John Paczkowski

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TechCrunch40: Revenue Models and Analytics

Today’s session on revenue models and analytics, the sixth in TechCrunch40’s two-day schedule, featured the same judges panel as in the fifth session: Roelof Botha of Sequoia Capital, digital pioneer Esther Dyson and VC guru Guy Kawasaki.

Following is a summary of company presentations and what the judges had to say:

  • Spottt: Phil Kaplan, of Ask Pud and F***ed Company fame, presenting. Begins with a bit of history, recalling the ill-starred LinkExchange and its premature death at the hands of Microsoft. Spottt is essentially LinkExchange reborn. LinkExchange founder Tony Hsieh is even an adviser. Same deal as LinkExchange as well: one-for-one ad swap, with no paid ads. (No points for innovation here.)
  • Clickable: “Online advertising made simple.” My God, what a cliche. That said, the company does seem to offer a compelling solution for managing search-advertising campaigns across multiple networks. Offers analytics tools to monitor revenue, return and conversion rates. Another tool gauges the relative success of your campaigns and offers suggestions for improving them. Seems to me a compelling proposition for the harried ad manager or small publisher.
  • GotStatus: Offers a complement to Google Analytics. Systems-management tools that monitor server-side applications in the same way Google Analytics monitors browser data. Tracks metrics like new account creation, database size, etc.
  • PubMatic: Offers a new service that helps publishers run the highest-paid ads from the top ad networks. Sounds like an engaging presentation for the ad-management folks in the room, but I’m finding it a bit tedious–greatly improved by the latest Smodcast.
  • ZocDoc: A service that helps folks to book appointments with local doctors and dentists that accept their insurance. ZocDoc taps into the schedules of participating doctors to maintain an up-to-date schedule of available appointments. Revenue model: Doctors pay to join the service in the hopes of filling empty appointments. ZocDoc is now live with 2 percent of the dentists in Manhattan. 2 percent of the dentists in Manhattan? There’s a metric to build a marketing campaign on. “Using ZocDoc is simple. Just type in your zip code and ailment/disease/injury and then select a medical practitioner from our list of 2 percent of the dentists in Manhattan.”

Judges panel:

Get ready for the next Kawasaki-Dyson slug-fest…

Kawasaki likes Spottt, apparently because “it’s the only one I can really understand.” Bemoans the fact that he didn’t sign on to be an adviser to LinkExchange when he had the chance.

Dyson (who doesn’t understand Spottt’s business model) likes Clickable and ZocDoc. Wonders about ratings fraud and liability issues. Founders say company is committed to making sure the feedback is fair. Offers practitioner the chance to respond to negative feedback and says it will delete feedback that is inaccurate. Seems a simplistic and untenable way to handle this issue.

Kawasaki jumps in and says he’d never use a site like ZocDoc. Asks Dyson if she were to travel to NYC and suddenly need a doctor would she actually use a site like this to find one, or would she call a local friend or ask a hotel concierge. “I just don’t see it,” he says. “You search this site and you’re like, “Oh look, Dr. Molly Adams, she looks nice, I’ll ask her to operate on my heart.’ “

Founders parry and say service is good for illnesses that people might not want to tell others about. “You might ask your friend for an optometrist recommendation, but you might not ask them for someone who could diagnose the rash on your butt.”

Kawasaki: “Sure I would. I’d call Jason (Calacanis); he’s had plenty of rashes.”

(Kawasaki and Dyson are literally saving today’s judges panels.)

ZocDoc question from audience: Is it pay-for-play like 1-800-dentist? Answer: We always put the patient first. ( So is it or is it not a pay-for-play site?)

Kawasaki suggests ZocDoc generalize their business and become a platform that could be licensed and used to create similar services in other sectors. A model. Dyson agrees, but says it’s important to start small, prove your concept and then build out. She adds that she hopes the company has retained good legal counsel to help protect its business model.

Aww, tender moment. Presenting company announces that this is Roelof Botha’s birthday and leads audience in “Happy Birthday Roelof.” Afterward, Botha describes the moment as one of his most humiliating. Dyson suggests he use ZocDoc to find a good psychologist.

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