October 23, 2007
Lee Lorenzen from Altura Ventures leads one of the 15 sessions @ App-Camp 2007.
VideoEgg would like to thank everyone that came out to App-Camp 2007. We’d like to give an extra special thanks to our discussion leaders for sharing their insight with the attendees, Dave McClure for kicking off the after-party and contributing to our discussions, and TechCrunch for being our media sponsor.
For more photos, visit the Flickr group here.
October 20, 2007
We’d like to thank our discussion leaders in advance for participating at App-Camp – on a Saturday no less! We have discussion leaders representing the following companies and applications:
We’ve set up topics for discussion at App-Camp (you can download the program here), but the conversations can go in any direction our invited attendees collectively want them to. If you’ve got a topic that you think needs to be addressed that isn’t already, then why don’t you be a discussion leader? We’ve reserved a room for attendees to sign up and a lead a discussion during the day tomorrow. There will be a board for you to write your name, company, and topic, and if people want to discuss your topic they can join you.
We also want to give a very special thanks to TechCrunch for being our media sponsor.
October 18, 2007
Sometrics, a brand new, L.A. based, measurement company for Facebook applications, is coming to App-Camp this Saturday. They are so new that their website reveals very little about what they actually do. I reached out to one of the founders, Joseph Hsieh, to find out what they’ve got under the hood.
The name Sometrics I’m guessing comes from “social + metrics,” and they measure some of the same data as Adonomics, such as total users, active users, growth, etc. What makes them different is that they also measure age, sex, and location of the users of specific applications. Applications need to sign up for this service, and the data they give applications is not made public. Right now the cost is free to applications. You read that correctly, free… but there is an asterisk. Right now they are looking to work with mid-sized applications while they fine-tune everything, and they are a business, so free probably won’t last too long.
The data that Sometrics claims to be able to provide, if accurate, can be a significant value to application developers. Having the ability to track user behavior on a more granular level will enable developers to make changes and improvements to satisfy certain demographics they feel are most important. For brand marketers and advertisers, the ability to see who they are paying to reach is critical. Sometrics even does a great job of graphing data in an aesthetically pleasing way. As trite as that may sound, it makes a big difference when media planners that take the risk of marketing in unproven territories have to do a post report to the brands they represent.
Below is a graph detailing daily active users for apps on their leaderboard.
Sometrics has a lot of potential, not just as a company, but as a door opener for marketers that don’t want to spend the rumored $50-$100K a month for sponsored groups (which don’t even ensure better search results on Facebook), but are wary of leveraging applications for marketing. Application owners should visit the Sometrics website to sign up.
October 16, 2007
At App-Camp we intend on cramming the brains of our attendees with useful information through open conversation, not just one-way Powerpoint presentations. Six hours of using your brain can be tiring, and that’s why we’ve planned an after party that Tracy Jordan (30 Rock) would be jealous of.
At 6pm Dave McClure will officially kick off the after party by giving us a few words about the day at App-Camp and the future of the economy built around social applications. Then we’ll have plenty of food and drinks while we listen to live music, including the band The Hot Toddies, whose song HTML many of us at VideoEgg have a hard time taking off repeat.
October 15, 2007
For every one of the 5,000+ apps on Facebook, there are probably a dozen people that are thinking about making one. One of the reasons I’m excited about App-Camp is having the opportunity to discuss the future of the application business with the people who know it best. So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to ask some of our discussion leaders a question about owning an app and then have a discussion at App-Camp about why they answered the way they did. It should be noted that all of the following application developers that answered have at least one app in the Facebook top 20*, with the exception of one VC that is an expert in valuating apps.
Question: Which of the following fictional applications would you rather own?
A) Music Focused
* 22 million installs
* 8% daily active users
* Has advertising
* Sells songs through 3rd party technology, keeps 10% of sale
B) Fantasy based game
* 2 million installs
* 29% daily active users
* Has advertising
* Sells virtual game enhancers (spells, safety, weapons, etc.), keeps 70% of sale
C) Communication focused (poke, write, etc.)
* 45 million installs
* 10% daily active users
* No other monetization besides advertising
And the answers from our distinguished panel are……
We will be having what I’m sure will be an interesting discussion at App-Camp as to why these discussion leaders chose the app they did. If you cannot attend, don’t worry, we’ll be posting a recap on this site about the day’s sessions, and this one will be included.
