, internet, media, microsoft, mobile, mobile phones, News, online, online business, phone, RSS, rss feed, rss feeds, social, social media, tech, Technology, web, web 2.0, Web 2.0 technologies, weblog, wiki.

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