Startups: your web site sucks

I visited each website from the list of Demo finalists.

Boy, do they suck. Really, really suck.

Does no one understand how to market themselves?

It’s amazing to me that not a single Demo website has learned from the lessons of Gary Vaynerchuk’s Winelibrary.tv. Now THAT is a Website that knows how to market! (Interesting that Gary runs a wine store that sells $50 million a year, yet no one looks at his style as a great way to market your service/product yet).

Almost no company on this list is using video. Amazing that in this age of YouTube that statups aren’t understanding how to use video, or are even trying to use it.

But some are far worse. Mapflow’s company’s site only has a password protect up for it. Amazingly bad, especially since there are probably thousands of people who will get that as their first experience with this company.

Some other mistakes?

1. Lots of companies have Demo badges, but don’t welcome Demo visitors. Who cares that you’re going to show off at Demo? We do care about what the news will be. So, include something like “on Tuesday you’ll learn how we’ll solve xxxx problem.”
2. Photrade’s website gave me an error.
3. Some, like Plastic Electronics, just have a lame Demo logo and a sign that says “world leader in plastic electronics.” Who cares? What do you do? What is plastic electronics? Or, worse, look at Semantifind. Can’t they at least put up a few words about what problem they will solve and collect an email address? Remember, this is my first impression of these companies. Lame, lame, lame, lame, lame and, no, I won’t be back. Sorry. Usable says “come see us at Demo.” Um, out of all the visitors to your Web site this weekend how many are going to Demo? I’d guess almost none. After all, if you were going to Demo you’d be drinking beer in the bar right now, not checking out the list of startups.
4. Some, like Open a Circle, seem to aim at a problem that doesn’t exist or seem to be too early. They could really help their case by explaining the pain point that they solve.
5. Too many words, like this site at Radiant Logic. I fell asleep as soon as I saw the site. Oh, and lame stock photo too.
6. We’re a “me too” company, like Wild Pockets which looks to me like a copy of Kongregate but Wild Pocket’s doesn’t explain differentiating factor.
7. ToolTogether just gave me a form without explaining a thing about their company. That’s ultra lame. I can’t believe how bad these companies are.
8. Visit this website for Trinity Convergence for 10 seconds. Click close. Now tell me what they do. Buzzwords!!! Convergence? Multimedia? Embedded devices? Mushy marketing and I still don’t know what they do, the value they bring, the pain they solve.
9. Solves problems that don’t exist. This site, TurnTo, wants you to use your friends to solve problems, or find products. Um, Twitter already solved that. Facebook has all my friends. And I’m not going to get them all to join a new service, sorry. Especially one that uses lame stock photography.
10. I don’t know what this service does, but I know that it won some prize from some conference that doesn’t matter. The site isn’t even in English. Sigh.
11. UGA Digital has probably the worst example of marketing I’ve ever seen. It’s the antithesis of what Gary Vaynerchuk does. Who cares whether your team is in multiple countries? I love companies that claim they have “boundless imagination.” Certainly isn’t demonstrated on their Web site.
12. “Download Unity Solutions info sheet.” Ugh, FAIL!
13. Wait a second, this company wants to make a difference in the world? Why the hell are they spending $18,000 to go to Demo? They could have just donated that much money to some interesting charity and gotten more PR.

Ones that caught my eye?

1. Quantivo. Nice design, gets to the point. Uses video. Makes me want to click into the site.

Um, I visited every single company on the Demo list. Amazingly lame companies. Amazingly lame web sites. Is this it? Am I missing something? How did these companies get $18,000 to go to Demo?

Would you write about any of these companies? Did any of them solve a problem you have? Would any of you fund any of these companies?

My answer? No. No. No. Sorry Demo.

Comments

  1. I am SO glad you wrote this, because I wondered what was wrong with the startup sites after I saw your tweet. One of the things I immediately noticed (as a uxp person) is that a company NAMED “Usable” automatically has a much higher expectation to live up to, and sadly, the site fails since it is inherently UNusable. I can’t imagine having the marketing opportunity to be featured at the Demo conference, without a full-fledged website in place. How long ago did these companies find out they would be at Demo? Unbelievable to me, as someone who does promotional branding and gives advice to startups… I guess I’ve done this so long it is amazing that what seems like a no-brainer to me is not obvious to these tech people launching a product. Very curious.

