TechCrunch Meetup

I don’t really know the NYCMB’s readership that well yet, so bear with me if I fumble this for a few of you. Last night, I went to TechCrunch 8, a party/networking event for the Web 2.0 crowd to see what was on offer. I visited all the booths and grabbed lots of schwag. It rocked. Awesome Web 2.0 stuff! Read on, good people. Lots more behind the jump.

Competitor to Alexa, the fairly opaque and generally suspect web popularity-ranking engine. They say that they have a sample of users in the millions, normalized to the internet at large. Now, I’m no statistician, but that alone puts them above Alexa in terms of transparency and interpretation of the rankings.

Conduit’s product are branded and customized toolbars. I initially wondered what kind of market share these guys were hoping for, because I hate toolbars, and I’ve never seen anyone with more than three. However, the presenter told me that it was supposed to be an extremely targeted toolbar; for avid users of any given website. I got the sense that they were trying to take toolbars and make them the “Make this site your homepage! Click Here!” of 2006.

My notes for Citizenbay read like so:

aggregated local content
local reviews

Which pretty much means to me a Citysearch with content aggregated from around the web, a prettier UI and a social network layered over the whole smorgasbord. I’m pretty ambivalent about them; if scraping content from around the web and displaying it contextually is enough of a pull, their UI and social service could kill Citysearch’s current offering, but I don’t think that it is.

Multiply’s fighting in a space already extremely crowded with both new players and old giants, the private blogging platform. They differentiate themselves from the others by pushing the notion of blogging for a specific group of people and touting privacy privacy privacy. I don’t see any significant difference (there are quite a few cosmetic differences, including defining relationships) between, say, LiveJournal beyond the advertising tactics and a slightly more intuitive interface for managing friends and posting to groups of friends.

Right Media – RMX
The Right Media Exchange, as I understand it, will aggregate publishers various advertising accounts and place the best ad from all of the services into the served page. I don’t really know much about the industry (CMP? CPA? PCP?), but it seems like a pretty neat idea for publishers who are really into squeezing every last cent from every single click.

Gotuit streams content to Sprint phones, but their relevancy engine made me really fall in love with the business model. The best way to really explain their service is to tell the story I was told. Suppose you have a fantasy football team, you can suck it off the web (off most fantasy sites was my understanding) and onto your Sprint phone. Once there, Gotuit streams clips of your team members right to your phone. Or just the touchdowns your players make. Or maybe your team’s interceptions. Advertisers get an almost sweeter deal: pushing their ads behind specific video content. So, Budwiser can buy all the ad spots following touchdowns, and just touchdowns. I was pretty wowed, and almost wanted one of the phones and a fantasy football team.

BlogTalkRadio, like Multiply, is in a pretty tight market; online podcast creation. However, where I don’t see a significant difference between Multiply and their competitors, BTR has a pretty sweet angle on the podcast production. They allow you to hold online, live, talk shows. I got the impression that you do it from a phone, and anyone can call into the show. It’s a really sweet concept for podcasters with an established audience, but I somehow failed to get excited about it. I recognize how cool it is (again, for those who are going to be able to leverage it), but podcasting in general just leaves me lukewarm.

I’ll say one thing for these guys: their schwag was incredible. I have a cup on my desk right now pulsing from the RGB LEDs in the bottom. Sweeeeet.
Helium’s a guide to subjective knowledge. I thought they might be in all sorts of trouble, what with WikiHow and Everything2 already out there, but they convinced me that they bring enough to the table that they could stick around for a while. Writers submit articles on subjects from gardening to dancing, and other users rate them–but not in the conventional sense. They say that they’ve implemented a “game-proof” (unhackable!) system to keep the ratings fair: Instead of asking for a numeric evaluation of the article, they put it in direct comparison to another article and ask the rater to pick the better article. I don’t think that it’s entirely invulnerable–it would just be mildly more complicated to game the system.
As soon as I understood the basic principle, I started praying that they were going to do some heavy contextual analysis to find experts on given subjects. Unfortunately, they’re not. I’d love to be able to see who the authors with the consistently high ratings for articles tagged with “cooking” were, so that I could ask them questions. Helium could even leverage that into a second level of service–connecting proven experts to potential consulting clients. I’d be willing to pay a few bucks to get a trustable answer on how long to marinade my cutlets.

