Posts filed under ‘online’

Can Google score with in-game ads?

As Google expands its lucrative ad network to new markets, industry watchers increasingly believe the search giant will buy its way into the nascent market for advertising inside video games.

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Google has reportedly looked at acquiring AdScape Media, a small company, founded in Ontario and now based in San Francisco, that specializes in so-called in-game ads. Google did not return calls seeking comment, and an AdScape spokeswoman declined to comment on the talks.

Though an industry insider who asked to remain anonymous said negotiations had stalled, such an acquisition would allow Google to take on old foe Microsoft, which last year acquired a similar but larger company called Massive. In-game ads, however, are one place where Microsoft would have a rare advertising advantage over Google thanks to thriving sales of its Xbox 360 gaming console and a long list of gaming titles.

“Google would be playing catch-up against some significant entrenched providers,” said Michael Goodman, a program manager at research firm Yankee Group Research. “The biggest challenge for them is they might see themselves closed out of the Xbox as a platform to serve ads to.”

In-game ads may sound like a niche, but it’s a growing one that reaches a choice demographic for advertisers. A recent Nielsen Entertainment study found that men aged 18 to 34 are spending more time playing video games (12.5 hours on average per week) and less time watching television (9.8 hours per week). About 6 million U.S. households have at least one “power gamer,” someone who spends as much as 20 hours per week and $50 per month on games, and there are more than 15 million active players of casual games, which are free ad-supported games such as Tetris or cards, said Michael Cai, director of broadband and gaming for Parks Associates.

“It’s not a pimply faced teenage kid playing video games in the basement anymore. It’s people with a lot of disposable income,” said Jeff Berg, content editor at the Interpublic Emerging Media Lab think tank. “It’s a natural space for Google to move into if they can do it effectively.”

The dollar value of this market isn’t nearly as small as many people would think. Parks Associates predicts that game advertising revenue will grow from $120 million in 2006 to $200 million this year and $300 million in 2008. Yankee Group forecasts in-game ad revenue to reach $732 million by 2010. Buying AdScape wouldn’t get Google a lot of new customers, but it would get the company technology, Goodman said. “Google already has significant relationships with advertisers, but they would have to build up relationships with game publishers,” he said.

“Google is the king of search ads, but they aren’t that dominant in brand advertising.”

–Michael Cai, director, Parks Associates

Over the last 18 months, the search giant has been rapidly moving into new ad markets such as print and radio, using its automated online ad-delivery system to provide a way for advertisers to reach new customers via offline mediums. Google purchased radio advertising provider dMarc Broadcasting for just over $100 million a year ago and has been conducting radio ad delivery tests.

While it’s hard to imagine virtual world games like World of Warcraft being a great advertising vehicle for Coke or Pepsi, plenty of games could be ideal, such as sporting titles.

“For example, we take Nike’s (ads) they’ve used for print or television and implement that straight into the games across our sports titles,” said Justin Townsend, chief executive of in-game advertising firm IGA Worldwide. The ad is delivered over the Internet and can be changed depending on which advertiser has purchased the ad rights, he said. The ads are targeted geographically, so players in Germany, for example, will see a German version of the ad. Because Google’s greatest success has been in contextually targeted ads rather than display ads, it might be better suited serving ads that appear alongside casual games, which are sold over the Web, Cai said.

“The question is whether Google is interested in getting into a new media form–gaming, and whether they are looking beyond search and trying to address a new ad business–display advertising,” he said. “Google is the king of search ads, but they aren’t that dominant in brand advertising.” But is the gaming industry ready for Google’s automated kind of advertising?

“It’s not clear,” said Jonathan Epstein, chief executive of Double Fusion, a competitor to AdScape, IGA and Massive. “It doesn’t mean it can’t get there, but when you look at how markets evolve it’s always the specialists that drive innovation and focus in the market.” Eva Woo, vice president of marketing at AdScape, said her company has a technology that allows advertisers to interact with consumers without interrupting the game, something that could appeal to Google. If a gamer opts in, AdScape’s Real World Virtual World Gateway will deliver messages via SMS or e-mail from the advertiser, Woo said.

