Posted on September 8, 2008
Filed Under Web 2.0 Kool Aid |
TechCrunch50 kicks off today and although I unfortunately had more pressing commitments and will not be wading through the crowd of white men dressed in khakis, I did want to check on who the TechCrunch50 companies are and provide my first impressions.
Blah Girls - Backed by Ashton Kutcher, Blah Girls is a gossip site that features a group of animated teenage girls who provide opinions on what’s going on in the world of entertainment
We all know why this made TechCrunch50. Next please.
Tweegee — A hub for tweens, Tweegee offers the youth market a suite of online tools for social interaction and organization
How many of these are needed?
Shryk — Web-based financial software for children aimed at promoting financial literacy and good saving habits
Whatever happened to the piggy bank? Let’s not forget that most adults lack financial literacy and good saving habits. Financial literacy and good saving habits start with parents, not software.
Hangout Industries — Blends social networking with virtual worlds by creating a 3D, online environment where 16-24 year olds can chat and share media
As if 16-24 year olds don’t have enough places online to chat and share media. What we need is to get our young people back into the real world (you know, so that they can drink, party and have babies).
DotSpots — Tracks the memes spreading across the web, aggregates the content associated with them, and gives everyone Wikipedia-like control over that content
Just what the Internets need - memetracker.
Angstro — Lets you set up a feed of news about your friends, instead of news by your friends
It’s a - hold your breath - “friend feed.” Remarkable.
LiveHit — Tracks the music, videos, and entertainment sites people are clicking on right now
iTunes, YouTube, TMZ. Any further questions?
Quant the News — Creator of StockMood.com, a service that tracks the sentiments of online news stories about stocks and then measures their potential impact on the direction of those stocks’ prices
If you want to know how the market feels about a particular chart, all you have to do is look at a price chart. It’s also worth pointing out the old adage, “buy the rumor, sell the news.” Useless.
FairSoftware — Creates virtual shares around software projects that gives each contributor a portion of any resulting revenues
How capitalist. Open-source just wants to be free.
Yammer — A web application designed for businesses and organizations that asks its users to answer the question, “What are you working on?”
In 140 characters, right? This sounds like a corporate Twitter. A friend of micromanagers, an enemy of productivity?
Connective Logic — Along with the company’s real-time middleware, Blueprint will make it easier for developers to design, generate code, and deploy complex multi-core software applications without requiring expertise in multi-threaded software development
Potentially far too useful for the TechCrunch50 crowd. Michael Arrington will want to know if it works with the 64-bit Chrome operating system.
Devunity — A platform for writing code in a browser-based editor that doesn’t force developers to use a proprietary layer
Solution searching for a problem.
OpenTrace - Traces items through the supply chain and adds them together to show the impact of products on the environment
One word: pointless. Nobody really cares.
Burt — Collects user data to tailor individual advertising campaigns and target users more effectively
Targeted advertising? Novel concept.
Adgregate Markets — Brings online stores to consumers through a display ad that is a fully transactional widget
Given the failure of other transactional widgets, I’ll go out on a limb and call this one DOA even though I haven’t even looked at it.
Adrocket — Contextual text-based advertising for email; assigns keywords to each address depending on known demographic and contextual data
Google could easily extend AdWords/AdSense to do this. Interestingly it planned to, but my current understanding placing AdSense code in emails is not permitted. Wonder why.
OtherInBox — Provides an easy way to quarantine the spam and the messages you receive from online services
Thanks, but no thanks. Between throw-away forwarders and the server-based anti-spam application I use, I don’t think I need another inbox.
Tingz — Offers a unified platform for delivering internet content across multiple devices including mobile phones and PCs
MobileMe? Live Mesh?
MIXTT — A group based social network/dating site that encourages real world interaction that’s more comfortable than the 1-on-1 format of most similar sites
Match.com for group sex? That might work.
Unfortunately, MIXTT sounds like a dating service designed for those who are uncomfortable dating. I guess it’s a niche.
Imindi (CB) — Based on neuroscientific principles, Imindi’s Thought Engine tries to exceed human thought and help its users find new ideas, concepts, and questions on the Web
Exceed human thought? I hope this is part of Ashton Kutcher’s new television show, Tech Punk’d, which is debuting at TechCrunch50.
Popego — Surfaces the most meaningful information from within your social graph based on your interests and other factors
Doesn’t Popego know that there is no meaningful information to be found in the social graph?
PersonalRIA — Allows users to shadow a professional investment advisor’s portfolio, automatically executing trades (which most brokerage sites cannot do)
See my comments on the Cakedex and Covestor. There’s a reason reputable brokers don’t let their customers “mirror” the trades of another person. Want a professional investment advisor to manage your portfolio? Hire one.
Emerginvest — Offers commentary and analysis on Emerging Markets and tools that provide you with information on how to diversify globally
Given the plethora of paid newsletters and advisory services that have been providing this type of information for years, it’s hard for me to believe that Emerginvest is offering anything new and unique.
ExchangeP — Dubbed a “fantasy stock market,” ExhangeP’s service allows users to sign up for free and start investing in private companies
Can I short Facebook?