Tripod. Tripod Web 2.0 with a usable WYSIWYG editor. Tripod in an era of cheap bandwidth and dirt-cheap storage. Awesome.

I’m not entirely sold on these guys yet. Their UI is slick, their setup at BED was very tightly put together, with projectors for pictures, shoutouts and music. They pushed the Pandora/Last.FM music experience to a logically profitable conclusion. Installed in bars, they allow patrons to dictate music selection en masse. The music library is hosted locally and provided by the customer, something that they say is good for clubs and places who want to play a certain kind of music. I see lots of weird UI holes in the partyStrands product to date (very little feedback, no way to show what’s available on any given jukebox), but if they begin to catch on over here (they say they have more than 20 installations in Spain), I don’t think that’ll really matter. Very cool product. Very slick.

Civil Netizen
Civil Netizen does file transfers well and securely. It’s VPN P2P if it’s not particularly valuable, but they offer cheap, secure transfers as well. A record is kept of the whole transfer, the file is stored on their servers for backup, and everyone has accountability. Great product looking to break into the small to medium B2B markets.

I have to admit to a bit of confusion about this product, but I’m not a salesguy by any means. I think they add a layer of sales people over automated websites, targeting B2B and high-end consumer sales.

Medium sits on top of your web browsing experience, showing both sites relevant to your current viewing and people on me.dium who are interested in the same kind of stuff you’re interested in. The really exciting thing that I heard was that they’re working on sucking data in from other services like Last.FM to improve their profiles of users. Their goal is to not have to ask any questions about their users, they said. I thought it was bloody fantastic.

CosmoTV sits on top of all the video they can aggregate and recommend videos to you. The more they learn what you like, the more videos that you’ll enjoy on a per-search basis, which I think is pretty sweet. Not only do I get capoeira videos when I’m looking for them, but I can get ones that I’ll probably like a whole lot. They called themselves “the Pandora of video”, only without experienced editors deep-tagging videos for your enjoyment. They said that they hope to get to a point where they’ll be able to slip ads in with the rest of the videos, and because their system knows what you like so well, it’ll be a video that you’ll appreciate. That was a terribly long sentence, and I apologize.

HitTail would have been a lot cooler if The HitTail Guy hadn’t been acting the fool the entire night. Tom Green pushed those buttons so long ago that they’ve stopped working, really. They’re optimizers for content providers who make their money on CPCs. HitTail looks at the keywords you’re currently making money from, and shows you related keywords that are more valuable, allowing you to tune your prose to show the most profitable ads available.

Eurekster does site searches for communities, as I understand it. Their software allows people whose websites have community aspects to provide a search for the whole website, integrated relevant content from around the web, along with contextual ads.
Apparently AOL’s opening up all of their APIs, but not the walled garden. I think they’re trying to stay relevant, too.

Top 10 Sources
Top Ten strikes me as a portal company, providing a window to the web for new and inexperienced users. Lots and lots of content, like AOL back in the day. Their other projects are StyleFeeder, the social shopping network (Netflix-style ratings and item recommendations), a “…wish list for the web”, and Licensa, which connects CC content creators with potential licensees, simplifying the transaction as much as possible for everyone involved.

Snap’s search is visually the exact opposite of Google, in the most Web 2.0 way possible. Just go look. I’d be wasting space if I did anything but note that they’re putting sponsored results into regular results.

I heard about MyJove, the scientific video sharing site at TC8 as well. The guy I talked to said that he’d put it together in a matter of an evening from building blocks of code. A pretty cool idea, but I don’t code so I don’t really know what it means.

1 Comment so far

  1. Liz Henry (unregistered) on November 18th, 2006 @ 10:25 am

    Hey! You asked before about how you find out about this stuff … are you on It works really well.

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