When the game detects that a player has reached a certain level in the game or that a player is having problems getting beyond an obstacle in the game, for example, the advertiser could offer hints, rewards or coupons. “We’ve been developing this (advertising) technology for five years,” she said. “We have one patent issued and 15 patents pending.”

A risk for Google, of course, is getting shut out of Microsoft’s growing Xbox market, and the question remains whether gamers will rebel against publishers who allow advertisers into their gaming worlds.

“Male gamers playing core games don’t mind ads if they help make the gaming experience more realistic rather than disrupting their gaming activity,” Cai said.

Copyright ©1995-2007 CNET Networks, Inc. All rights reserved.By Elinor Mills Staff Writer, CNET News.com

February 10, 2007 at 2:30 am 11 comments

Jane Fonda meets the Web

By Paul Sloan, Business 2.0 Magazine editor-at-large

Homemade instructional videos like SalsaBootCamp are booming online – and almost anyone can cash in.

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When Evan Margolin launched SalsaBootCamp to sell instructional video clips online, everyone he knew told him it was a crazy idea. Why would people offer up their credit cards to him – a dance teacher known only to his students in San Francisco – when they could watch thousands of dance videos for free on sites like YouTube?

Yet aspiring salsa dancers have signed up in droves, even as Margolin has raised the monthly subscription price from $9 to $37. Four months after its launch, SalsaBootCamp.com is making $20,000 a month.

“If I wasn’t watching the money roll in,” Margolin says, “I wouldn’t believe it myself.”

Big media companies have largely stopped selling subscriptions for their online content, opting instead to build traffic and cram their sites with ads. Yet the subscription model has become a shrewd way for smaller players to make money, especially among the super-niche sites of the Net. There are subscription sites for everything from online soccer lessons for kids to becoming a personal fitness trainer.

Making a go at this, in fact, takes zero technical knowledge and not much up-front money. The key requirement is having a subject about which you can offer some know-how, so you can create a service that people will willingly pay for month after month.

Margolin, 36, found his niche a decade ago, when his big brother dragged him to a salsa club. He eventually became a dance teacher, although his main income has come from various Internet marketing jobs. Margolin says he had toyed with the idea of creating a subscription dance site off and on since 2001 but never did it because the technology wasn’t good enough: The video was cumbersome and slow.

Then last summer one of his students began recording the dance class on a camera phone, burning it to a CD, and asking him to post it on a website. “I thought, ‘Damn, maybe the time is right,'” Margolin says.

So he got started. A number of online software tools now exist to run a subscription business, and Margolin chose one called Membergate. It costs a few thousand dollars, but it handles everything: video support, hosting, payment methods, and so on. He then paid a student $11 an hour to videotape his dance moves. The quality is raw; no fancy film-editing software needed here.

Next, Margolin spent $1,000 or so to give the site some useful Web cred, which he says people too often mistakenly scrimp on.

He posted the Better Business Bureau’s online seal, allowing users to file complaints, and the TRUSTe seal, which verifies that an e-commerce site is secure. He also added testimonials from students. Some are written comments; others are video clips – cheesy-looking interviews attesting to Margolin’s skills. “Hokey works if it’s real,” the instructor says.(If you’re starting from scratch, Margolin suggests, offer your product for free at first and ask people who like it to post comments.)

After a few weeks, the site was ready to go. Margolin drove traffic by buying paid search ads on Google (Charts) and Yahoo (Charts) and by spreading the word in online dance communities. “If you’re really passionate about the topic,” he says, “you’ll know most of the resources to turn to.”

He currently has 1,000 members and is adding a few every day. The trick now is to keep it up: keep marketing, keep adding content. It’s not a do-nothing path to riches. But if you can land even a few hundred subscribers, you can make some sweet, and profitable, moves.

