Archive for the ‘launch’ Category

Jaxtr May Be BETA Than You Think

Friday, January 12th, 2007

Jaxtr logoIt looks like Jaxtr will be launching into BETA mode soon.

I received an e-mail from the company stating that they will soon be adding people to their private BETA test. They go on to say: “People with active social networking profiles and blogs will make the best testers for us since we want to make sure the jaxtr widgets get posted in places where many people see them and use them.”

If you aren’t familiar with the company and/or don’t know what they do, you can read my initial post on Jaxtr. Essentially, the start-up has created a widget that users can embed in their social network profile or blog. This widget gives the viewer of the profile the ability to call the user via a phone using VOIP.

Though this little widget presents many security and privacy concerns (see previous Jaxtr post), its simplicity and functionality may overcome its pitfalls and people may be pleasantly surprised. In addition, the viral nature of th service bodes well for its potential success. As I’ve said before, widgets are an extremely effective, low cost way of driving qualified traffic and creating brand exposure.

I’m excited to try the service and I look forward to the BETA launch.

The Web 2.0 Company Mentality

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

After reading and commenting on an interesting article over at Wisdump, I think the topic merits a post of its own. 

The article dealt with the notion of charging for a service, rather than monetizing with Google AdSense (or advertising), the standard web 2.0 tactic.

But users don’t want to pay and companies don’t want users to pay. Now, the former makes sense, but the latter needs some explaining…

What we are overlooking is the whole corporate ‘web 2.0 mentality’ here.

Companies that don’t charge users aren’t actually marketing their services to users. They’re looking for quick sign-ups and account creation. This leads to buzz and corporate gossip. In other words, the company is marketing to potential buy-out candidates.

By driving user adoption and launching with a promotional blitz, many start-ups can manifest a popular image and create the illusion of a much larger user base than reality. This is all due to the marketability of a ‘free’ service, as opposed to a subscription model.

Next, the start-up attempts to sell to a larger player. Popular examples include Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft. These ventures never really had plans for a revenue model all along. The hope is that monetary compensation will come in the form of an acquisition rather than a revenue model. In doing so, the company passes the burden of monetization on to the acquisitor. Slapping on a subsciption fee was never an option. It would hamper user base growth and provide a barrier to entry for many.

This is the so-called the “keep-your-fingers-crossed” strategy. It is also commonly referred to as the “let’s-hope-we-get-bought-over-before-we-run-out-of-cash” strategy. Either way, they’re both making reference to the same clever tactic.

This corporate strategy is very shallow and risky, but with such little capital put forth on most web 2.0 ventures, it’s worth risking say $50,000 when the potential pay-out may be several million dollars.

NOTE: This is not the case for all start-ups. But don’t kid yourself by denying the fact that this is a commonly used strategy in the web 2.0 world. Also note that I am not a capitalist pig with no heart. I do believe in the hard-working entrepreneur with good intentions. But this is the business world and I am simply pointing out the facts.

E.T., iPhone Home…

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Apple logoMan, is it just me or has this iPhone frenzy gotten a little out of hand?

Heck, even E.T. has probably heard of the goddamn thing by now. From a more earthly perspective, it seems that everyone has already been acquainted with the new Apple iPhone. Yes, it is sexy as hell, but I’d still take Jessica Alba any day.

In the last day or so, I’ve read about a bajillion posts hyping this mobile device. Yes, yes, I know it’s sweet, but wipe that drool off your lap. Is this truly the next killer mobile device?

When the Motorola Razr hit the market, every teen and twenty-something wanted their hands on one. The craze quickly sputtered out. My guess is that this iPhone launch will dwarf the launch of any mobile device to date - by far.

I’m not even going to outline the features and functionality as everyone else already has, a dozen times over. Check out the official iPhone site or the links below for more info.

What’s next? Maybe Steve Jobs will be knighted? But don’t expect an announcement until the day of…

NOTE: To further support my theory of an over-exaggerated reaction by the blogosphere, read more about the iPhone launch here, here, here, here, here, here, here… plus, there’s many, many more that I didn’t even care to mention. I’m not even joking.

Why You SHOULDN’T Start a Blog?

