WebInno24 Preview

Well here we are – WebInno24 is just a few hours away and then that’s if for the year. There have been some pretty good WebInnos this year and I have high hopes for tonight’s festivities. I’m a little bummed that some of the friends I usually attend with won’t be there tonight but I’ll live. If you see me wandering around looking lonely and forlorn take pity and say hello, OK?

Ah enough of that though, it’s time for me preview of WebInno24. Here we go!

Main Course Companies:

On The Spot Systems – Survey On The Spot – take one part location-based service, add a dash of CRM and mix with some direct marketing and you have On The Spot Systems. The idea is to reach customers where and when they are shopping. Seems like a solid idea to me.

The home page talks about being able to provide coupons and whatnot but the only product they have listed on the site – Survey on the Spot is designed to get feedback from customers. What do customers get out of this? I mean if you’re shopping and your phone starts buzzing to ask you questions about the experience it might get a little annoying after a while. Unless they’re going to kick you down some discounts or specials.

I feel like this is happening a lot these days – lots of asking and listening – but at some point there needs to be some upside to consumers beyond the warm and fuzzy feeling we all get by being flattered that businesses care about what we have to say. Maybe they’ll address that this evening.

ThredUP – Go Shopping. In Someone Else’s Closet. Cute tag line – a little creepy maybe but not too creepy. The point here is that we all have clothes that we bought but just never have the occasion to wear. Or we wear them and wish we hadn’t. (If you see me tonight I’ll tell you about my awesome bright red jeans or the $150 pair of John Fluevog creepers I once bought . . .). The company says it’s only 25 percent of our closets but I’ll be it’s way higher than that for many of us.

The idea is simple. You tell them what you like and the size you want and they’ll see if they can’t dig it out of another user’s closet. It’s pretty much SwapTree for clothes. I use and love SwapTree so it stands to reason I might like TredUp. Of course clothes aren’t the same as books or DVDs. They suffer more wear and tear, stains, etc.

The other problem for me (and maybe it’s just because I’m a guy in my 40s) is that I don’t really care that much about what I wear. Jeans, a shirt, maybe something to keep me warm but beyond that I’m not that picky. I suspect I’m in the minority though so these guys will probably do pretty well.

Soon they’ll be introducing the service for kid’s clothes and as a dad I can definitely see the benefit. We used to hand over the stuff our kids had grown out of ti cousins but recently learned they want to choose their own stuff. We’re about to have a glut of stuff and kids too big to fit it . . .

Zoomatlas – Mapping Every Square Inch of America. I really really love maps. I can hang out and look at maps for a long time. I can’t begin to tell you how much time Google Earth consumed for me. I also like user-generated content so if you can mix maps with user info I’m going to be pretty happy.

That’s just what Zoomatlas lets you do. You can provide notes and details on specific places – where you were born, where you grew up, where you vacationed, where you worked – whatever you want. It reminds me a little of SpotStory – another WebInno company that didn’t make it but which was very cool.

The main difference that I see is that while SpotStory wanted you to go and do the mapping and capturing, Zoomatlas gives you the world and lets you fill in the blanks. People have also gotten much more comfortable over the ensuing years with the idea and process of providing location-based information.

When I was first reading about it I wondered about privacy – and that’s still a bit of a concern. You have to be registered and logged in to leave a note like – “the safe is behind the painting in the library” – but what’s to say people couldn’t log in with bogus personal information? I suppose that’s always a potential problem though.

The other issue – of course – is whether or not people are going to populate this thing quickly enough with information that others will care about. It seems like a cool idea but if it’s really sparse I don’t think it’s going to catch on any time soon. Maybe they can talk about how they plan on addressing that issue this evening.

Side Dish Companies:

Blank Label – Blank Label Custom Dress Shirts. I guess it’s fashion week at WebInno. I can get the allure of custom t-shirts but dress shirts? It’s not like these are tailored to you – it’s more about design and fabric. Again, being a 40-something year old guy it’s of limited interest – but if you’re some swinging guy in his 20s with a favorite color or pattern knock yourself out.

Dympol – Discount Your Music Purchases Online. Like most people I get a most of my music digitally these days. A buck doesn’t seem like that much for a song but less than a buck sounds even better. I looked for some music I’ve been listening to lately – Zee Avi and Zuco 103 – there was no Zee Avi and Zuco was only available for full price. Maybe if you dig current pop you’ll have better luck than I did and maybe over time the catalog will grow.

Kango Gift – Send a gift to your friend. Pretty simple idea. You buy a gift and they can redeem it by showing the cashier a text message. With all the interest in virtual gifts it’s nice to see a company that’s letting people use this kind of technology to give real gifts. I mean who doesn’t love a picture of a cup of coffee – but if you can drink the real thing on a friend so much the better.

Kartme – Organize and Share Your Favorites. I never got into delicious but this seems a little like that to me. But it has the added benefit of adding commerce to the mix with price alerts and whatnot. I’ll check them out tonight to figure out what exactly they’re doing.

Present.ly – The Constant Awareness Communication Tool. I guess I don’t see how this is different from Ning on one end of the spectrum of Google Wave. It allows people to share files, collaborate, etc., etc., etc. Again, maybe a demo will help me get me head around what makes this different.

Sponty – Create and discover real social activity feeds and be hangoutable. Aside from really hating the work “hangoutable” I like this one. People add events into themed feeds making it easier to find the types of things you’re interested in. There are other services like this – Upcoming for example – but it’s gotten big and feels clunky at this point. This seems simple, genuine and fairly light weight. There’s also an app which is critical for finding events once the night has started.

That’s all I have. I need to deal with things around the house, help kids with homework and get organized to go over to the event. Hopefully I’ll see you all there and we’ll all see how right or wrong I was about these companies.