Posts filed under ‘Cool Companies’

International Text Messaging and SMS Marketing Service

Happy New Year! A new year brings new opportunities, a new US President, and new business ventures — one of which launched today under the domain Texts.com.

I have been working on this domain for several months now and am excited about the possibilities. While I have described much of the thinking that went into the business over on the Texts.com blog (so I won’t regurgitate here), I did want to highlight some of the more marketing- and domain-centric thoughts that went into the business development.

Like many ideas, the business started with a great domain name [tip to Seth Godin]. And when you have a great domain name, you can jump-start your business and your marketing activities. In this instance, the domain even has significant enough direct navigation traffic for people who are looking for the products and services that we are promoting. In this instance, the navigators are looking primarily for text messaging-related services (though some are looking for textbooks).

Of course a domain like this also has the added benefit of ranking well in search engines (having a key search phrase in the domain is helpful for ranking well). And for any paid search marketing efforts, it will receive more clicks due to the perceived increase in relevancy by the searcher. And of course, there is the simple psychology of the end user in play, lending legitimacy to the business over competitors who are not so effectively branded.

One of my domain development colleagues identified that the number one thing that he looks for when he procures and builds out a domain name is “size of market” … and does the domain adequately reflect the market. While there is some debate about what constitutes “Text-Messaging revenue”, one has to think that the Amsterdam-based Acision has it pretty close when they predict that total revenues could double to $165 billion in the next three years [by 2011].

Any way you slice it, that is a lot of texting.


January 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

Election Advertising using Search Engine Marketing

I launched another new venture today. This one is called Direct Voter (www.DirectVoter.com). Direct Voter provides search engine advertising for election campaigns.

Direct Voter Logo

Right now, there is a near perfect storm for elections in North America. The US elections are set for November 4. Canada votes 3 weeks earlier in its Federal Election being held on October 14. The media and the blogosphere is abuzz (here, here, and here) with the Obama campaign and its ability to use social media and the internet to control the message as no candidate has ever done before [I think someday there would be a great university paper comparing Obama’s use of Internet marketing with JFK’s use of television marketing, but I digress].

Much like that described here by Joshua Stylman at The Huffington Post, Direct Voter equips a candidate seeking public office with fully-managed paid search campaigns. The search campaigns encompass all major search engines and use keyword sets that are built around opponents, political issues, geographic profiling, and local/election keyword combinations. The end result is that the candidate receives great brand exposure on his or her name as well as engaged clicks through to the election website.

Search engine advertising for election campaigns comes at a price point that provides a far greater return on investment than most traditional forms of marketing (including direct mail, lawn signs, postcard drops, and most assuredly TV and newspapers). With search engine advertising, you also get brand exposure for free. This is because with the millions of searches that occur in your community, your ad will appear. But you only pay when someone clicks on your advertisement.

I must have been focused too closely on the economic impact of search marketing as I didn’t see what may be the greatest benefit of this medium (until my wife pointed it out). Unlike direct mail or postcard campaigns, advertising your candidacy on Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc. has zero environmental impact. What better way to show the voters that you are concerned about the environment than with environmentally-friendly marketing.

Anyhow, if you know anyone who is presently running for office (or is considering a challenge in the not too distant future), direct them my way… or at least… send them over to DirectVoter.com. It sure would be appreciated.

September 9, 2008 at 12:13 am 1 comment

Dreambank.org launches a marketing dream

I attended the official launch party for Vancouver-based Dreambank.org tonight. Congrats to Dawn Bowles and her team for turning this dream into a reality. In their words…

DreamBank.org is about helping dreams come true and doing it in a way that helps the planet and important social causes. Instead of giving gifts that, although appreciated may not really be wanted, with DreamBank you contribute to someone’s dream. As well as helping fulfill a dream, your contribution helps spare the planet some of the nasty side effects of manufacturing and packaging unused gifts. Plus your gift automatically generates funds that are given to important social causes.