  2. Well, I’ve used Photrade for a couple of months now… don’t know what’s up with their site not loading, but it’s not a bad site normally.

    That said – maybe they all had to take their budget for website design and roll it into the $18k fee for Demo?

    Who knows how startups get 18k for that anyhow?

  3. Well, I’ve used Photrade for a couple of months now… don’t know what’s up with their site not loading, but it’s not a bad site normally.

    That said – maybe they all had to take their budget for website design and roll it into the $18k fee for Demo?

    Who knows how startups get 18k for that anyhow?

  4. Very informative, I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I appreciate your honesty. And no, those sites do look kinda bad and definitely uninteresting. Thanks!

  5. Quantivo does a lot of things right on their site, and it’s very fresh and dynamic in appearance, but sadly, the product itself looks like a Windows 2000 product and doesn’t make use of graphics, charts and icons that could engage users. Another case of not putting the same effort into the product line branding as they did the corporate branding. What a pity…

  6. Quantivo does a lot of things right on their site, and it’s very fresh and dynamic in appearance, but sadly, the product itself looks like a Windows 2000 product and doesn’t make use of graphics, charts and icons that could engage users. Another case of not putting the same effort into the product line branding as they did the corporate branding. What a pity…

  7. I think this is a harsh and unfair review. If this is an attack on DEMO then fine, but attacking the startups with good propositions is not right.

  8. could not agree more… also given the 18k that is needed to demo at demo, is it not a case of these are cash rich startups rather then the best startups ?

    I am not sure, but is TC50 invite only ? so some form of screening is applied ?

  9. I think this is a harsh and unfair review. If this is an attack on DEMO then fine, but attacking the startups with good propositions is not right.

  10. could not agree more… also given the 18k that is needed to demo at demo, is it not a case of these are cash rich startups rather then the best startups ?

    I am not sure, but is TC50 invite only ? so some form of screening is applied ?

  11. Joseph: if it’s harsh and unfair, ARGUE WITH IT!!! Tell me which companies on this list have brilliant Web sites and why I’m totally wrong. Go ahead, I’ll let your post through.

  12. Cuan: TC50 had about 1,000 companies submit to it, then they picked their 50 finalists. Their list comes out on Monday and I’ll give those companies the same harsh and unfair treatment I gave Demo startups.

  13. Joseph: if it’s harsh and unfair, ARGUE WITH IT!!! Tell me which companies on this list have brilliant Web sites and why I’m totally wrong. Go ahead, I’ll let your post through.

  14. Cuan: TC50 had about 1,000 companies submit to it, then they picked their 50 finalists. Their list comes out on Monday and I’ll give those companies the same harsh and unfair treatment I gave Demo startups.

  15. I am constantly SHOCKED at this. I get how old school legal firms wouldn’t understand that they need an effective website but tech start-ups? These are just embarrassing. And they owe you a huge thank you for calling them out.

    To the start-ups who are reading this and cringing at the thought of your own site – hire us! http://www.roederstudios.com

  16. I am constantly SHOCKED at this. I get how old school legal firms wouldn’t understand that they need an effective website but tech start-ups? These are just embarrassing. And they owe you a huge thank you for calling them out.

    To the start-ups who are reading this and cringing at the thought of your own site – hire us! http://www.roederstudios.com

  17. Nice link-baiting post Scoble… since when does the quality of marketing correlate to value proposition? You sound like a beauty pageant judge!

  18. Nice link-baiting post Scoble… since when does the quality of marketing correlate to value proposition? You sound like a beauty pageant judge!

  19. Bob, as a person who helps companies launch products and promote themselves online, I really disagree that Scoble is acting like a beauty pageant judge. If you want to compete, if you want your value proposition understood, if you want to keep your startup employees earning their paychecks (most of them working like dogs) you need to understand how to promote yourself effectively, and a corporate site with clear messaging is the absolute LEAST thing you can do. If you want to be a tech company, there’s a lot more to it than simply making the product. This should be a wake-up call for people looking to launch products. You need the WHOLE package to succeed.

