Well Under the Radar

I am attending the Under the Radar conference at Microsoft’s SV campus today and my first impression is that there is a real resurgence here. The team at DealMaker Media did their homework, not only are these companies very under the radar but they are also really exciting.

The other aspect of today’s event that I find meaningful is that they have articulated the intersection of content, publishing, games, and creation with their agenda. This in itself is interesting because of the cross-pollination that is occurring as companies that monetize with advertising are increasingly using all four elements as strategic levers in their business plans.

One theme that emerges throughout the conference is syndication, a good example of this is AudioMicro which is very much like stock photo services except it is for audio tracks. GumGum is another stock syndication deal but one that focuses on images and the licensing requirements that online usage imposes, but while they say they are competitive to Mochila, I just didn’t see that.

Keibi was, I thought, the most interesting company on the publishing panel but I think they are positioned somewhat awkwardly. I kept wanting to call them a brand monitoring solution even though their solution deal with the placement of ads in user generated content that may be inappropriate. Too many social networks and applications that reside in social networks that depend on advertising forget that advertisers really do care where their ad content is showing up, Keibi gives them control of placement and in effect manages a big risk for brands. Very cool stuff, I could totally see this being applied to widgets.

33Across is an analytics app that helps advertisers and marketers identify influential online users. I like this one a lot, reminded me of Nabbr. This company will get funded if for no other reason than they have a kick ass team with deep advertising and digital media experience. Sometrics also fell into this category and it’s likely to be a sector that sees a great number of companies emerge.

Comedy.com, the long tail for online comedy. Fun, but it’s a serious business and over lunch I heard from Larry Marcus about how it works and why it is different than Funny or Die. Dizzywood is a children’s community and I have to say that, as a parent, there just aren’t enough of these sites, especially for children at the very low end of the age spectrum. I was checking out ZooKazoo just last weekend but it is up in the 7-10 age group, I just don’t see very young kids doing this.

MediaForge is widget enabled advertising…. right up my alley. I really like their campaign-based approach to managing a process, as opposed to providing a technology. We are doing this at the client level but I’d sure like to be able to offer it as an automated process solution.

I ran into Salim Ismail in the hall and noticed his badge said PutPlace, which made me want to go check it out. I guess you could call it life streaming, but it feels like it could be more useful than that.

The graduate circle of previous companies includes well known companies such as Loomia, Wetpaint and SocialMedia Networks.

It’s been a while since I have been to a conference that featured so many companies that I found exciting and new, even though many of them are variations on a theme there was still a freshness about them. Debbie and her team did a great job hosting this Under the Radar.