What intrigues me about this opportunity as a marketer is one that may not be self evident, but it was a driving force behind Stepcast when I was running this circa 2001. The concept of a wishlist or gift registry (which, when you distill it right down, is exactly what Dreambank is… but with a social conscience) is a marketer’s dream. If marketing is about getting a customer’s attention and getting them to raise their hand, this is what happens in the registry.

Consider a few of the most recent dreams that you see posted on Dreambank. Andrew Halt posted his dream/raised his hand and said he wants to go “heli hiking in the rockies”. I wonder what Canadian Mountain Holidays would pay to be able to contact Andrew? I assume that their marketing budget is pretty standard and that they would be willing to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 per lead. After all, they are doing search marketing for phrases like “heli hiking” [sorry… I clicked on your ad, but I’ve linked to your site, so hopefully you can forgive me]. In Andrew, the marketing effort is done. Now all they have to do is nurture the relationship over a period of months (or years) and then they will have a customer.

Then there is Rebecca Bollwitt of Miss604 who dreams of the bright lights of Vegas and BlogWorld. I wonder what they spend on their marketing budget trying to convince people to come to their conference? Do you think they want to do everything they can to help Rebecca (or her friends and family) make her dream come true?

In any case, the concept behind Dreambank is solid. I don’t know where the longterm vision holds for enabling this (if at all), but it really could become a marketer’s dream.

NB. For those interested, they prompted all of us who attended to add our own dream. I was initially going to try for something simple and realistic, but instead I opted for something more unlikely. But one can dream.

July 11, 2008 at 1:19 am 1 comment

New Ventures BC Competition – And then there were 30

In my post from yesterday, when I mentioned that the announcement for the New Ventures BC Competition was “coming soon”, I didn’t believe that this meant within 12 hours of the post being published they would publish the complete list of 30 BC startups that made it to the next round for the New Ventures BC Competition.

In any case, here is the complete list with the links from my “Who’s who” series:

First Name Last Name Name of business or idea
Alan Cornford TeraTek Inc.
Amber Hayes Adventure Engine: Powering Adventure Travel online: with excellent profit projections
Andrew Fursman CloudTel [ aka NothingNetworks ??… interesting looking technology, but all the Flash on the website makes search engines ignore you.]
Ben Sparrow Solar Desalination [There was a Ben Sparrow who used to work for BC Hydro… I wonder if it is the same guy…]
Bruce Sharpe Singular Software
Camilo Rostoker Scalable Analytics [UBC spinoff. This one looks interesting. “Follow the money” is always a good business model.]
Cynthia Roney PneuVation Medical Inc
David Gratton Project Opus Technologies
David Vogt Crowdtrust Technologies
Dawn Bowles DreamBank [I like this idea, and have met Dawn over the past couple of weeks. I will probably have a separate post about them later]
DeJon Costello “Rain Renewer” Storm Water Pollution Remover [RainRenewer.com is not and has not been registered. Grab it now DeJon!]
Derek Dunfield PLASMID AUTOMATED ROBOTICS [Once again, I can’t confirm that it is the same guy, but there was a PHD student at UBC a couple of years ago who wrote “Crystallographic Analysis of Complex Multiphase Powder Systems: A Synthesis of Theory and Experiment”. Sounds deep.]
Florence Leung PeerFX [Hey… These guys were on Dragon’s Den and raised $200k. I wonder if it is a change in direction from their old plan found here]
Geoff Wensel GR Building Materials Limited [Geoff was listed as the COO of Pitt Meadows’ RoofRoc. I’m not sure if it is a related venture or one in the same.]
Gordon Thiessen Heavy Tool Support Arm [As featured in the Vancouver Sun earlier in the month]
James Sherrett AdHack Media Inc. (AdHack)… Their exec summary was delivered to the VEF here
Jamie Stephen TorchLight Bioresources
Jeff MacMillan Charge It! Payment Solutions Inc. [I think this is the site. It looks like it is related to Richmond’s Aubretia Software, currently being rebranded as Boscana.
Matt Ferguson Progressive Health Innovations Inc.
Max Fanderl BookingCalendar.com
Philip Caines Rezgo – Internet Tour Booking
Saxon Shuttleworth ClicVue
Sean Hodgins QCDocs Systems Inc.
Shawn Pedersen Echoflex Solutions Inc.
Steven Jones Small Energy Group
Timothy Webster Genist Systems Inc.
Todd Winship Primisyn
Tom Koftinoff Portable Logging Trailer Attachment and Clean Energy Engine
Trong Hoang Innisoft – Intellegent Investment Software
Vladimir Savchenko SoundOfMotion
Lani O’Flynn Pure Lignin Environmental Technology Ltd.