  20. Bob, as a person who helps companies launch products and promote themselves online, I really disagree that Scoble is acting like a beauty pageant judge. If you want to compete, if you want your value proposition understood, if you want to keep your startup employees earning their paychecks (most of them working like dogs) you need to understand how to promote yourself effectively, and a corporate site with clear messaging is the absolute LEAST thing you can do. If you want to be a tech company, there’s a lot more to it than simply making the product. This should be a wake-up call for people looking to launch products. You need the WHOLE package to succeed.

  21. You really are an ass…it is true. You can say the same things in a more constructive way. But drawing on your product experience…oh wait you dont have any in building something….sort of like that Obama chap.

  22. You really are an ass…it is true. You can say the same things in a more constructive way. But drawing on your product experience…oh wait you dont have any in building something….sort of like that Obama chap.

  23. Scobleizer hates DEMOfall 08?…

    Besides, DEMOfall technology conference is much more powerful than video marketing.
    … the six minutes of DEMO time leads to well over 200 million media impressions due to coverage of the show. Over 500 news articles and blog posts are published with…

  24. I puzzled me that Mapflow should have a website called eirlift.com – a search for a company called the same Mapflow Ltd. has the address mapflow.com. Could there be a mix up of addresses?

  25. I puzzled me that Mapflow should have a website called eirlift.com – a search for a company called the same Mapflow Ltd. has the address mapflow.com. Could there be a mix up of addresses?

  26. Robert, VC’s (that I’ve known) don’t invest in marketing. They invest in ideas and bottom line. Most VC’s consider marketing to be something you can add on later. It’s just the way it is.

    Most of the companies you listed are just looking for money or a buyout which is why they suck in the way they present.

  27. Robert, VC’s (that I’ve known) don’t invest in marketing. They invest in ideas and bottom line. Most VC’s consider marketing to be something you can add on later. It’s just the way it is.

    Most of the companies you listed are just looking for money or a buyout which is why they suck in the way they present.

  28. The site for UbiEst S.p.A. based in Treviso, Italy is in italian but there two buttons for switching into english. Of course they should have look into the browser preferred language for a setting as important as that, but beside that it should be OK to have a site that includes the language native to the company.

  29. The site for UbiEst S.p.A. based in Treviso, Italy is in italian but there two buttons for switching into english. Of course they should have look into the browser preferred language for a setting as important as that, but beside that it should be OK to have a site that includes the language native to the company.

  30. Robert -

    I’m sure your points are mostly well taken by DEMO/TC50 presenters, but a few items to point out.

    1.) Video of the product/service(s) – Absolutely, but companies presenting at both conferences are NOT allowed to share their goodies until the date you can and/or allowed to launch.

    2.) Again… None of the companies are allowed to share the time/date of their launch until Monday.

    3.) A site giving error or not loading… Yeah, they better get thing fixed up, but again they are most likely applying final patches/updates and etc.

    The bottom line… None of the sites should be up until the official launch day!

  31. Robert -

    I’m sure your points are mostly well taken by DEMO/TC50 presenters, but a few items to point out.

    1.) Video of the product/service(s) – Absolutely, but companies presenting at both conferences are NOT allowed to share their goodies until the date you can and/or allowed to launch.

    2.) Again… None of the companies are allowed to share the time/date of their launch until Monday.

    3.) A site giving error or not loading… Yeah, they better get thing fixed up, but again they are most likely applying final patches/updates and etc.

    The bottom line… None of the sites should be up until the official launch day!

  32. Hi Robert,

    The marketing copy (wording) used by these sites is awful. No call to action – just stacks of meaningless phrases.

    To get people to ‘click’ links, leave their email address or call you, a business must provide COMPELLING copy – wording that MOTIVATES the reader to take action. This is REALLY basic marketing stuff.

    Great post,

    Jim Connolly
    http://www.jimsmarketingblog.com

  33. Hi Robert,

    The marketing copy (wording) used by these sites is awful. No call to action – just stacks of meaningless phrases.

    To get people to ‘click’ links, leave their email address or call you, a business must provide COMPELLING copy – wording that MOTIVATES the reader to take action. This is REALLY basic marketing stuff.