*According to O’Reilly research
October 12, 2007
Few applications on Facebook have experienced the growth of Renkoo’s Booze Mail. Check out these numbers:
Virtual drinks sent: 100 million+
Facebook app rank based on installs: #20
Weekly active users: 350,000+
Valuation*: $4.3 million
Mentions on App-Camp’s When Apps Attack! video: 1
Periodic table of Booze for sale on Zazzle: 1
Not bad for an application that launched on June 29 – and the growth rate remains strong and steady. It came as no surprise when I saw job openings listed on their website, but growing that fast isn’t easy. There can be a lot of headaches along the way, and with hundreds of thousands of people trying to be merry and send virtual drinks to the people they love (to intoxicate), there is little room for mistakes.
Joyce Park, CTO and co-founder of Renkoo, is going to be a discussion leader at App-Camp. While the job descriptions on Renkoo describe the company as dedicated to helping their users have fun, Joyce will be able to offer insight on some of the not-so-fun challenges of maintaining Booze Mail from the technical perspective of a CTO, while still having a co-founder’s desire to grow as quickly as possible.
* Valuation based on Adonomics
October 8, 2007
At the Graphing Social Patterns conference in San Jose one major point of discussion is how to bring your existing web presence into Facebook. Linked In CEO, Reid Hoffman, stated in his keynote speech this morning that although he acknowledges the economic opportunity of having an application within Facebook, it still isn’t clear with current restraints that anyone can build an app with enough functionality to monetize it as much as a pre-existing and successful website counterpart. On the other hand, Rock You!‘s Ro Choy, said that once his company stopped focusing on their web site/destination and focused on apps, their user base increased seven-fold.
Both Linked In and Rock You!’s web destinations have been experiencing phenomenal growth in the past year yet both are faced with the question of how much to focus on applications during this significant shift in the social media landscape. Understanding that this is a question many companies are struggling with right now, we are pleased that the CEO of Netvibes, Tariq Krim, is attending App-Camp to share with us his point of view.
Netvibes, with their web destination also in a period of growth, has an application on Facebook that is unique in that it falls somewhere between the Linked In and the Rock You point of view – it is a Facebook application in that it is downloaded through Facebook, but it brings part of your Facebook experience to your Netvibes page (see below). Is creating applications that take you out of the “walled garden” of Facebook the answer, or is the answer “if you can’t beat em’, join em’?” There are a lot of metrics to take into consideration: growth rate, interactivity, new users vs. existing, advertising opportunities, etc. It will be interesting to get Tariq’s point of view.
My Facebook profile info on my Netvibes page:
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October 4, 2007
David Goodrich, a discussion leader for App-Camp, is the West Coast Director for OMD Digital. He knows that Facebook is the buzz around media planners today the way user-generated content was two years ago, or video-on-demand before that. Yet despite the opportunity advertisers have to reach Facebook users while inside its influential social environment, there has been only a handful of campaigns that truly leverage applications beyond simple banner-style and text-based advertising.
With such simplistic advertising being the norm, it comes as no surprise that advertising executive, Andrew Chen, was quoted in the New York Times today as saying, “precisely because Facebook is such an appealing and engaging environment, Facebook users click on ads significantly less frequently than elsewhere on the Web.” That may be true on average, especially if he is including the skyscraper ads on profile pages, but that isn’t true with all types of advertising on Facebook – and it most definitely doesn’t have to be that way if your ad campaign is innovative. In fact, Facebook applications present an opportunity to be far more effective than most web advertising.
With media fragmentation comes fragmentation of metrics and success measurements. The days of standardized metrics across the web are long gone, and that is a good thing. Advertisers can now care less about metrics such as click-thru rates and can pay closer attention to user engagement with their brand; this is especially true with applications within social networks like Facebook, which offer both interactive and viral components. The trick to a successful advertising campaign that leverages an application is for the developer and the advertiser to understand each others expectations and limitations – and creativity, of course.
- Application creators that want to monetize their applications using advertising need to understand what advertisers are looking for so they can build their application accordingly. That means holistically understanding brands’ objectives (which isn’t necessarily going to be just a large number of users on your app), and more precisely understanding how a specific brand wants to measure engagement. This will help application creators develop better demographic-targeted applications and create a level of engagement that is just enough to deliver the brand message, but not too much to turn off the user.
- It is also incumbent upon savvy media planners and brands to understand what is actually feasible while working with applications. Then they’ll have to establish their own engagement success metrics depending on how they envision their advertising woven into the application.
OMD is the world’s largest media planning firm, and David Goodrich works with multiple brands to understand their needs. He’ll bring his insight to help application creators understand what advertisers want so they can develop more advertising-friendly applications that are equally appealing to users.