February 9, 2007 at 2:07 pm 6 comments

Interview with Bryan Kennedy, co-founder of Likebetter

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Below is an interview with Bryan Kennedy, co-founder of Likebetter. We hope you find the interview informative and useful. Please visit their website and check it out! http://likebetter.com/.

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

Likebetter: I don’t know about you, but I take a ton of digital photos. I literally have ten thousand photos on my hard drive, just sitting there in folders. No one besides me has ever seen them, and really, I only saw them when I took the picture in the first place. This shouldn’t be.

We want to help you dust off those monster collections of photos, by acting as a “goodness filter” that only the best photos can pass through. You upload your collection to likebetter, send a link to your friends, and within minutes you have a list of your best photos – which you can then do cool stuff with, like exporting them to flickr, printing them, or posting them on your blog.

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

Likebetter: There are a ton of companies in the photo space. No one that we know of has tackled this particular problem in the way we have.

A lot of companies have adopted our lovely interface though. Which we take as a compliment, and then we make catnip voodoo dolls of their creators, and introduce them to Felix.

Likebetter.com stands out from other photo-centered sites like Flickr because it’s all about helping you find your best photos. Since finding your best photos is hard, and Flickr isn’t helping much, we’re fixing it ourselves.

TechAddress: What are some of the main features?

Likebetter:

* It’s much easier to upload tons of photos at once here than there.

* Social editing features – your friends sort and rotate your images for you.

* Photo viewing and voting are the same – whenever someone views your photos, they’re giving you feedback. Everyone participates in some small way.

* Exporting to other photo sites (soon): no one we know does/allows this. Most photo sharing sites don’t allow sharing in this way, which sort of defeats the purpose. You own your photos, so we’re going to help you do what you want with them.

* Our interface is super-simple and really, really pretty.

TechAddress: Who’s your target customer or audience?

Likebetter: Anyone with a digital camera, really. Since that list now includes my mom, it must be really, really big.

Our power users are photographers, graphic designers, web designers; anyone who works with visual information, and needs to evaluate it in some way. There’s nothing stopping you from finding your best logo designs, web site layouts, or whatever you want. We’ve kept likebetter general on purpose.

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

Likebetter: Lots of stuff. Right now we’re fleshing out the flickr/smugmug/etc integration. That’s coming soon.

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

Likebetter: Likebetter should be the place you put your pictures as soon as you plug in your camera.

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

Likebetter: No, none really (hurray!). Some people complain about a lack of so-and-so a feature, but we just add it and they’re happy.

Scaling was a hard problem to lick, and will likely continue to prove difficult in the future. It’s just one of those things you need to deal with.

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

Likebetter: Make something that people want.

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

Likebetter: Wait, is this a trick question? Are you trying to get me to change my story? Likebetter is going to revolutionize the telecommunications industry, of course.

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

Likebetter: We were funded by ycombinator.

TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date? If you have already launched, when was your launch date?

Likebetter: October 2006. Digg was very helpful.

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February 7, 2007 at 3:22 pm 1 comment

Pop Culture Site Partners with Social Radio Network to Market Recording Artists and Drive Music Sales

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Listen Up! PopMatters and Mercora Announce Exclusive Label
Promotion Program

Pop Culture Site Partners with Social Radio Network to Market Recording Artists and Drive Music Sales

Chicago, IL and Santa Clara, CA – February 5, 2007 – PopMatters, the leading independent cultural criticism magazine on the Web, and Mercora, Inc., the world’s largest social radio network, today announced the launch of Listen Up!, an exclusive program for music labels to increase promotion and publicity for their artists at www.popmatters.com and www.mercora.com.

Music labels participating in the launch include Kill Rock Stars, Ninja Tune, Thrill Jockey, Vanguard, Warp, World’s Fair, Sugar Hill, Definitive Jux, Yep Roc, and Record Collection. PopMatters and Mercora are partnering to bring independent music label artists to a global audience.

Under terms of the partnership, PopMatters and Mercora will showcase artists and music labels will receive premier streaming media placements within PopMatters editorial content, in the PopMatters media center, and in Mercora’s music channels that reach over one million users worldwide. Music labels invited to participate will also receive revenue through SoundExchange®.

