Posts filed under ‘Technology’

YouTube founders split $650M payout

Two of YouTube‘s founders stand to divide shares of stock now valued at around $650 million, Web search leader Google Inc. said in a regulatory filing Wednesday detailing the payout from its $1.65 billion acquisition.

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Chad Hurley, chief executive of the online video sharing phenomenon YouTube, received 694,087 shares of Google (Charts) common stock worth around $326 million, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Co-founder Steve Chen received Google common stock valued at a similar amount, including 625,366 shares directly owned and another 68,721 shares held in a trust.

Sequoia Capital, the sole venture capital backer of YouTube, stands to receive around $442 million in Google shares based on the $470.01 closing price of the Web search leader Wednesday.

At least two dozen YouTube employees received lesser share amounts. For example, Julie Supan, YouTube’s principal spokeswoman, received 10,308 shares worth around $4.8 million.

Most of the remaining shares were divided up among dozens of limited partner investors in Sequoia Capital.

Elite backers

These include a who’s who of the endowments of Harvard, Yale, Brown, Columbia, Oxford and other elite colleges, and the investment vehicles of the families behind the Getty (Charts), Hewlett-Packard (Charts) and Intel (Charts) fortunes, among other beneficiaries.

The third co-founder, Jawed Karim, received stock valued at around $64.6 million. After starting the company in early 2005, he backed out and returned to Stanford University to work on a graduate degree in computer science.

The three co-founders had met while working together at online payments company PayPal, which was later acquired by Web auction company eBay Inc (Charts).

Google, of Mountain View, Calif., acquired YouTube, which is now located in Brisbane, near San Francisco, in November of last year.

YouTube enjoyed explosive growth during 2006 among viewers eager to watch short-form comic sketches created by other users. But its also has faced mounting legal threats from big media companies angry that the site has become a popular means of pirating their television shows.

Google had said at the time of the deal’s closing three months ago that one-eighth of the equity, or around $200 million, would be held in escrow as security on unspecified indemnification obligations.

Last week, Viacom Inc. (Charts) , owner of MTV Networks and several popular comedy programs often pirated by YouTube fans, demanded that the Google unit take down some 100,000 video clips of Viacom programming.

Originally posted by Reuters.

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February 9, 2007 at 9:31 am 1 comment

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

Metacafe gets a new CEO

Written by Katie Fehrenbacher  of GigaOm.

Metacafe, the online video startup that was rumored to be close to an acquisition deal for $200 million or so last December1, is getting a new CEO.

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Co-founder Arik Czerniak tells us that he is stepping down as CEO and will remain at the company focusing on products and strategy. Erick Hachenburg, previously of Electronic Arts, will be taking over as CEO of the company that has offices in Palo Alto and Tel-Aviv Israel.

Czerniak tells us that the guard change “is great news for the company,” and Hachenburg “is a guy who is going to lead us to the next level.”

Metacafe has been adding other new executives recently. In January the company said2 it had hired Mort Greenberg, VP Sales, Allyson Campa, VP Marketing, and added Bud Colligan as its Executive Chairman. Metacafe, also opened a New York office “to better serve its advertisers and media partners.” The company has raised at least $19 million from investors, including Benchmark Capital and Accel Partners.

In December TechCrunch reported that Metacafe’s acquisition deal might had fallen through because of traffic concerns3, and cited Comscore numbers that showed the startup had a 25% traffic drop in monthly unique vistors — from a high of 4.2 million in September, to 3.1 million in November.

Numbers compiled on NewTeeVee from Comscore4 for the month of December, show that Metacafe had 2.95 million total unique visitors for that month (U.S. audience). Numbers from Compete compiled on NewTeeVee4 say that Metacafe is ranked #14 with a 1.3% market share and 1.57 million unique monthly visitors.

Hitwise data says comparing Jan-07 versus Dec-06, the market share of visits to the site among all U.S. web sites increased 1% — that’s in contrast to the company’s growth between Jan-06 and Jan-07 where Hitwise says its market share of visits to the site increased 912% among all US websites. That year over year traffic boost came as a result of the company sharing the advertising revenues with video creators — an advantage now blunted by YouTube’s recent announcement5.

It seems like the traffic concerns are real, and the company is looking for ways to turn around revive a traffic decline. Investors, for one, are always eager to press for the symbolic change of the guard when things go south. The new ceo will have his work cut out for him, trying to revive the company and beat its competitors.

February 6, 2007 at 5:43 pm Leave a comment

Akamai to Acquire Netli

logo_akamai.gif Akamai Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKAM) and Netli, Inc. announced today that the two companies have signed a definitive agreement for Akamai to acquire Netli in a merger transaction. The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of Netli’s stockholders, is anticipated to close later this quarter. The acquisition is expected to be neutral to Akamai earnings on a normalized, diluted per share basis* in 2007.

The acquisition of Netli is expected to enhance Akamai’s application acceleration solutions, which improve the performance of Web- and other Internet-based applications. According to Gartner, a leading research firm, the market for application acceleration spending is forecasted to grow to $3.3 billion in 2010. Akamai and Netli’s combined managed services will seek to address two important market segments identified by industry analysts – application delivery controllers and WAN optimization controllers.