    Great post,

    Jim Connolly
    http://www.jimsmarketingblog.com

  34. Robert,

    I’m curious why you blocked my comment?

    I mentioned the need for websites to provide compelling copy, to motivate people visiting their sites to click links, call them etc.

    I then gave a link to a site with free marketing information for small businesses. There’s nothing for sale on that site – it’s a free online marketing resource that I provide (there’s no ads there either – totally free.)

    I would appreciate you letting me know what the problem was, so I don’t repeat it.

    Cheers Robert,

    Jim Connolly

  35. Robert,

    I’m curious why you blocked my comment?

    I mentioned the need for websites to provide compelling copy, to motivate people visiting their sites to click links, call them etc.

    I then gave a link to a site with free marketing information for small businesses. There’s nothing for sale on that site – it’s a free online marketing resource that I provide (there’s no ads there either – totally free.)

    I would appreciate you letting me know what the problem was, so I don’t repeat it.

    Cheers Robert,

    Jim Connolly

  36. True:
    Any visitor should immediately understand the business of the company.

    Still there is a difference in websites for User-acquiring, B2C and B2B.
    User-Acquiring (getting the biggest audience possible): the website has to use “gadgets”, “gimmicks”, “widgets”, “video” in order to be splashy/cool for being able to compete with others already in the market.
    (YouTube didn’t look really cool except for the video’s)

    B2C websites need to sell the products – thus less fancy – else you can’t find the products and you won’t buy.

    B2B:
    a) The website needs to be informative and build trust (Scobleizer falls asleep)
    b) B2B companies can address to companies that haven’t a high speed Internet connection. Then Flash, video and widgets become a hurdle.
    c) The decision makers in B2B are 50+ and they aren’t surfing the Internet the whole day. Thus some or many of the metrics Scobleizer demands are in many cases not suited or wanted.

    There are probably more reasons why User-Acquiring, B2C and B2B websites needs to be different.

  37. True:
    Any visitor should immediately understand the business of the company.

    Still there is a difference in websites for User-acquiring, B2C and B2B.
    User-Acquiring (getting the biggest audience possible): the website has to use “gadgets”, “gimmicks”, “widgets”, “video” in order to be splashy/cool for being able to compete with others already in the market.
    (YouTube didn’t look really cool except for the video’s)

    B2C websites need to sell the products – thus less fancy – else you can’t find the products and you won’t buy.

    B2B:
    a) The website needs to be informative and build trust (Scobleizer falls asleep)
    b) B2B companies can address to companies that haven’t a high speed Internet connection. Then Flash, video and widgets become a hurdle.
    c) The decision makers in B2B are 50+ and they aren’t surfing the Internet the whole day. Thus some or many of the metrics Scobleizer demands are in many cases not suited or wanted.

    There are probably more reasons why User-Acquiring, B2C and B2B websites needs to be different.

  38. Without seeing the TC50 list yet, I have a feeling that the TC50 companies will outperform Demo companies in several ways, not just by having better websites and marketing. I am a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a company, individual, etc. by the time and effort they put into their website. Looking at some of these makes me think these companies are a little behind. I guess we can hope that they made a choice to focus all their attention on their products/services and not their website, but I am not convinced until I see it.

  39. Without seeing the TC50 list yet, I have a feeling that the TC50 companies will outperform Demo companies in several ways, not just by having better websites and marketing. I am a firm believer that you can tell a lot about a company, individual, etc. by the time and effort they put into their website. Looking at some of these makes me think these companies are a little behind. I guess we can hope that they made a choice to focus all their attention on their products/services and not their website, but I am not convinced until I see it.

  40. Ha, this post was hilarious to me for some reason. I remember running our startup and Web design is one of the things you “think” you can do on your own. Hell, I’m a developer, I can sling some mean HTML and Javascript, no big deal. My partner did sales, he could write a couple of catchy headlines. We both know some Photoshop.

    Looking back on it, I’m surprised Cisco was able to look past our ghetto site with cheesy stock photography and ended up buying us. It’s almost embarrassing to look back on the sites we put up, and painful to think of the money we probably lost because of it.