“We are pleased to join this exclusive program with PopMatters and Mercora,” said Jeff Waye, label manager for Ninja Tune. “By participating in Listen Up!, we can introduce our artists to new music fans and drive revenue growth in online and offline music stores worldwide.” In fact, Mercora partners have demonstrated increases in online music store sales by as much as 30 percent or more.

Music labels participating in the launch feature recording artists such as Aesop Rock, Allison Moorer, Amon Tobin, Blues Traveler, Califone, Coldcut, Deerhoof, Dolly Parton, Edwin McCain, EL-P, Grizzly Bear, Harvey Danger, Herbalizer, Hot Hot Heat, J Dilla, Joan Osborne, Kristin Hersh, Linda Ronstadt, Macromantics, Marah, Midlake, Mindy Smith, Mr. Lif, Mouse on Mars, Murs, Nick Lowe, Nickel Creek, Paul Weller, Roots Manuva, Sloan, Squarepusher, The Apples in Stereo, The Reverend Horton Heat, The Robert Cray Band, The Walkmen, Tortoise, and many more.

“We are delighted to partner with Mercora to drive greater awareness, promotion, and sales for music labels and recording artists,” said Sarah Zupko, editor and publisher, PopMatters. “Through integration with editorial content, PopMatters readers can enjoy a rich user experience with the ability to read reviews and listen to music simultaneously.”

In its more than seven-year history of publishing smart and edgy cultural criticism, PopMatters has become one of the Web’s most prestigious cultural sources and foremost cultural tastemakers, especially within the 18-34 demographic. PopMatters has more than 1.2 million unique monthly readers and more than 15 million monthly pageviews and these figures are increasing each and every month.

Since its inception in 2003, Mercora has been a positive force in the online music space. The social radio network enables new music discovery and drives purchase behavior by providing online users with the ability to search, find, and listen to music from the world’s largest legal catalogue. Music on the Mercora network is 100 percent programmed by users who gain instant access to over 100,000 music channels streamed in CD-quality, over three million unique tracks, and 200,000 individual artists across all music genres. Music fans can discover new music for free and purchase downloads, ringtones, CDs, and tickets from Mercora’s advertising and commerce partners.

About Mercora, Inc.

Mercora’s mission is to create the world’s largest social radio and music network by cataloging and organizing the world’s music and audio content and make it universally searchable and legally listenable for everyone. Mercora (www.mercora.com) is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA.

About PopMatters

Founded in 1999, PopMatters, the #1 independent cultural criticism magazine on the web, is international in scope and dedicated to documenting our times and promoting cultural understanding. PopMatters cultivates smart writers from the world-at-large, recognizing that creative, compassionate intellectuals reside in all levels of society, in all types of societies, and it values their ability to provide intelligent, entertaining cultural criticism in the form of thoughtful essays, interviews, and reviews. PopMatters is content is syndicated both nationally and internationally by McClatchy-Tribune. View PopMatters at www.popmatters.com.

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February 5, 2007 at 3:44 pm Leave a comment

Interview with with KeepYouSafe

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Below is an interview with KeepYouSafe. We hope you find the interview informative and useful. Please visit their website and check it out! http://keepyousafe.com/

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

KeepYouSafe: KeepYouSafe.Com offers digital safe deposit boxes that people use to safely store vital personal information such as insurance policies, financial and medical records and the like. An Online Safe Deposit BoxSM is completely secure, totally private and accessible from anywhere at any time. All you need is an internet connection and a web browser.

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

KeepYouSafe: Our competition requires consumers to download special client software to manage data backup. In addition, our competitors focus on offering consumers a way to back up their photos, music files, and other data stored on their computers.

At KeepYouSafe.Com, we designed a browser-based service to give consumers a safe and secure Online Safe Deposit Box to store their most important documents in case of disaster, fire, or theft – insurance policies and inventories, financial account information, wills, etc.

