Social Commerce at Ad:Tech 2006

The “Social Commerce” panel I spoke on Tuesday at Ad:Tech has been receiving praise as one of the best of the conference. I think it is deserved, though not due to any self-importance or coolness of the companies represented. The panel was great because everyone came ready to share their thoughts, learned lessons, and advice on how to engage social networks with tools for commerce – how to mashup the worlds of socialization with the traditionally closed silos of financial transactions.

Much respect to Stephen DiMarco of Compete for employing a format which helped limit the all-to-familiar powerpoint abuse issues at most events like these. Each person was given one question to answer using one slide and about ten minutes of time. Everyone abided by the rules, resulting in useful information being shared with the few hundred strong audience.

According to the Ad:Tech blog post on the panel, I said this at one point:

“Most social sites lean heavily on the audience to build the content and evangelize. To do this, he emphasizes exposing consumers to a deeper amount of content to encourage additional engagement.” Sounds good to me! I tend to go into auto-pilot mode when I get onstage, always saying interesting and sometimes profound things, but not really remembering any of it later.

Jeffrey Taylor, founder of, and most recently EONS, a sort of MySpace for the 50+ boomer crowd. Jeffrey seemed most excited to talk about how EONS is now doing infomercial style television ads, and how great the response has been. Apparently, its not as expensive as you think, and with his older target userbase, it completely makes sense.

David Andre spoke about the interesting work Mall Networks is doing engaging with known brands such as NASCAR. Every major brand wants their own commerce site, social networking site, and more recently photo and video sharing site, and these guys are right in the middle of that trend, stopping corporate america from poorly reinventing the wheel, while building customer loyalty in all the right ways.

Geoff Donaker of Yelp demonstrated that if you give people something to do, around a topic they care about, they will go at it like gangbusters. It was also interesting to learn that Yelp started as a social workflow application – connecting people with needs to those who might be able to fulfill the goal (i.e. “I need a babysitter tonight – anyone?”) – would have been a great app! Now Yelp is squarely focused on user generated reviews of local services – restaurants, doctors, bars, salons – (“Where’s the yakatori joint in Manhattan?”) Think Citysearch, but turned on its head so the reviews are the most important aspect of the site.

I had great time meeting all of these gentleman, and was honored to speak alongside. Best of luck to you all.

Lessig on "Who Owns Culture?"

This talk is almost a year old, but Lawrence Lessig has just put out a video, with his voice synchronized to visuals of his slides. Not only is the content important, but his presentation format is compelling and effective.

Oh, and the video is being distributed using the YouTube-like (see player below), which includes Creative Commons licensing in its upload process. has had this feature for awhile now, and its something we’re including in Openomic, as well.

It is also available as Torrent.

Sites that Help Video Producers Make Money

Scott Kirsner, editor of Cinematech has published a free excerpt from his book, The Future of Web Video.


“New revenue opportunities are emerging with the recent boom in video viewing on the Web. On this chart, I’ve tried to list all of the Web sites that enable independent video producers to make money from their work. I’ve ranked the sites subjectively, based on how much traffic and buzz they’ve been attracting, and also how likely it seems that a video producer would actually manage to earn a significant return by posting a video to them.”

Even though we are still in beta, Cruxy has been included in this list, along with many other great sites – some competitors and others with different approaches to making money. View the full chart and buy the book on Scott’s website. (Thanks, Scott!)

Open your Apple TV to more content…

Mux, the video conversion service we released last month, can provide owners of the new Apple TV a way to access video not supported by the device natively. This includes Flash video (YouTube, DailyMotion), Windows Media, AVI, and more.

Each Mux user is provided a personalized RSS 2.0 with enclosures “podcast” feed of all the videos they transcode using the service. This feed can be added into iTunes through a single click on the “iTunes podcast” link, available after you submit a video to mux using the form on the site or through the browser button.


All videos transcoded using Mux for the specified email address will appear in this feed and be automatically downloaded. You may need to “refresh” your podcast feeds in iTunes first to make the new video appear. Also, make sure to select MPEG-4, MOV, or M4V as your output format to produce mux’d videos which are compatible with iTunes, iPods, and Apple TV.


Once a video is downloaded, it can be played in iTunes, synced to an iPod, or watched on a television set through Apple TV. Read this detailed support article for instructions on configuring a podcast to be viewed on an Apple TV.


If anyone out there has any modifications or clarifications to this process, please let us know by leaving a comment on this blog.

We’ll also be discussing the Apple TV and other home media devices here more in the coming weeks, and how they can be used to watch DRM-free media purchased online from Cruxy in your living room.