June 4, 2008 at 11:42 pm 3 comments

New Ventures BC Competition – Who’s Who (Part 4)

Well it has been nearly a month since I posted part 1, part 2, and part 3 Who’s Who of the Round 1 companies for the New Ventures BC Competition. I figured that with the announcement coming soon as to who has made it down to the final 30 for Round 3, it would be good to finish the list.

As such, without further adieu, here are the remaining emerging startups who applied to the New Ventures BC Competition:

Malcolm Kendall Indel Therapeutics Inc.
Matt Ferguson Progressive Health Innovations Inc.
Matt Holme ForumTrak [behind SoccerGaming.com as well]
Max Fanderl BookingCalendar.com
Mehrdad Gharibnavaz Kimiatech Specialties Inc.
Michael Alexander Crown Skis Ltd.
Michael Jeffs PerformanceObjects Inc.
Michael Johnston Duo [check out their YouTube video explaining Duo and what they do here. Interesting possibility to mesh the social web with Geo-based marketing]
Michael-James Pennie goodboog Global Virtual Catalog Inc.
Montgomery Bondy Brilliant Lighting Products Inc. [here is their US Patent Application for “Energy saving extra-low voltage dimmer lighting system” … it sounds like the kind of thing that
Morgan Lam Pensito [Here is Morgan describing the Pensito concept on YouTube for his SFU business class]
Nancy Lee Personalized Genomics
nicholas goossen The Painters Edge
Nicholas Mckenzie Filmryder Technology [Nicholas… I registered FilmRyder.com…. contact me]
Nick Bouton Protagonize
Nicole Reader The Modern Mirror Inc.
Nigel Malkin Brand2hand Media Inc.
Nikki Layton Volo Innovations Inc
paddy kamen CPlates Inc.
Paul Ruskay The Chronicles of Aveon
Peter Tingling Amadeus Decision Making Software
Philip Caines Rezgo – Internet Tour Booking
Pierre Lapointe Sharing Books
Randy DeLuca RCOTECH WASTEWATER SOLUTIONS inc.
Ray Walia Razor Technology Inc. —- FireTonic mobile content distribution platform [I had coffee with Ray a couple of weeks ago. Very interesting technology.]
reaz baraty reducing GHG by reducing excessive use of vehicles and gradually reducing speed of cars chased by police to full stop
Reno Gajo End-user application software creator/cloner (software tool) […I think this is GenRe Software]
Rian Bowden DailySplice
Richard Schultz 100Watt Solutions Ltd.
Richard T. White Prospero Media Group Ltd.
Richard Tennant Vanport Ecologies Inc. – VASH-ACCESS Model; Vanport Artificial Soils, Hydrogen and Advanced Carbon and Clean Energy Storage System
Riel Roussopoulos StrataXL Software Inc.
Rob Lo Ubiquitous Discussion Forum
Robert McCrea Zebra Logic Inc.
Robin Hiet-Block Vsiant
Ron Zaitsoff custom pipeline Welding Tractor with unique track suspension system
Roy Suzuki Clean electric power generating system
Ryan Rigby PeerMint – Online Peer to Peer Lending
Saxon Shuttleworth ClicVue
Sean Hodgins QCDocs Systems Inc.
Sean Simmons Map Manager
Sean Young Greendex
Shawn Burns Greenhouse Gas Management Business Solutions [this is the Carbon Credit Corp as featured here in the Vancouver Sun]
Shawn Pedersen Echoflex Solutions Inc.
Shoji Kanamori Cooling Device for HTS Industries
simon backer Wireless Image [I’m pretty sure Simon is the same Simon who was the SVP for Wireless Services for MDSI]
Sorin Pasca Beetlecrete Products [Sorin… this is a great concept and something the province needs; however, I would recommend a different product name modeled after the success of “Denim Pine” of a couple years back. If you are stuck on Beetlecrete, Beetlecrete.com is still available.
Sreekant Sreedharan MyOlive Small Business Portal [my guess is you can buy the family portal for the dot com version of the domain. This would be marketing dollars well spent]
Stefan Avall UniversitySolutions
Stephen Jacura PAC RES GRU – Pacific Research Group Inc
Steven Jones Small Energy Group
Tanis Steward iSociety Networks Inc.
Thomas Steiner Etalim Inc. [I am intrigued by this company and their involvement in trying to manufacture a Stirling Engine, something I’ve read about since that infamous “IT question” first mentioned them back in the day …which of course became the Segway. The chairman is also Amos Michelsen (ex-CREO)]
Thomas J. Seitz BAIT-CAR.COM PRODUCTS
Timothy Webster Genist Systems Inc.
Todd Caldecott Chakra Cola
Todd Winship Primisyn
Tom Koftinoff Portable Logging Trailer Attachment and Clean Energy Engine
Trong Hoang Innisoft – Intellegent Investment Software
Valerie Harrison Destinations Multimedia
Vladimir Savchenko SoundOfMotion
wahiba chair PortaReader [Wahiba… PortaReader.com is still available. I would recommend you register it ASAP if this is your company or product name]
Weilin Zheng Online English Education
Will Huggett ALTEN Energy Solutions Inc. [I know these guys well, and I like what they are doing]
William Choi CB Williams Bio-Energy Group – has a Disruptive Clean Energy Catalyst Technology
William Edmondson Transphat Imports
Willy Ferstl Mechanized Shrinkage Jumbo
Zheng Tan Twicebright Lighting Ltd.