Initially, KeepYouSafe.com’s small Online Safe Deposit Box is free. Members may upgrade at any time to a larger box for only $36 per year.

TechAddress: What are some of the main features?

KeepYouSafe: There are three features that stand out about KeepYouSafe.com:

1) Simplicity. Check out our user interface. If you are a true geek, encrypting your most important data, duplicating it or emailing it around the world seems simple enough, but for the other 99 percent of the real world it’s not so straightforward.

We provide every one of our customers with safety, security, and a user-friendly experience. We are a browser-based service. Wherever you are in the world, your life’s most vital records are protected by your personal username and password at KeepYouSafe.Com.

2) Security. Everything our members store in their Online Safe Deposit Box is encrypted using 256-bit AES encryption. In our case, “military grade encryption” is not marketing hype. The only copy of a member’s key or password is with the member. Keepyousafe.com does not store a copy of the member’s password. Our systems are locked down, monitored, audited and reviewed on a daily basis to ensure maximum security.

3) 24/7/365 days a year. What good is protecting your vital information, if you can’t get to it when you need to? We’ve placed “hot” backup servers in the U.S. and in Europe where all our customer’s data is securely replicated. You are always protected.

TechAddress: Who is your target customer or audience?

KeepYouSafe: Anyone that values the safety, security and protection of their vital documents will value from our service.

We will target consumers who are aware of the importance of safely storing their most important documents – business travelers, investors, retirees, small business owners, etc.

We will also be introducing an approved affiliate program and “white label” service. We believe these partnerships will help drive additional growth for the company.

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

KeepYouSafe: We have plans to launch a “white label” service that allows companies to offer branded Online Safe Deposit Boxes to their customers, clients, prospects and employees, and is powered by KeepYouSafe.com. Stay tuned for future announcements via our blog at http://us.keepyousafe.com/blog/.

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

KeepYouSafe: We are focused on creating tools to not just help people “survive” a catastrophe, but be “ALIVE”. The name of our company is Information Survival. We have some patents in the pipeline and are looking at innovative ways to help both consumers and businesses protect and secure their vital information.

For example, imagine layering our global secure Information Survival network (API) over a health care records system, within the HR department of a Fortune 500 company or a credit card processing network. The uses are truly endless.

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

KeepYouSafe: The comment we hear a lot is “why do I need your service, I can just encrypt my data and email it to myself”? Sure, YOU can, but can your mother, father, sister do the same thing?

Is your ISP or web-based email provider dedicated to keeping your data secure and available in a catastrophe? Will you even have the ability to decrypt the data when an emergency arises?

We didn’t build KeepYouSafe.Com for geeks. We built it for consumers looking for a safe and secure online service to store their most important documents and information.

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

KeepYouSafe: We all come from data security backgrounds, but at one point or another in our lives we have witnessed the human aspect of emergencies and disasters, in addition to the technology side.

We brought our compassion and security background together when we started KeepYouSafe.Com. We wanted to be able to offer people a free Online Safe Deposit Box, so that everyone had a safe place to put their most important information, files and records in case of a catastrophe.

There is something very comforting in knowing that if a disaster, accident, fire, or theft strikes, your vital records are safe and secure and available anytime and anyplace.

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

KeepYouSafe: I think we touched upon it earlier – what makes us different is we’re not just a back-up service for the photos, music, and documents stored on your computer. We protect the vital documents and information that everyone will need at their fingertips in the event of an emergency.

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

KeepYouSafe: We have secured a solid round of angel funding to get us off of the ground. Shortly, we will begin discussions for additional funding to fuel our growth.

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February 2, 2007 at 4:02 pm Leave a comment

MySpace donates tools to block predators

By Gary Gentile. The Associated Press

The social-networking site MySpace.com has donated technology it helped develop to identify and block sexual predators from online communities.missing-kids.JPG

The company, a unit of News Corp., said it will donate its Sentinel Safe database software to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. MySpace has been developing the program with Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. The program promises to let Web sites to identify convicted sex offenders and bar them from their online communities, although it might not catch those who sign up under false names.