    Not so much the look of the sites, but the marketing part of it is really an art. “Back to basics” is a good rule of thumb here.

  41. Ha, this post was hilarious to me for some reason. I remember running our startup and Web design is one of the things you “think” you can do on your own. Hell, I’m a developer, I can sling some mean HTML and Javascript, no big deal. My partner did sales, he could write a couple of catchy headlines. We both know some Photoshop.

    Looking back on it, I’m surprised Cisco was able to look past our ghetto site with cheesy stock photography and ended up buying us. It’s almost embarrassing to look back on the sites we put up, and painful to think of the money we probably lost because of it.

    Not so much the look of the sites, but the marketing part of it is really an art. “Back to basics” is a good rule of thumb here.

  42. Such a blunt and honest post. The design and the message of a site has become so important these days that I don’t think a lot of companies spend enough time on them. If you’re going to have an ugly site, at least keep improving on it quickly until it becomes good.

  43. Such a blunt and honest post. The design and the message of a site has become so important these days that I don’t think a lot of companies spend enough time on them. If you’re going to have an ugly site, at least keep improving on it quickly until it becomes good.

  44. Scoble: “So, now, who is the ass again? Got it.”

    Fantastic post. Why?

    Because companies like this waste people’s time. I don’t even think it’s necessary to go into the overblown ideas et al – it is just plain ridiculous what a mockery this makes of people who actually DO things.

    Wonderful post.

  45. Scoble: “So, now, who is the ass again? Got it.”

    Fantastic post. Why?

    Because companies like this waste people’s time. I don’t even think it’s necessary to go into the overblown ideas et al – it is just plain ridiculous what a mockery this makes of people who actually DO things.

    Wonderful post.

  46. Funny you say that, I did actually go through the Demo list earlier today and was stunned myself at the quality of some of these companies sites. The only thing that made them look impressive at time was the fact that they said that they were launching at Demo. You’d think after spending $18000 or whatever it is on the launch there – that they would have spent a good chunk on wowing their prospective clients when they visited their site.

    There is nothing that puts me off more to be honest than an ugly site. In fact, 90% of the time I may even use a webapp with less features but an overall better interface simply because of the huge impact on my state of mind whilst using it. If i feel like a 3rd rate worker whilst using an app, i’m likely to produce 3rd rate work too…

    Anyway, I agree with you here Robert.

    If any web 1.0 styled sites with web 3.0 technology are out there looking for a slick UI – drop me a note at zee@wedocreative.com.

  47. Funny you say that, I did actually go through the Demo list earlier today and was stunned myself at the quality of some of these companies sites. The only thing that made them look impressive at time was the fact that they said that they were launching at Demo. You’d think after spending $18000 or whatever it is on the launch there – that they would have spent a good chunk on wowing their prospective clients when they visited their site.

    There is nothing that puts me off more to be honest than an ugly site. In fact, 90% of the time I may even use a webapp with less features but an overall better interface simply because of the huge impact on my state of mind whilst using it. If i feel like a 3rd rate worker whilst using an app, i’m likely to produce 3rd rate work too…

    Anyway, I agree with you here Robert.

    If any web 1.0 styled sites with web 3.0 technology are out there looking for a slick UI – drop me a note at zee@wedocreative.com.

  48. I also wish “Bob” up there had quoted one of his sites or whoever he is…these guys who leave these apparently bold statements yet don’t leave who they are should be removed from comments imo – they are worthless.

  49. I also wish “Bob” up there had quoted one of his sites or whoever he is…these guys who leave these apparently bold statements yet don’t leave who they are should be removed from comments imo – they are worthless.

  50. I also had the impression that these sites were not very well designed. I’ve spent several months working hard on a site to get the design “just right” and I fee vindicated that it takes more than a copy of Dreamweaver and some stock photography to create a compelling website.

    Thanks for pointing out what all these companies should have seen from day one. Perhaps you should post some links to some web design firms you think might be useful to those companies?

  51. I also had the impression that these sites were not very well designed. I’ve spent several months working hard on a site to get the design “just right” and I fee vindicated that it takes more than a copy of Dreamweaver and some stock photography to create a compelling website.

    Thanks for pointing out what all these companies should have seen from day one. Perhaps you should post some links to some web design firms you think might be useful to those companies?