June 4, 2008 at 12:54 am 4 comments

Rick Shwartz’ “Vertisi” Interactive Display Advertising

Down in Orlando this week is the Targeted Traffic Show, put on by the Domain King himself, Rick Schwartz. Prior to the conference, Rick promised attendees a revolutionary new product that he expects to be the “next big thing”.

Ron Jackson in his Daily Lowdown of the TRAFFIC conference reported,

“[It] was unveiled right after lunch and the product – dubbed Vertisi – did indeed appear to be a show stopper. Vertisi allows you to lay a piece of film over any piece of glass and that layer of film becomes an interactive touch sensitive display that can be used for anything from store displays to public Internet access available from any surface the film is applied to. A projection unit casts the interactive image on the film. Schwartz has bought 10% of the company and has an option on another 13%. The live demo of Vertisi pulled a shoulder to shoulder capacity crowd into the conference room where it was unveiled.”

Now I am not sure why it was a show stopper, nor do I understand why Owen Frager, someone whom I respect a great deal and is someone who truly “gets it”, would paraphrase Jackson on his blog with the sensational headline of “Schwartz Launches Next Revolution at Traffic“.

From what I understand, this technology has been around for a couple of years now. It looks like Vertisi signed a deal with Portuguese-based Displax back in 2006 according to archived pages on the Vertisi website.