Sentinel Safe contains information on the estimated 600,000 registered sex offenders in the United States and is designed to receive updates from state sex offender registries. The tool is used by MySpace security officials who monitor profiles on the site and match identities against the database, then remove suspect profiles.

The donation of the technology to the center is meant to help law-enforcement officials with missing-children cases and other child-related investigations. MySpace has increased its efforts to police its growing site after complaints from parents about sexual predators using the popular community to contact underage children. Those efforts include hiring a former federal prosecutor to head an expanded security team.

This week, the company also said it would back new legislation to require sex offenders to register their e-mail and instant-messaging addresses with the National Sex Offender Registry. The information would be made available to sites such as MySpace to compare with user profiles.

February 1, 2007 at 1:10 am Leave a comment

Interview with with Ronen Shilo, CEO of Conduit

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Below is an interview with Ronen Shilo, CEO of Conduit. We hope you find the interview informative and useful. Please visit their website and check it out! http://www.conduit.com/


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

Conduit: Conduit is the inventor of the community toolbar concept. Community toolbars are a great new way to engage users and drive loyalty as they put the best of any website directly on the users’ browser. Today’s Web savvy organizations are looking for new ways to connect and engage their users, beyond the boundaries of their Web site.

As an example, Major League Baseball launched a ‘Conduit’ for each team in the league so the fans can stay connected with scores, plays, team information, tickets and breaking news on their favorite team, straight from the browser.

Bottom line, a Conduit community toolbar delivers:

  • More Traffic: Drive higher traffic through unprecedented face time, resulting in an average increase of two extra clicks per user, per day
  • Brand Presence: Conduit allows publishers to put their brand directly on the user’s browser
  • Lower Attrition: Retain customers through engaging content, community chat, contests, and more
  • More Revenue per Customer: Monetizing users beyond the boundaries of the Web site. Drive higher spending with more targeted offers and more relevant services delivered via a ‘Conduit’

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

Conduit: There are several things, but most importantly there are three:

1. Hosted turnkey service approach which eliminates all the challenges of traditional software offerings.

Typical off-the-shelf toolbar building software requires technical resources, constant maintenance staff, and presents issues in regard to user support and security, not to mention their limited component offerings. In the past, these challenges have prevented the majority of smaller websites from building and launching their own branded toolbars.

Conduit dramatically changed the model from traditional software to a hosted, global, turnkey service that is very easy to use, and requires no maintenance or technical skills. This has resulted in Conduit’s community toolbars exploding in less than 18 months to over 5 million users in 112 countries, 125k publishers in 22 languages, and over 30,000 downloads a day. For more details, see our recent milestone news release here.

2. Conduit’s business model is powered by search, which enables us to be completely free to the publisher and yet empower the toolbar with the most required functionality – search.

Conduit monetizes user searches via its Google search partnership, thereby delivering superior user experience despite being a free service for organizations.

3. Conduit supports its customers with a full suite of solutions that walks the user through the entire toolbar creation process:

  • Building (Conduit provides easy to use Toolbar Wizards that make building a snap)
  • Promotion (Pre-made templates for toolbar promotion include banners and download pages)
  • Maintenance (Changes made to the toolbar in the hosted environment are automatically reflected in the toolbar field)
  • Analysis (Reports to help optimize the solution for maximum value to publishers and users)

TechAddress: What are some of the main features?

Conduit: Conduit is free, hosted, extremely easy-to-use, completely customizable, ready in minutes, guaranteed to be secure, and available in 22 languages. The Toolbar Wizard is easy to use tool for any publisher, despite their level of programming expertise.