  52. Joseph, the post was titled your website sucks … not your value proposition sucks!

    Unfortunately, in our 60 second ‘Are You Hot or Not’ world – having a crappy site just means people are less likely to even dig deeper to understand what you have to offer.

    I would however be interested to see a review that delves into the value propositions and business models of the Demo and TechCrunch50 candidates in the same way. Are they all just me-too social networking, ad driven business models or are them some gems in there?

  53. Joseph, the post was titled your website sucks … not your value proposition sucks!

    Unfortunately, in our 60 second ‘Are You Hot or Not’ world – having a crappy site just means people are less likely to even dig deeper to understand what you have to offer.

    I would however be interested to see a review that delves into the value propositions and business models of the Demo and TechCrunch50 candidates in the same way. Are they all just me-too social networking, ad driven business models or are them some gems in there?

  54. i wanted to make it clear that even tho you will receive a list at 6am on monday of the presenting cos at TC50, the companies are still not allowed to upload their new sites/video demos until after their presentation. i didn’t want your or your audience to see the list in the AM, see a bunch of “login” only pages and think that sucked. as i’m sure w/the rest of the TC50 finalists, the real sites will be up and running in short order about a hr after actual presentation.

    unfortunately, it’s the rules and they have been super strict w/us about launching anything beforehand. so please hold off criticism or comments until after each co presents on each day.

  55. i wanted to make it clear that even tho you will receive a list at 6am on monday of the presenting cos at TC50, the companies are still not allowed to upload their new sites/video demos until after their presentation. i didn’t want your or your audience to see the list in the AM, see a bunch of “login” only pages and think that sucked. as i’m sure w/the rest of the TC50 finalists, the real sites will be up and running in short order about a hr after actual presentation.

    unfortunately, it’s the rules and they have been super strict w/us about launching anything beforehand. so please hold off criticism or comments until after each co presents on each day.

  56. Scoble – your vile remarks are both wrong and misguided. You know that companies presenting at Demo are not permitted to release their products until September 8 (first day of Demo). Yet you harshly criticize them anyway? No responsible journalist would have written such a post two days before the companies are permitted to make announcements. Are you too blind to those rules because you are being paid by TC50 or are you simply a puppet for TC50? And since you already have the list of the TC50 companies, why aren’t you writing about THEM now? Or do you simply not care whether people will find you credible? Maybe the companies at Demo and TC50 will turn out to be lame. But at the moment, the only thing lame is your post. Is this it? Is this what you’ve become. Am I missing something? You’ve turned into the National Enquirer of tech journalism. And boy, does your post suck. Really, really suck. It serves as a golden example why tech journalists like Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher are relevant and popular – they are real journalists – not just by title – but also by their professionalism. I don’t doubt that people still listen to what you have to say. But now they know it’s mostly bullshit. I think you’ll need a bigger shovel.

  57. Scoble – your vile remarks are both wrong and misguided. You know that companies presenting at Demo are not permitted to release their products until September 8 (first day of Demo). Yet you harshly criticize them anyway? No responsible journalist would have written such a post two days before the companies are permitted to make announcements. Are you too blind to those rules because you are being paid by TC50 or are you simply a puppet for TC50? And since you already have the list of the TC50 companies, why aren’t you writing about THEM now? Or do you simply not care whether people will find you credible? Maybe the companies at Demo and TC50 will turn out to be lame. But at the moment, the only thing lame is your post. Is this it? Is this what you’ve become. Am I missing something? You’ve turned into the National Enquirer of tech journalism. And boy, does your post suck. Really, really suck. It serves as a golden example why tech journalists like Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher are relevant and popular – they are real journalists – not just by title – but also by their professionalism. I don’t doubt that people still listen to what you have to say. But now they know it’s mostly bullshit. I think you’ll need a bigger shovel.

  58. Robert, I think you also forgot to point out that DEMO (and I assume TC50) companies are under strict instructions not to disclose any information about their product or company until the conference starts. Many of these websites are likely placeholders for their true websites. Quantivo is actually probably breaking DEMO’s terms of service disclosing as much as they are. While I appreciate your comments on the need for a good website and web marketing, I suspect that you’re not seeing their best face until the show starts Monday morning.