October 1, 2007
To get an idea of how much buzz the topic of an economy around Facebook has, I visited Technorati and typed in a few key words related to other hot topics for comparison. Here are the numbers that came back:
- Facebook: 386,384 blog posts
- Hillary: 256,924
- Solar: 222,543
- Obama: 216,666
- Ethanol: 41,380
- Biofuel: 2,028
Facebook has more blog posts than the two most blogged about presidential candidates, and more than several key words relating to what many investors consider to be the next big economic boom – cleantech. Why is that?
A major factor is simply because the Facebook application race is open to a much larger group of people. In other words, while environmentally responsible energy and technology will be a huge economic opportunity for many, it takes a lot more money to get started in the cleantech industry. Yet, while a shoe-string budget may get you inside Facebook, it may not be enough to make your application successful, especially if your success metrics are based on monetization. Five months and nearly 5,000 applications later, it is likely that we’ll see a lot more applications fail to experience the growth that many applications have experienced by virtue of just being early in the game.
So if you are an application developer, how do you attract funding with so much competition? We are very lucky to have Angela Strange, from Bay Partners, joining us at App-Camp to help answer that question. Angela is a Senior Associate Partner, and leads Bay Partner’s AppFactory, a fund set up specifically for Facebook applications that has a fast-track approach to awarding funding.
Angela Strange, Senior Associate Partner, Bay Partners
September 28, 2007
There are 17 applications listed under “pets” on Facebook. The top pet application is (Fluff) Friends, and it has nearly 6 times the number of active users compared to the applications Dogbook and Pets, the #2 and #3 apps in the category, respectfully.
What is (Fluff) Friends doing that the others aren’t? Both (Fluff) Friends and Pets have similar levels of interactivity – they both allow you to own or adopt an animal and then you can feed and care for it. Is it that (Fluff) Friends has been around longer? Maybe. Even if that were true, and I don’t know that it is, that wouldn’t explain why the percentage of daily users on (Fluff) Friends is nearly double Dogbook and Pets.
The fact is, I don’t know the answer to why that application has a higher engagement level than the others, but I’d like to because this isn’t just relevant to the “pets” category. We’ve asked the creator of (Fluff) Friends, Mike Sego, to come in and be a discussion leader for App-Camp because we know that he is doing something right that others aren’t. At App-Camp the idea is to discuss with successful application creators and developers what it is that they are doing right. We’ll be asking those questions to developers with apps in different categories, and then we’ll connect the dots. What works for pet applications may very well translate into political, sports, or many other categories.
Whether you are an application developer, an advertiser, an investor, or just want to learn more about why some apps are more successful than others, I’m sure you’ll want to hear what Mike Sego has to say.
September 26, 2007
A lot of my friends, and myself as well, are addicted to the Facebook application, Zombies. I don’t mean to brag, but I’m a level 3 Zombie Ninja and a snazzy dresser.
It isn’t just my friends that use this app nearly daily – Zombies was recently ranked as the 19th most downloaded application on Facebook. To date, over 3.6 million people have downloaded that application. With nearly 220,000 daily users, Zombies creator, Blake Commagere, has some of the most significant information available about user behavior and Facebook applications. That is why we are excited to announce that he’ll be one of our discussion leaders at App-Camp.
Having such a large user base not only allows an app developer to gain a lot of data, it also makes them attractive to advertisers. Before the release of Resident Evil: Extinction, the Zombies application pulled off a brilliant ad campaign for the movie. In terms of audience targeting, it couldn’t have been a better match. I’m looking forward hearing from Blake how that campaign went and what he’s got lined up for the future.
Oh, to think I was just a level 2 Leftenent back then.
September 25, 2007
Via Inside Facebook:
Facebook released some new statistics today on overall growth, user demographics and engagement, international growth, and the Facebook Platform. Some notable numbers:
- Facebook now has more than 42 million active users (double the number one year ago when it opened up registration and growing at more than 200,000 per day since January)
- More than half of Facebook users are outside of college (85 percent of US college students still use Facebook)
- More than half of active users return daily (users spend an average of 20 minutes on the site per day)
- Facebook is the top photo sharing application on the Web
- There are more than 6 million active user groups on the site
- More than 80% of Facebook members have used at least one application built on the Facebook Platform
September 24, 2007
App-Camp 2007 is a Saturday gathering focused on the development of applications within open API environments. This will be an opportunity to discuss everything from user behavior and best practices to technical solutions. There will also be plenty of food during the day plus an after party with even more food – and entertainment to boot! The camp is free and will be hosted at VideoEgg’s office, but space is limited.
To lead up to the event, we’ll be blogging App-Camp updates and industry related news here. You can also check here for a post-event recap. If you have any questions, or if you’d like to be involved, let us know. We can be reached at info [@t] app-camp [d.t] com.