Displax was featured in the 2006 Best Business Ideas by CoolBusinessIdeas.com with the following description:

Displax® projects itself in a transparent, holographic display, with high definition, visible at daylight, captures the customers attention, bonds with the reality of the business of any kind of organization and has customized sizes, witch allows its placement in window stores of banks or telecommunications store, with the certainty that, whoever passes by, will not be indifferent to it. It has a great impact! Displax® – Interactive window will be released in three versions. Displax® Interactive is the solution that allows people to interact with a projected multimedia application, just pressing the display with a finger. Displax® – Network allows managing displays placed in any location of the world, in a remote and central way. Displax® – Show allows you to present, in an innovative way, the products in a display, set in a window-store or inside the shop.

But perhaps this is just another example that those of us who are fully immersed in the next, “new, new thing” always think that everyone is already where we are. Case in point, I was having a conversation about domain names in a general networking session the other day and someone asked me “what a domain was?” [Honest!]. When I got over my shock, showed him the “.com” on my business card, I realized that there is an entire market of laggards and late majority technology adopters that are not where we are yet.

And perhaps it will be the endorsement of someone like Rick that is going to propel this technology forward. After all, the first domain names registered were in 1985-86 and it wasn’t until Rick (and a few others) spearheaded a marketing Eureka! that many still have not heard of.

May 23, 2008 at 1:51 pm 4 comments

New Ventures BC Competition – Who’s Who (Part 3)

A continuation of Part 1 and Part 2.

Hugh Bawtree aPhoneTracker
Humphrey Ng Tech Ambassadors – providing technology access to mature adults
Ing-Wher (Helen) Chen Sherman Log
Irtiza Zaidi Wireless Communities
Ivan Velikov Milliondishes
Jacek Gorwa Collingwood Carbon Solutions (John Turner, Jacek Gorwa, Andrew Flostrand, Khosrow Mossannen)
James Holland Megbro Enterprises Ltd. – Biomass recylcing and reuse – total waste reduction [James… if you are fixed on Megbro as your company name, Megbro.com is available. Register it.]
James Shearer Peragro Media Inc.
James Sherrett AdHack Media Inc. (AdHack)… Their exec summary was delivered to the VEF here
Jamie Stephen TorchLight Bioresources
Jason Khehra mQ
Jeff MacMillan Charge It! Payment Solutions Inc. [I think this is the site. It looks like it is related to Richmond’s Aubretia Software, currently being rebranded as Boscana.
Jeffrey Clark Source the Globe
Jenn Lowther Woopd
Jessica Law Modopost Inc.
Joel Burke E-Port Systems, Inc. [An impressive kiosk. They were the ones who encouraged people to leave their feedback on Massive on the terminals].
Joey Jung EKEM Power Inc. [Joey… Ekem.com is owned by Frank Schilling. It is unlikely that he will sell. However, EkemPower.com is yet unregistered. Pick it up before the bots grab it on a taste.]
John Barson Health Media Marketing, Ltd.
John Grantham Notionlab Software Inc [I’m curious about the relationship between NotionLab and AdHack above. I’m no longer curious. James of AdHack clarified things in his comment below.]
Jonathon Gray PacCard
Katryn Harris Open Box Integration Inc
Kaveh Naziripour Amotrolex Technologies Corp.
Ken Curry RF Therapuetics Inc.
Kevin Ishiguro Universal Discussion Forum, codename “Wukii” [sounds like this is the Scrapboy project that Kevin is involved in, although they have registered wukii.com]
Kirk Arsenault Roadstead Technlogies Inc. home of the Road Runner driveway oil mat!
Kris Noesgaard Udutu Teach & Learn [this one looks pretty interesting. I think I’m going to explore it further]
Lane Mearns Hi=Def Digital Video Solutions for Security and 3D Video Creation
Lani O’Flynn Pure Lignin Environmental Technology Ltd.
Lara Honrado Navigate Media, Inc. [Lara of SchemaMag and Mango Communications
Laura Nastasa I the group
Lina Kay Total heath pat
Lisa Thomas-Tench Kommonwealth semantic web builder
Louise Taylor PoGo

May 2, 2008 at 12:37 am 1 comment

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