    I think your post is a little early. Had this post been posted on Monday morning, I would have agreed with you. But until then, you’re just being inflammatory.

  59. Robert, I think you also forgot to point out that DEMO (and I assume TC50) companies are under strict instructions not to disclose any information about their product or company until the conference starts. Many of these websites are likely placeholders for their true websites. Quantivo is actually probably breaking DEMO’s terms of service disclosing as much as they are. While I appreciate your comments on the need for a good website and web marketing, I suspect that you’re not seeing their best face until the show starts Monday morning.

    I think your post is a little early. Had this post been posted on Monday morning, I would have agreed with you. But until then, you’re just being inflammatory.

  60. Robert,

    I totally agree with your comment on using video. Can you suggest additional sites (Winelibrary.tv. ) that do a good job with capturing the reader’s attention?

    I am revamping my website and I cannot afford to hire a web designer at this time so I need to do it myself (via Dreamweaver) but that does not mean it has to be poorly done.

    In the end I would love to turn the web page over to a professional but at this time it is not feasible.

    Nice post, you are really raising the expectations I have or my site.

  61. Robert, I think you forgot to mention that companies presenting at DEMO (and probably TC50) are under strict instructions not to release any information about their companies or products until the conference begins. Quantivo is potentially contravening these terms by having too much information publicly available. I’m sure most of these websites are simply placeholders until Monday morning.

    While I appreciate your comments on these companies needing good websites and web marketing, I think the post is a little early and a bit inflammatory. If you had posted this on Monday morning and these companies’ websites were still lacking, I would agree.

  62. Robert,

    I totally agree with your comment on using video. Can you suggest additional sites (Winelibrary.tv. ) that do a good job with capturing the reader’s attention?

    I am revamping my website and I cannot afford to hire a web designer at this time so I need to do it myself (via Dreamweaver) but that does not mean it has to be poorly done.

    In the end I would love to turn the web page over to a professional but at this time it is not feasible.

    Nice post, you are really raising the expectations I have or my site.

  63. Robert, I think you forgot to mention that companies presenting at DEMO (and probably TC50) are under strict instructions not to release any information about their companies or products until the conference begins. Quantivo is potentially contravening these terms by having too much information publicly available. I’m sure most of these websites are simply placeholders until Monday morning.

    While I appreciate your comments on these companies needing good websites and web marketing, I think the post is a little early and a bit inflammatory. If you had posted this on Monday morning and these companies’ websites were still lacking, I would agree.

  64. what a load of crap. i think chris shipley’s post up now should be required reading for all concerned

  65. Scoble – your vile remarks are wrong and misguided. You know that companies presenting at Demo are not permitted to release their products until September 8 (first day of Demo). Yet you harshly criticize them anyway? No responsible journalist would have written such a post two days before the companies are permitted to make announcements. Are you too blind to those rules because you are being paid by TC50 or are you simply a puppet for TC50? And since you already have the list of the TC50 companies, why aren’t you writing about THEM now? Or do you simply not care whether people will find you credible? Maybe the companies at Demo and TC50 will turn out to be lame. But at the moment, the only thing lame is your post. Is this it? Is this what you’ve become. Am I missing something? You’ve turned into the National Enquirer of tech journalism. And boy, does your post suck. Really, really suck. It serves as a golden example why tech journalists like Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher are relevant and popular – they are real journalists – not just by title – but also by their professionalism. I don’t doubt that people still listen to what you have to say. But now they know it’s mostly bullshit. I think you’ll need a bigger shovel.

  66. Scoble – your vile remarks are wrong and misguided. You know that companies presenting at Demo are not permitted to release their products until September 8 (first day of Demo). Yet you harshly criticize them anyway? No responsible journalist would have written such a post two days before the companies are permitted to make announcements. Are you too blind to those rules because you are being paid by TC50 or are you simply a puppet for TC50? And since you already have the list of the TC50 companies, why aren’t you writing about THEM now? Or do you simply not care whether people will find you credible? Maybe the companies at Demo and TC50 will turn out to be lame. But at the moment, the only thing lame is your post. Is this it? Is this what you’ve become. Am I missing something? You’ve turned into the National Enquirer of tech journalism. And boy, does your post suck. Really, really suck. It serves as a golden example why tech journalists like Walter Mossberg and Kara Swisher are relevant and popular – they are real journalists – not just by title – but also by their professionalism. I don’t doubt that people still listen to what you have to say. But now they know it’s mostly bullshit. I think you’ll need a bigger shovel.