Tuesday, January 9th, 2007

Blog iconI have read numerous books, articles, and posts stating why every person and company should have a blog. Obviously, I’m a huge advocate of blogs, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I think they have a tremendous number of advantages and they’re a great way to get your message heard. However, every blog needs an underlying strategy and focus. Preparation and planning is key. There must be strong reasoning as to why anyone or any company would launch a blog. This vital communication tool cannot be abused or taken for granted.

I know there are many people out there thinking of starting a blog. Some may even be reading this post. Well, here are some things to consider before making the plunge. Here are the reasons you shouldn’t start a blog:

  • Fame and glory: If you have dreams and aspirations of becoming a top blogger known around the world, then you’ve got your priorities in the wrong place. The purpose of a blog isn’t to fulfill your personal needs, but rather the satisfaction of your readers. Therefore, write for them, not yourself. Blogging is a ‘journey’; becoming a top blogger is the ‘destination’. If you concentrate on the journey, the destination will take care of itself.
  • Regurgitate content: If you simply plan on re-publishing others’ content in your own words, don’t bother. Para-phrasing cannot carry a blog. With every post, you should be providing a unique voice and perspective. Re-hashing news and unoriginal content does not constitute the basis for a blog.
  • Personal diary: Ok, first let me re-phrase this. Don’t start a personal blog/diary if you want to acquire a large reader base. If you are simply looking to reach out to friends and family, then by all means do so. But… to be quite honest, if you want to generate a considerable amount of traffic, then do not blog about your personal life and your daily happenings. Nobody really cares. I am being truthful, rather than rude. Posting to a personal blog is like having baby pictures. Only you really care… and maybe a couple of friends and family members. But anyone who doesn’t know you will have a hard time relating. Instead, choose a niche topic that people can relate to on some level. The only people who can write a personal blog and gain massive readership are celebrities. Mark Cuban and Seth Godin are good examples, although even they blog mostly about universal topics.
  • Financial rewards: If you intend on making a lot of money with a blog (at least initially), then you will be unpleasantly surprised. Even some of the more popular blogs that display ads will only gross a couple hundred dollars a month. But don’t plan on even making that much for awhile. Monetary compensation should be considered a bonus.
  • Corporate marketing: Although a blog is a great place to discuss product features and announce news, do not cloud your messages with corporate hype. Blog readers are not naive individuals. They will instantly sniff out ill-intentioned material filled with marketing messages. Creating this type of content is not in your best interest. Injecting some level of optimism and enthusiasm is acceptable, but there is a fine line. Provide an objective perspective wherever possible.

Just some food for thought… 

Personally, I blog because I want to provide a new perspective on web trends and technology. Receiving feedback regarding how a blog post changed someone’s perception on a given topic or helped them in some way is what brings a smile to my face.

The Venice Project - Now in BETA

Monday, January 8th, 2007

The Venice Project logoI just received an early morning e-mail from The Venice Project crew. It’s official. The stealth start-up is now in BETA mode and testing can begin.

As mentioned a million times already, this new venture is backed by the same guys who brought us KaZaa and Skype. In this case, third time doesn’t need to be a charm when you’ve already struck big on your first two endeavours. Nonetheless, expect big things from this infant project that promises to “completely revolutionise television. Combining the best features of TV with the powerful social features of the internet, The Venice Project will give TV viewers, advertisers and content owners more choice, control and creativity than ever before”.

Sounds ambitious, but I have no doubt that if anyone can pull this off, it’s these chaps.

The BETA e-mail goes on to say:

“Today, we’re inviting you to take a sneak preview of our work and take part in The Venice Project’s first beta testing phase. This is a private, invitation-only beta test and the software is still in the early stages, but we would greatly value your opinions. We hope you’ll participate actively by giving us your feedback on everything from bugs to performance issues and suggestions for new features.”

With this BETA release, it appears as though the company is following a gMail-esque type word-of-mouth marketing campaign. In other words, they are offering a certain few a limited number of ‘invitations’ in an attempt to create an exclusivity buzz. This is out-dated and unoriginal.

Before I make a premature analysis of the program, I am going to take the time to immerse myself with its features and functionality. Stay tuned for an upcoming post.

In the meantime, here are some pages of interest that you do not need BETA or log-in credentials to view:


UPDATE: As requested by a reader, please inform me if you would like an invite when I receive tokens. Do so by dropping me a comment to let me know.