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I’m at a company meeting at and James Hong, founder of HotorNot is doing a speed history and demo. In his five minute talk, he makes three points of particular interest to me:

1. HotOrNot recently went from fee to free because, James says, because the Net is good at connecting people, and HotOrNot should not be putting money in the middle of that.

2. Your HotorNot photo can have keywords, AKA tags, which give people a quick sense of who you are. He says they took the tag idea from LiveJournal, before But, he says, if you have too many tags, people won’t read them. So, HotorNot lets you put music, movies, etc. on yor hotlist. That says something about you. (If you see an item on someone else’s list that you want to add to yours, you just click the plus button.) You can also display these in some flashy widgets.

3. They added HotLists to Facebook, and hit 1M views per day in 4.5 days. Later, in his talk at the NY Tech Meetup, James said: “If I were starting from scratch today, I’d built on Facebook, not the Web.” Facebook wants to be the platform. “If they can pull it off, they’re the next Microsoft.”

Unsurprisingly, at the Tech Meetup, there’s huge interest in building on Facebook since not only is the market there, but the market is already clustered in social networks.

Robin Chase of GoLoco is giving a 15 minute demo at the same MeetUp meeting. (Robin was a co-founder of ZipCar, a success all the more impressive because it was so damn hard to start up.) It’s a terrific idea: Make it easy for people to share rides. She wants it to be more than just saving money on fuel: It should be more fun to ride together than alone. She recounts a trip she took a couple of weeks ago. She posted she was driving a ZipCar from an airport to a college and got an email from someone looking for a ride. It turns out that the guy was going to the same conference, and Robin knew two of his bosses. Otherwise, she might have turned him down. As it was, they they are now friends.

She talks about some of the partnerships they’re pursuing. I think the specifics are not bloggable, but some are not obvious and quite interesting.

She says “GoLoco” means you should go locally, go crazy, and go with low CO2. Clevah!

By the way, I’m glad to say that is doing well, growing 10% per month. (Their only metric is how many successful meetups there are.) I love the Web, but I love faces more than screens. Also, I’m an admirer of MeetUp because it was founded to address a real social need. They are, well, good folk.

Now I’m at a NY technology meetup. Seven of us give five minute pitches, although I’ve been granted ten minutes to talk about my book. (Sanford Dickert did a great job liveblogging the event.)

Robin starts it off by giving the very short version of her demo. It’s even cooler the second time. is about video product reviews done by users.E.g., if you search for “Fischer Price Swing,” you’ll find videos of users reviewing the swing. In this case the most played is about 2 mins long. The ExpoTV person (sorry, I’m missing everyone’s names) says you can tell that the person is a real mom, “not a sweaty old guy in a t-shirt.” You can leave comments. You can see more about the creator. The site sells nothing, but provides links to affiliated stores.

They attach “a tremendous amount of metadata” to the videos by pulling in product info based on UPCs. They syndicate their videos out to syndication partners, e.g., a channel on Yahoo Video and AOL Video. They also use the UPCs to match up with You can ask to see a video on a product by, say, a research-heavy user who has contributed more than 25 reviews. [It’s a great example of pulling together miscellaneous info, in part by using unique and meaningless IDs, and of profiting by becoming a meta-business.]

They have 100,000 videos and two VCs backing them.

Q: How will you screen out manufacturers pretending they’re authentic?
A: We have an advertiser tag since ads are sought by users. We hope our community will suss out the fake stories. And we require people to declare that they’re not affiliated [she said, rolling her eyes a bit].

Q: Multilingual?
A: We think it’s quite portable internationally.

[For products I want to see—not commodities—I definitely would check out this site.] has two products: 1. Show anytihng on your screen to anyone without downloading anything. Simpler than Webex. They charge $0.025/minute/user. 2) For online businesses, customer service reps can see your screen. That costs $50/agent/month.

They’re looking to raise capital and for tech partners works off a browser tool bar, bringing contextual relevancy to you as you’re browsing. It helps you “browse smarter.” E.g., if you’re on an Amazon page, AdaptiveBlue knows it’s a page about a CD and lets you browse for reviews, find other works by the singer or by CD, find photos on Flickr of the singer, create a station on, etc. On a movie page, the choices reflect its movie-ness. AdaptiveBlue cover about 20 categories. The menus personalize themselves based on your browsing history.

It’s Firefox only, but the “smartsLinks” menu adds relevant links inline. They make money through affiliate revenues. lets anyone launch their own own live, 24/7 video channel. It’s free. It is not video on demand. It’s linear. E.g.,, which is aiming to be the first user-created CNN. You can broadcast live or even drag in YouTubes (or from other sources), in case you’re not staffed up for 24/7 broadcasting. It’s all Flash based. The free version puts in an ad every ten minutes. They hope to have thousands of channels. “It’s all about empowering bloggers to take the next step.” It’s now in beta.

Founder Max Haot does an ultra cool demo. While he’s being broadcast live on GroundReport, he adds his name to the crawl, pulls in a YouTube, does some effects, etc. Ooohs and aaahs from the crowd.

Q: [me] How many channels do you have to have to consider it a success?
A: Thousands.

[Very very cool and it may find a market, but I suspect that market’s not going to consist of thousands of amateur 24/7 CNNs. Could it succeed if it instead got 100 channels? But if you’re willing to invest the labor in being on air that much, will Mogulus provide enough functionality? Or, will this be a platform for types of programming that don’t exist because they’re currently too hard. E.g., might a candidate set one up for use by her supporters? The Obama Channel? Or might people build channels consisting of nothing but YouTube playlists? I dunno, but it was a great freaking demo.]

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4 Responses to “Hot demos (and hot metadata) at NY Tech Meetup”

  1. […] a live report from Max at the Cooper Union podium, the crowd sat up and took notice. Bloggers like David Weinberger and  Sanford Dickert recorded their positive impressions. Other presentations included GoLoCo, […]

  2. on 07 Jun 2007 at 9:18 amCameron

    I went to this same meetup. I was intrigued by James Hong’s avid support of facebook apps. I wonder though if he really would just build from facebook were he to start today? How much of an entrepreneur’s ego gets in the way of using another site as a platform? And how much trust can you really put in Facebook? Don’t you more or less hand over ultimate control when you use their site and not the Internet as a platform? I personally think Facebook Apps are genius, but I wonder if entrepreneurs should be more hesitant when deciding to launch from facebook only. What do others think? Is there reason to be nervous?

  3. […] operating system of the Web and it didn’t really make all that much sense to me until I read this post on Everything is Miscellaneous which talks about how Hot or Not (a dating/rating site) recently changed its model from being a […]

  4. […] operating system of the Web and it didn’t really make all that much sense to me until I read this post on Everything is Miscellaneous which talks about how Hot or Not (a dating/rating site) recently changed its model from being a […]