There are several key features that have contributed to our explosive adoption:

  • Pre-defined components including customizable menus, news ticker, RSS reader, radio, chatroom, NEW video window, email notifier, weather button, and more
  • Open environment that allows publishers to develop their own custom components using standard web development technologies
  • A set of customizable search tools, powered by Google
  • Cross-platform solution enabling publishers to provide instant availability in IE & Firefox
  • Pre-packaged marketing templates for deployment and promotion
  • Analytics and reports for management of the community toolbar
  • Hosted solution enables seamless and dynamic updates of content, components, and updates
  • 24/7 free support for publishers and users via email
  • Fully localized by supporting 22 languages for the toolbar and its peripheral pages

TechAddress: Who is your target customer or audience?

Conduit: Any website with a passionate community of online users can benefit from a Conduit community toolbar. Our range of customers represents every industry including entertainment, event planning, music, gaming, non profits, libraries, business, news portals, forums, real-estate, legal enterprise and more. While we have leading brands such as Greenpeace, Major League Baseball and REMAX, the largest segment of Conduit customers are “Long Tail” publishers that come from a diverse cross section.

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

Conduit: Our technology teams are working on exciting product releases that will transform user engagement and communication.

The first is the ability for a publisher to extend their presence beyond the current real estate of the toolbar. With an upcoming version, Conduit will transform toolbars from being a single story house to a skyscraper.

The second will empower a user to benefit from multiple toolbars without sacrificing the browser real-estate typically required, and by eliminating the need of multiple downloads. Users will be able to easily manage and control their toolbar library through this new product.

We are also looking to launch a “smart wizard” that will automatically detect community information and will build it into a community toolbar simply from a website URL. This is part of our commitment to making it easier to build and launch a toolbar.

Stay tuned for these and other exciting announcements coming soon.

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

Conduit: We envision Conduit evolving into a global leader in marketing platforms for building user-centric applications that drive engagement and loyalty. To that end, we are focused on forging content and product partnerships to deliver the broadest array of content and components to our publishers. From a product perspective, we are focused on being an innovation leader with breakthrough new features regularly added to the roadmap.

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

Conduit: Historically, toolbars were perceived as a search device associated with search companies, and as such they raised the question of “Who needs another toolbar?” In addition many have a bad reputation for opening up users to outside threats from adware, spyware and malware. Conduit community toolbars are strongly associated with the communities they serve (vs. being a search device only) and address a wider cross-section of information needs which goes beyond the simple search function. In addition, Conduit, delivers a safe and secure user experience.

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

Conduit: Publisher-focused value creation. If we help our publishers be more successful, then we will be successful. So whether it’s product development, marketing, or support, the company is completely focused on what drives a positive outcome for our publishers. We believe that publishers know what’s best for their users and they want to be able to offer them the very best solutions. Conduit provides them with the full-service solution they need to achieve that. As an example, we worked very hard to secure a partnership with Google, as we wanted to provide the ultimate search experience for our publishers’ end users while still enabling our publisher customers with the ability to embed their own site search into the community toolbar and the search page.

Outside of our dedication to products, our overall guiding principles are fairness and integrity. These are the cornerstones of Conduit. We treat everyone who interacts with the company with highest level of integrity.

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

Conduit: Our mission is to democratize the building of connected communities, and to enable traditional Web 1.0 companies to become Web 2.0. We aim to provide every publisher with the solutions they need to connect, engage and build online communities quickly and cost effectively.

In terms of innovation, we are the first, completely free service for building a community toolbar, powered by Search. This is a significant value proposition for the market in general but more importantly, for the long tail of the Internet. Conduit is putting a powerful, free marketing platform, previously only available to large companies, in the hands of organizations of every size and capability. This is revolutionary – we are leveling the playing field and doing it with a free, secure service that is backed by a solid business model.

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

Conduit: Conduit is currently fully funded and has no plans to raise additional capital at this time.

TechAddress: If your technology or service is not formally launched yet, when’s the launch date? If you have already launched, when was your launch date?

Conduit: The company was founded in 2005; however, we just recently launched an official marketing campaign in November, 2006. Incredibly, Conduit has grown virally from 0 to 125,000 website publisher customers and 5,000,000 users in less than two years.

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January 31, 2007 at 5:41 pm 18 comments

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