Archive for March, 2008

Irish Web2Ireland companies for Web2Expo – help provided (€1500 worth of help)

admin 10th of March 2008 by admin

Neil and Irene at The Digital Media Forum have secured funding through InterTradeIreland, the Skillnets initiative and Enterprise Ireland to support companies wishing to attend the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco (22nd – 25th April 2008).

Key notes
- competitive process
- successful companies will receive €1,500 towards the cost of attending the conference.
- Only one attendee per company may be supported.
- To register your interest in attending please contact Irene Kavanagh – irene@digitalmediaforum.net
– brief profile of your company, reasons to attend, etc

Joe has more details here as well as link to PDF.

Great initiative – well done to folks at DMF and Ray at EI for supporting the web2.0 community in Ireland

Polldaddy Answers… the latest in market research intelligence

admin 7th of March 2008 by admin

The folks at Sligo based Polldaddy have just launched “PollDaddy Answers”.

See web2ireland on Polldaddy Answers

PollDaddy Answers is a searchable directory of over 300,000 polls on Polldaddy.

A great move by Polldaddy – to create a community @ polls – similar to Yahoo Answers, but with the emphasis on polls as opposed to open ended questions and answers. Over 500k pages are already in Polldaddy Answers.

Will be interesting to watch the likes of Alexa – and Polldaddy

The challenges & recommendations for app developers

admin 6th of March 2008 by admin

Application development on social networking platforms was the hot topic this week at the Graphing Social Patterns conference in San Diego. Ironically it’s like the wild wild west of a few hundred years ago – lots of prospectors in an undefined territory where the opportunity is massive.

Here are the key challenges and recommendations I collected from the speakers and conversations I had at the conference:

Challenges:

  • Applications and widgets are hard to monetize. Traditionally brand advertising is related to the web CONTENT (e.g. target “Grey’s Anatomy” watchers because they appear to fit with the brand). Essentially the new world of social network advertising is trying to monetize NEW types of experiences and context-free environments. Since users can create any type of group, profile, page etc. there is some fear over what the ads will be placed next to.
  • There are low barriers to entry. Anyone and their dog (who knows a bit about PHP) can create an application on Facebook rather quickly at very low cost. This has lead to low quality, low utility, disposable, spammy apps but the good news is that the trend is quickly moving towards high value, engaging, quality apps.
  • The metrics for measuring and analysing applications are minimal. This is an evolving area in itself.
  • There are multiple APIs. OpenSocial vs. Facebook/Bebo platform – different audiences, channels, usage patterns etc.

Recommendations:

  • Develop apps that have utility and meaning. Facebook is changing the rules of the platform to protect its users and provide an experience that increases communication and improves user engagement.
  • Ensure your app is: 1. Clear in its proposition and easy to use, 2. Measurable – track growth, engagement, advertising etc., and 3. Flexible – many crappy trials beats deep thinking/planning (Note: I believe this was the case for the low quality apps but the future apps require significant planning to make them of value. The main point of this is to get it out there early to see how users react – “perpetual beta”)
  • Apps have three distinct stages of development: 1. Marketing – use appropriate channels to spread your “call to action”; 2. Growth – tune and track virality; What are the other apps in your category doing?; 3. Engagement – increase page views and time spent on site
  • The level of trust must be improved between the users, applications, networks, and marketers.
  • Plan for a portable ID. The industry trend points towards a future that allows for an ID that’s shared between applications/networks but will be controlled by the users (e.g. permissions)
  • For social games the “social” aspect is more important than the “game” – it’s better when your friends are contacting you to “play”. You still must implement typical aspects of gaming – level/goal progression, turns, leader-boards, incentives/rewards: gifts, unlocking features etc.

Rough timeline of future of social network development

admin 6th of March 2008 by admin

2008:

  • Facebook will release commerce functionality and develop new monetization models; Take advantage of social and content context
  • Facebook will continue to make platform modifications to ensure long term value for its users (maximize user experience)
  • MySpace will roll out developer app
  • OpenSocial will continue to move towards becoming the social platform standard

2008-9:

  • Data portability is key
  • The “Social Cloud” is about getting the computer out of the way so we can be more productive and interact more easily. People are the killer app of the web (everything is better with friends)

2013:

  • ubiquitous social networks

Beta Testers Wanted

conor 6th of March 2008 by conor

You may be familiar with the very smart YouGetItBack concept which provides a lost and found facility for things like phones, iPod etc via simple stickers and a web app. The guys are moving into their next phase of development and it’s looking very exciting indeed. They will soon be rolling out apps for mobiles and laptops along with associated online services.