Me-trics — Lets you see how mood, weight, and goals correlate with other metrics, including web services like Facebook or RescueTime
We already know that fat people and depressed people use web services more than their slim and happy counterparts.
iCharts — YouTube for embeddable, interactive charts
Kind of like ?
Mytopia — A gaming platform that lets players compete across mobile devices and social networks
Kongregate has already been moving in this direction.
Tonchidot — Makes the Sekai Camera, a camera system that aims to merge the virtual and real worlds by using a digital device as a viewfinder
Mobclix — An analytics and monetization platform for iPhone developers
No thanks. I keep track of how much money I’m making from my iPhone poker and blackjack applications quite well on my own. No middleman required.
FitBit — Developing a small wireless sensor called the Fitbit Tracker, which automatically records data about a person’s activities, calories burned, sleep quality, steps, and distance throughout the day
Potentially interesting technology but most people know how much activity and exercise they’re engaging in and how well they’re sleeping. They simply choose not to change their habits when they’re not living a healthy lifestyle.
Alfabetic — Translates any blog or Website into another language and places ads alongside it in the new tongue
I wonder if the ads will be as incoherent as the automated translations.
Postbox — Based on Mozilla technology, Postbox saves users time when looking for particular information within their email
My email client’s search functionality seems to do the trick.
Swype — A new method of text input on touch screens; does away with traditional “hunt and peck” in favor of a more fluid motion
Might be interesting but somehow I suspect that getting kiosk manufacturers and operators to change their hardware and software is going to be a difficult task.
DropBox — Provides an easy way to backup your files, share them with coworkers and friends, and synchronize them between computers
I’ve read lots of positive things about DropBox which means that lots of people are already using it. What’s it doing in TechCrunch50? It couldn’t be that it’s backed by Sequoia, which is a TechCrunch50 sponsor, could it?
VideoSurf — A visual video search engine that allow users to search across millions of videos for a given actor and to view summaries of videos through a series of detected keyframes
The technology sounds interesting but I question the real mass-market appeal and Blinkx has already carved out a strong position in the online video search market.
GazoPa — An image search engine developed by Hitachi that uses visual similarities between photos to suggest matches (rather than simply relying on keywords).
Hitachi is a startup? In any case, isn’t this what does?
Fotonauts — A photo sharing application that turns every album instantly into a Web page.
Just what the world needs - another photo sharing application.
Bojam — Although there are a slew of online music services already on the Web, Bojam is trying to do something a bit different: it wants to connect musicians and allow them to collaborate over the Web.
Grockit - A “Massively Multi-Player Online Learning Game”
No violence? Sack it.
Akoha — A web-based social game played with trading cards aimed at spreading good deeds around the world
Bullshit. You don’t need a web-based social game with trading cards to spread good deeds. Good deeds are already being spread everyday by lots of people thank you very much.
Atmosphir — A platform for creating 3D interactive games by selecting blocks (such as a sand castle tower, fireball-breathing bird, or trap door) and snapping them onto a grid.
Similar products .
PlaYce — Provides a 3D virtual world inside the browser for games and social interaction that is based on the real world
Note to PlaYce: a 3D virtual world in a web browser has nothing to do with the “real world.”
Birdpost — A social network for birdwatchers
Looks like this community is doing quite well. It’s not too late for Birdpost to set up a social network on Ning for less than $50/month, though, and pocket the $50,000 it’s sure to win at TechCrunch50.
Closet Couture — Fashionistas need a social network too and Closet Couture is looking to give them one by connecting them to other fashion lovers, stylists, and retailers
Footnote — For those looking to create historical records of loved ones or themselves, Footnote offers a timeline-based archive where you can upload photos and documents linked to historical databases
Sounds a bit like OurStory.com, no?
Causecast — Causecast leverages social networking to connect nonprofits, leaders, celebrities and brands with those who want to make a difference through good causes
Is Brangelina involved? And don’t we have enough already?
Shattered Reality Interactive (CB) — A new massively multiplayer online game (think World of Warcraft) that lets the crowd guide the direction of future expansions
Just as there can only be one Highlander, there can only be one World of Warcraft. Letting the crowd “guide the direction of future expansions” is not likely to be a viable differentiator. Next please.
GoodGuide - Provides information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of products and companies
More eco-bullshit. Note to Al Gore fanboys: I don’t care. I love oil.
GoPlanit — A one-click travel planner that assembles a customized trip itinerary with the click of a button; also supports mobile microblogging
TrueCar - A site that allows users to assess the current market value of their automobiles in a given geographic area
Last time I checked, the website asks for a ZIP code, ostensibly for precisely this purpose.
Goodrec - A mobile and online recommendation service that provides brief, to-the-point recommendations from friends and trusted sources
Frankly, I’d prefer to use my mobile phone to call a friend (or send a text) asking for a recommendation when I need one.
Quite frankly, I’m not all that impressed with this year’s crop of TechCrunch50 contenders. There are few startups that sound innovative and I’m especially surprised at how many are doing things that have been done for years. For all of the drama, is this the best Michael Arrington could attract?
While all of these startups deserve an opportunity to state their case, so far I suspect the startups doing interesting things that will appeal to mainstream audiences aren’t at TechCrunch50. They’re probably too busy building, meeting customers, etc. You know - important stuff.
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