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NY Tech Meetup — April 2008

Just got home from this month’s NY Tech Meetup, which Scott said is the 42nd meeting so far. I’m talking about Scott Heiferman, CEO and co-founder of Meetup.com. He started NY Tech and is the MC for every event.

This month they packed in eight presenters at five minutes each, so things moved pretty swiftly. Unlike last month, this month didn’t have any particular theme.

As usual, I’ll give you a quick overview of each website and my immediate impressions. I’m judging both the idea and the implementation. Keep in mind that I have not done in-depth research into any of these companies and if something doesn’t sound right, it’s probably because the presenter did a crappy job of explaining it :)

VidyUp by the folks at Magnify.net
Presenter: Steve Rosenbaum, co-founder and CEO, and Simon Cavalletto, co-founder and CTO
In one sentence: A free widget that allows your visitors to upload videos to your site while simultaneously publishing them to YouTube
Notes: Built using the YouTube API in less than two weeks; future release will allow for greater flexibility of video upload and storage. I gotta admit, I don’t really get the concept.
Idea: so-so | Implementation: boo-hoo

DonorsChoose.org
Presenter: Oliver Hurst-Hiller, CTO
In one sentence: Public school teachers with ambitions to improve their classrooms can post project ideas to solicit financial support
Notes: So far 50,000 projects have received funding totaling $20 million, benefiting more than 1 million students; recently added features include: RSS feeds for project listings matching the exact criteria you specify, as well as an API to promote projects on external sites
Idea: woo-hoo | Implementation: woo-hoo

ADSDAQ by the folks at ContextWeb
Presenter: John Pavley, CTO, and Derek Brinkman, VP Product Management
In one sentence: Yet another advertising network, but this one lets publishers control the price
Notes: CPM (cost per million) calculator lets you plug in values from your other ad platforms and automatically gives you a 20% boost; during Q&A an audience member noted, “Your fill rates are miserable…and I’ve surveyed 200 people.”
Idea: boo-hoo | Implementation: woo-hoo (if it’s possible to implement a bad idea skillfully, they’ve done it)

Trendrr
Presenter: Mark Ghuneim, founder and CEO of WiredSet, former SVP Online & Emerging Technologies at Sony Music Entertainment
In one sentence: Dashboard to track, compare and share data on absolutely anything, including news, sales, social networks, video, blogs, financials and more — released just three days ago
Notes: Coolest feature is the ability to create data mashups on the fly by dragging multiple plots onto the Scratchpad; completely open system with an API available
Idea: woo-hoo | Implementation: woo-hoo

Kluster
Presenter: Ben Kaufman, founder and CEO
In one sentence: A process by which community members generate product ideas to meet a defined set of requirements; those with the most traction earn rewards in both cash and virtual currency
Notes: Launched at the TED conference last month, 2,700 people collaborated to create a new product in 72 hours. Kaufman’s parents remortgaged their house to give him the capital to start his business three years ago, when he was a senior in high school
Idea: woo-hoo | Implementation: woo-hoo

Twiddla
Presenter: Ben Satterfield, co-founder
In one sentence: Collaborative, web-based whiteboarding that allows co-browsing, upload of Google docs, and screen capture for later use
Notes: Won technical achievement award at this year’s SXSW; requires no Flash or other plugins, runs entirely in AJAX. No sign up required. Unfortunately they have yet to implement permissions settings, however they plan to use the levels of “anarchy,” “democracy” and “fascism” when they do. A version for the iPhone to be released soon.
Idea: woo-hoo | Implementation: woo-hoo

Muxtape
Presenter: Justin Ouellette, one-man show, about to end a year-long gig as a senior developer at Vimeo
In one sentence: Share music online through mixtapes of 12 songs
Notes: Launched a week ago today, it’s already become a huge internet phenomenon; soon will feature links to buy each song on Amazon or iTunes. As Justin said, “When people are forced to reduce their choices, what’s left is the cream of the crop.”
Idea: woo-hoo | Implementation: woo-hoo

BricaBox
Presenter: Nate Westheimer, co-founder and CEO
In one sentence: A free platform to create “social content websites” through mashups of third-party content and wiki-style contributions
Notes: RSS feeds for each bricabox launched today
Idea: woo-hoo | Implementation: so-so

At the end of the event, Scott announced that the organization had just reached 6,000 members. Because of the enormous growth, they want to become a more established, full-fledged organization — though I’m not quite sure what that means. In any case, they’ll be increasing the door fee to $10 per person (from $5). That elicited many boos from the audience. I wonder if attendance really will drop. Is the experience worth twice the price?

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  • http://exchange.contextweb.com Derek Brinkman

    Derek from ADSDAQ here.

    Glad that appreciated the work that we put into the frontend execution of ADSDAQ. We definitely saw a lot of room for improvement for user experience in online advertising products. (I am a big fan of the book Designing for Interaction… that you have on your coffee table!)

    A lot of publishers get twisted out of shape about fill rate, so I’d like to try to explain our system a bit more.

    1- The publisher sets their CPM price with ADSDAQ to ensure that all impressions filled by ADSDAQ make them more than they could get elsewhere.

    2- The publisher provides a backup tag of their best paying other network. When ADSDAQ can’t fill the impression received, we pass it to the backup tag provided.

    The result of this is that any impressions filled by ADSDAQ are by definition additional incremental revenue for the publisher because the make the same as they always did before for any impressions that ADSDAQ does not fill.

    Take the example: site has 100K monthly impressions that are making $1 CPM from AdSense (Making $100/mo.). Publisher asks ADSDAQ for $2 CPM and gives AdSense tag as their backup tag.

    ADSDAQ fills 20% of the 100K impressions. This results in 20K x $2CPM=$40. AdSense still pays 80K x $1CPM=$80.

    The publisher gets paid $120 (rather than the previous months $100) .

    The point I’m trying to make here is that even with fill rates in the 15-20% range, the publisher ends up making more revenue than they did previously.

    And finally, since ADSDAQ does a real-time contextual scan of every page that we receive an impression from, we can sell publishers’ inventory in “buckets” of categories directly to agencies and advertisers. That allows us to sell the inventory for more, and that allows us to pay the publishers more than what they get paid in other systems.

    Hope this helps to explain why we think our idea is not a boo hoo :)

  • http://www.whitneyhess.com/blog whitney

    Derek, I really appreciate you taking the time to further explain the concept. I do not have great experience with ad networks. I use Google Ads but they haven’t brought in any revenue. I will look into ADSDAQ more closely. Thanks again, and keep reading!