They are looking for Beta Testers for these apps. If you are interested, head on over to the blog and leave a comment or mail them at the address provided.

If you are looking for Beta Testers for your web app or mobile app, feel free to drop us a line and we’ll mention it here.

What’s the state of application development on social networks? Some interesting numbers…

admin 6th of March 2008 by admin

Here are some interesting numbers from the GSP conference in San Diego. Some are just mind boggling!

MySpace has:

  • 300 sales people and 150 engineers and product managers working on “monetization technology” (Note: app develops may eventually be able to leverage this ground-work)
  • 100 employees working 24/7 to review ALL content uploaded (10’s of millions of pieces per day)
  • All ads run off 1 ad server! They can yield optimize every impression.

Facebook has:

  • Over 16,000 applications
  • 650 new apps a week. Top Categories:
    • - Most installs: dating, messaging
    • - Usage: gaming, music, dating, and fashion
    • - High usage/low installs: music and travel
  • Apps account for 6.4% of page views and have 6 mins per user
  • 95% of users have added at least 1 app and 50 engage apps monthly
  • Average time on site of 20 mins /day and 10 hrs /month
  • Typically college educated users
  • Lee Lorenzen (Altura Ventures) predicts 200 million users by the end of 2008

Hi5 has:

  • 80 million registered users with no real overlap with other major players
  • The most popular Spanish speaking social network in the world
  • Upcoming hack-a-thon March 15ht with a March 31st public launch date for platform

Bebo currently has 2000 apps by licensing the Facebook platform (porting between the two is “minimal” effort)

Out of the Stanford Facebook class:

  • 6 apps in top 100
  • 16 million installs in 10 weeks
  • Revenue of $500,000 to 1 million generated since September
  • 3 official companies formed and 2 have been acquired
  • More job offers than the students could handle

All social game panel participants are profitable (in existence 2-12 months)

  • Buddy Media consists of 16 people and is making about $100k a month from 25 clients

App success is defined by some as 100,000 unique users per month

Lookery (advertising network) servers about 1.25 billion ads per month and guarantees 12.5 cent CPMs.

Ad networks currently paying out millions to app developers

Average Facebook app investments:

  • Altura Ventures: up to $100k
  • Softtech VC: $250-500k

Magic Numbers for SaaS Companies

admin 5th of March 2008 by admin

Great article from VC Will Price on Magic Number for SaaS Companies

The Magic Number

The magic number “MN” is a metric that can be used to tell you the health of your company from the perspective of growing monthly recurring revenue “MRR”. It is a common mode metric to compare companies MRR scaled by sales and marketing spend. The MN provides insight into the effectiveness of previous quarter Sales and Marketing spend on MRR growth. Your MN will be penalized if the spend is wasted bad marketing, bad sales execution, if your churn is high or if the market has issues saturation, competitive forces. It also has a very high correlation with Q/Q growth rates so in general, high Magic Numbers are good.

To calculate:

QRev[X] = Quarterly Recurring Revenue for period X
QRev[X-1] = Quarterly Recurring Revenue for the period preceding X
ExpSM[X-1] = Total Sales and Marketing Expense for the period preceding X

Magic Number = QRev[X] – Qrev[X-1]4/ExpSM[X-1]

For example, consider a hypothetical company with the following financials
Q1 Q2 Q3
Revenue recurring total 1M 1.2M 1.5M
S&M Expense 800K 900K

Then the magic number is 1.0 for the end of Q2 and 1.33 for Q3.

Fundamentally, the key insight is that if you are below 0.75 then step back and look at your business, if you are above 0.75 then start pouring on the gas for growth because your business is primed to leverage spend into growth. If you are anywhere above 1.5 call me immediately.

NewBay raises €6.5m from Fidelity

admin 4th of March 2008 by admin

NewBay provider of digital lifestyle solutions for mobile operators – enabling subscribers to create, store, view and share user generated content – and led by Paddy Holohan has raised €6.5m from Fidelity with participation for Balderton

NewBay has over 170 people working for them – not bad for a growing mobileblogging startup….

Graphing Social Patterns

admin 3rd of March 2008 by admin

Just wanted to let you all know that I’m in San Diego this week attending Graphing Social Patterns Conference. This conference is a partnership between Tim O’Reilly and Dave McClure and looks like a great event to meet other social media developers, entrepreneurs, VC’s and other business people. I will do my best to update you on the sessions and key takeaways.

Editor Introduction: Darcy Ward – Canadian – who just completed MBA at UCD – and is about to launch a cool web2.0 company in Ireland @ social networks. Darcy is going to keep us updated on anything interesting from GSP