WebInno28 Preview

Unless something totally random happens we’re less than 24 hours away from the last WebInno of 2010. Not only will Monday, November 29th be the last WebInno of the year, it’s also the fifth anniversary of the event in general. Hooray! Hats off to David Beisel and the rest of the gang for five solid years of technology fun here in the Boston area.

To celebrate, I will once again share my opinionated point of view on the companies that will be presenting at this watershed event.

Here I go!

Main Dishes:

FanSwarm – Let me be blunt: I HATE celebrities. Not as individuals mind you – there are many that I like and respect – but as a class and objects of interest, influence and imitation I am so not into them that it hurts me just to think about it. I do realize that I’m in the minority though. Most people seem to love celebrities, hanging on their every word, watching to see what they’re wearing, what they’re working on, who they’re seeing, etc.

So that makes FanSwarm pretty uninteresting to me. It’s a Facebook game that “tests your ability to predict the latest celebrity buzz . . .” You get to pick from one of three personas – the studio mogul, the super agent and the star “climber” (I wonder if that’s just a nice way of saying what the Rolling Stones are singing about?)

I tried setting up an account but just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m sorry FanSwarm but it’s just too painful for me. If you love celebrity stuff though this might be right up your alley.

How about we . . . – “Put the Date Back in Dating” I’ve been involved with online dating for years. Not as a dater but as a PR guy trying to help companies in this category succeed. First with eHarmony, then with Chemistry and most recently with Meetcha.com. I like the category a lot and am always interested in seeing all the new ways companies come up with to help people meet and get together.

I need to be up front – I’m happily married (sorry ladies . . .) but I signed up to check it out (I’ve already abandoned the account). One thing they’re doing really well is getting member content front-and-center on the site. The only bummer is that the service is currently limited to NYC. They’re going to be launching in Boston at WebInno so that will obviously be changing.

Moontoast – “Your social commerce platform” These guys are promising to simplify the social Web by adding another layer. While that might sound counterintuitive what they’re saying makes sense to me. There’s all this content swirling in all sorts of channels – some of which play nice and others not so much. The idea here is to feed all of your other channels into a Moontoast community and layer commerce on top. I can see the benefit.

One of my current clients, KickApps, has a similar message – but without the commerce focus (and with more developed tools and lots of big brands using them to create and manage sites and communities). I think more companies need to think harder about their communities and their objectives for social media programs. I’m looking forward to seeing Moontoast and hearing what they have to say.

Side Dish Companies

Ginger Software – if you’re like me, and you hear the word “ginger,” you probably think of freakish redheads. (Just kidding.) Ginger is a grammar checking software. I’d like to check it out but at this point it appears to be PC only – and even though my name is GregPC, I’m a Mac user. I’m not one of those hard-core grammar mavens though, so it’s hard to say if the software would really appeal to me.

The online version of Ginger seems pretty cool and I tossed a handful sentences its way and found out my grammar is actually pretty good. I’m sure this post rife with errors though so maybe I should just keep my mouth shut.

My Take – oh great, another place for people to voice their opinions. Just what we need. My Take’s tagline is “opinions shared daily.” Maybe it’s harmless enough, but I get the feeling that all anyone does is share their opinions (me included) and at some point we need more than opinion. As a PR guy, I do like the fact you can create your own polls but I’d like it more if it was a bit more disclosure on the site.

One thing that is unclear, it is just exactly what My Take is going to do with all these opinions they’ve collected. Nowhere on the site was I able to find any indication of the point of collecting all this information. That seems like a pretty basic thing they need to disclose. I’ll ask them about it on Monday night.

Penmia – “You have a Lot to Remember” Okay, maybe I’m missing something – these guys offer a “private” way to record special events, memories, workout routines, etc. Um, isn’t this what little paper notebooks are for? I mean seriously, does everything really need to be digital all the time? Can’t you do this on a blog, on a piece of paper, in any notes application?

It seems like a ridiculous degree of overkill to me. Sure these things are private but they are sitting on a server someplace, which means that at the end of the day others could access them. Take my advice; invest the $.89 in a little notebook you can fit in your bag or pocket.

SocialSci – This seems pretty cool to me. It lets regular Joe’s sign up online to make themselves available for scientific study and it lets researchers tap into a giant pool of regular Joe’s to study them. It sounds like a match made in heaven to me. The site is in private beta now but they seem to have some pretty legitimate institutions – including Yale, MIT and Harvard–onboard.

I would’ve signed up for the beta, but I’m just so darn extraordinary I hardly think I’d fit anyone’s profile!

Smashion – I’m totally not a fashion plate so maybe this community is beyond me. Apparently it’s a place for people to discuss and share and buy and sell fashion and accessories. Not my cup of tea.

I think it’s awesome– and perhaps a little telling–the one banner ad on the site is for a weed vaporizer. Rock on Smashion!

Promoboxx – I’ve had plenty of clients who want to do contests in the past and sometimes finding resources to help has been difficult. Promoboxx promises to change this. I’m going to check them out because I’d love to be able to provide clients with a solution to this vexing problem. Their approach seems simple, straightforward and easy to implement. I hope it’s as good as it sounds.

Woopid – Rhymes with stupid. The site is designed to provide free technology video tutorials. Is currently in beta so the content is limited. I did a couple searches but came up empty. I started a search for Lightroom, application I use regularly, and ended up with a bizarre tutorial – based on “light” on adding graphical elements to a Word document. This video was apparently viewed more than 7000 times – holy smoke! There certainly seems to be interest in what they are providing but the content needs to be closer to what people are looking for; and the name used to be a lot better.

So that’s my two cents on WebInno28. I hope I’ll see you there. I’ll have my camera and will be looking for some new faces to photograph!

5 thoughts on “WebInno28 Preview

    • Thanks Ben, I’m definitely looking forward to checking it out. I don’t have anyone planning promotions at the moment but certainly have recently and have not been bowled over by the process or results.

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