Last night we had some great speakers but didn’t have our usual videos, so I made a few notes over the night.
One of the first speakers was Chris Thorpe, who has recently taken on the role of evangelist for the Myspace developer platform in the UK. I’ve known Chris for a while, he’s a great guy with a lot of experience developing on all of the social network platforms. His talk was really just to say hello, but he also talked about how the strict TOS on Myspace restricts applications from being spammy, yet many apps on the platform are still growing fast. They’re really looking for great apps that add long term value, are social, relevant, and increase self-expression. Because of their stricter TOS app approval can take a while – but Chris gave out his email, he’s happy to look and advise on apps being developed, and he has direct access to the platform developer team in the US. Contact him at cthorpeATmyspace.com. They’ve also set up Twitter/ukmdp to track what they’re upto and other developer focused events they’ll be running.
Next up were Duncan Arbour and Jon Marks from LBi, a large agency. They gave a very funny and candid talk on what brands are looking for in this space, and also how the agencies have been approaching it with clients. One of their main lines of thought, after being burned attempting to make their own apps for clients, is that it’s actually better to find successful applications and to advertise or sponsor these directly rather than to compete with them.
Jon Cole, the MD of AdKnowledge then came up. Adknowledge are the leading social ad network worldwide, serving around 10billion paid impressions every month. They have a very impressive automatic targeting system which tracks not only all the demographic information from users but also all of their interests, and use these to automatically find which combination of applications, demographics has the highest CTR and eCPM.
Jon also talked about the position of adverts within applications, and the importance of ensuring that they are within the natural mouse/eye movement that are made when using the application (as opposed to just sticking ads at the top or bottom). Interestingly he thinks this is the reason Facebook shifted their ads to the right- so that people go through them on the way to the scroll bar.
Reto Laemmler, an entrepreneur and developer from silicon valley, showed us his new Facebook app (apps.Facebook.com/doodlepolls), allowing users to set up quick an easy polls between their friends, e.g to plan a date for a meetup, choose a film to see etc. The app integrates well with their main site (polls exist both within the app and the site when you set them up, allowing users to take part even if they’re not on Facebook), which has over 2m monthly users.
And last but certainly not least Max Nierderhoffer from Atlas Ventures gave us some insight into the VC world when it comes to investing in ventures related to social network applications, with his main advice being to build something and show it works before you go for investment.
We had our AGM beforehand, where I’m very happy to announce that I was elected host and chairman for the coming year. A big thanks to Toby Beresford, who set up the garage a year ago and has done an excellet job on getting us to where we are now, and of course Sun start-up essentials, who have provided us with venue, pizza and beer!