By combining Netli’s high performance communications protocol with Akamai’s massive global scale and unique capabilities to route Internet traffic around points of congestion, Akamai expects to offer businesses the most comprehensive and effective managed services for accelerating applications. These services enable enterprises to improve the performance of dynamic, highly-interactive applications such as customer portals, collaboration platforms, e-learning environments, and business-to-business commerce.

Organizations often face conflicting technology challenges as they move business processes to the Internet to increase revenues, expand into new markets, streamline operations, enhance productivity, and ensure customer satisfaction. Confronted with the need to consolidate infrastructure to avoid the cost of global data center build-out, enterprises also must ensure users, customers, partners, and employees experience good performance, regardless of what online application they are trying to reach and where they are located worldwide. The acquisition of Netli, when completed, is expected to further establish Akamai as the leading managed service in the application acceleration space. Akamai’s managed service provides customers an effective alternative to deploying costly and often ineffective hardware to improve performance of Internet applications.

“We are very encouraged by customer acceptance of our application acceleration services, and believe the alignment of Akamai and Netli will provide enterprises with even better solutions going forward in this important and emerging market,” said Paul Sagan, president and CEO of Akamai. “Akamai and Netli both emphasize leading-edge technology to help businesses deliver more effective, higher performing online applications, and we are confident that this combination will benefit our customers, employees, and shareholders.”

“By joining forces with Akamai to address the large and quickly expanding application acceleration market, we believe our customers will gain access to an even larger global network and a wider portfolio of leading-edge services supported by a combination of the most experienced providers in the industry,” said Gary Messiana, CEO of Netli. “Our people are very proud of our pioneering work to deliver proven and effective technology in the area of optimizing online application acceleration, and we look forward to working with Akamai to combine our technology and capabilities to create the strongest managed service offering in the industry.”

Under terms of the agreement, Akamai will acquire all of the outstanding equity of Netli in exchange for approximately 3.2 million shares of Akamai common stock, subject to certain closing adjustments. The merger transaction is expected to be accounted for by Akamai under the purchase method of accounting.

About Netli
Netli is a rapidly growing global service provider for accelerating applications and content over the Internet – enabling global e-business from centralized infrastructure. Netli provides network infrastructure as a service, on-demand optimizing application, and content delivery while shifting bandwidth, computing, and storage requirements to Netli infrastructure. The result is better utilization of capital budgets and resources by transferring the cost, risk, complexity, and management overhead of delivering enterprise-scale Web applications and content to Netli. The world’s three biggest mobile phone suppliers, the largest technology reseller, the largest beauty products company, the two largest computer manufacturers, and the top two import auto manufacturers trust Netli for their application acceleration and content delivery needs. The company is headquartered in Mountain View, California, and was recently included in the AlwaysOn 100 list of the most innovative technology companies in the world.

About Akamai
Akamai® is the leading global service provider for accelerating content and business processes online. Thousands of organizations have formed trusted relationships with Akamai, improving their revenue and reducing costs by maximizing the performance of their online businesses. Leveraging the Akamai EdgePlatform, these organizations gain business advantage today, and have the foundation for the emerging Web solutions of tomorrow. Akamai is “The Trusted Choice for Online Business.” For more information, visit http://www.akamai.com.

The release contains information about future expectations, plans and prospects of Akamai’s management that constitute forward-looking statements for purposes of the safe harbor provisions under The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements about the anticipated closing of the acquisition, the expectations with respect to integration of the Netli technology and resulting benefits and the expected future business and financial performance of Akamai resulting from and following the acquisition. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors including, but not limited to, inability to successfully integrate the technology of Netli or to develop products based on the technology, material adverse changes in the financial conditions or operations of Netli, substantial delay in the expected closing of the proposed merger, inability to secure all consents and stockholder approvals necessary to effect the proposed merger and other factors that are discussed in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, and other documents periodically filed with the SEC.

* In addition to providing financial measurements based on generally accepted accounting principles in the United States of America (GAAP), Akamai has historically provided additional financial metrics that are not prepared in accordance with GAAP (non-GAAP). Recent legislative and regulatory changes discourage the use of and emphasis on non-GAAP financial metrics and require companies to explain why non-GAAP financial metrics are relevant to management and investors. We believe that the non-GAAP financial metrics we have included are useful to management and investors because they provide additional insight into our operations as well as help us assess and monitor developments in our business. Set forth below are definitions of the non-GAAP terms we use and explanations of some of the benefits provided by those metrics.

Akamai defines “normalized net income” as net income before amortization of intangible assets, equity-related compensation, depreciation of capitalized equity-related compensation, certain gains and losses on equity investments, utilization of tax NOLs/credits and release of the deferred tax asset valuation allowance. Akamai considers normalized net income to be another important indicator of the overall performance of the Company because it eliminates the effects of events that are either not part of the Company’s core operations or are non-cash.

Akamai defines “normalized diluted share” as diluted common shares outstanding used in GAAP net income per share calculation, excluding the effect of FAS 123R under the treasury stock method. Akamai considers normalized diluted shares to be another important indicator of overall performance of the Company because it eliminates the effect of a non-cash item.

Contacts:

February 5, 2007 at 10:45 pm Leave a 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

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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