  67. Scoble,
    Totally agree with you this time!

    Most of these sites (in their current state) look like something from the 90s, I was actually totally shocked by the lack of quality.

    I think you gave a very fair review of the sites and personally I’d be embarrassed if I were one of these sites that paid 18k for DEMO.

  68. Scoble,
    Totally agree with you this time!

    Most of these sites (in their current state) look like something from the 90s, I was actually totally shocked by the lack of quality.

    I think you gave a very fair review of the sites and personally I’d be embarrassed if I were one of these sites that paid 18k for DEMO.

  69. I agree. They should put a picture of their CEO in the headline with the product over their shoulder pointing at the camera.
    ;-)

    How does TC50′s compare?

    And do the apps match the website?

  70. I agree. They should put a picture of their CEO in the headline with the product over their shoulder pointing at the camera.
    ;-)

    How does TC50′s compare?

    And do the apps match the website?

  71. Most startups have a bad website b/c either a lack of talent in this area from a design or messaging perspective. It is rare to have a fully rounded team for any startup and even if you do leadership has to let them make decisions that make the website rock while being clear. ALSO, not all startups have revenue generation in mind thus they focus on nifty things instead of on how to explain their value to the user which must then be persuaded to pay. Look at the websites that are generating coin and you’ll notice that they probably make a lot more sense and do rock.

    Anon

  72. Hey Robert,

    Would love to hear what you have to say about iLovePhotos, the startup that I work for. I do agree that everything on that list looks like total crap, but would love to hear your take on our stuff.

    The DEMO site points to our company website… but our actual product site is http://ilovephotos.com.

  73. Most startups have a bad website b/c either a lack of talent in this area from a design or messaging perspective. It is rare to have a fully rounded team for any startup and even if you do leadership has to let them make decisions that make the website rock while being clear. ALSO, not all startups have revenue generation in mind thus they focus on nifty things instead of on how to explain their value to the user which must then be persuaded to pay. Look at the websites that are generating coin and you’ll notice that they probably make a lot more sense and do rock.

    Anon

  74. Hey Robert,

    Would love to hear what you have to say about iLovePhotos, the startup that I work for. I do agree that everything on that list looks like total crap, but would love to hear your take on our stuff.

    The DEMO site points to our company website… but our actual product site is http://ilovephotos.com.

  75. I’m pretty underwhelmed with Demo to be honest. Arrington has it out for me and my company due to a stupid and truly armless comment I made towards him about a year ago… we were candidates for the TC40 and all felt we probably would have made it into the TC50, but I am just assuming that Arrington has a personal vendetta against us.

    I’m excited to see what comes out of TC50… but DEMO, not so much. Seems like a bunch of crap to me.

  76. I’m pretty underwhelmed with Demo to be honest. Arrington has it out for me and my company due to a stupid and truly armless comment I made towards him about a year ago… we were candidates for the TC40 and all felt we probably would have made it into the TC50, but I am just assuming that Arrington has a personal vendetta against us.

    I’m excited to see what comes out of TC50… but DEMO, not so much. Seems like a bunch of crap to me.

  77. Right. 70 sites..all sucked. Probably because they were at DEMO. Very mature. Very fair. I’m sure they all sucked.

  78. Right. 70 sites..all sucked. Probably because they were at DEMO. Very mature. Very fair. I’m sure they all sucked.

  79. Doesn’t anybody hire decent web designers anymore? Or was that only startups in the past?

    Wow… Beyond the fact that all but one of these sites ignores the visitor entirely, almost every single one of them is freaking FUGLY!

  80. Doesn’t anybody hire decent web designers anymore? Or was that only startups in the past?

    Wow… Beyond the fact that all but one of these sites ignores the visitor entirely, almost every single one of them is freaking FUGLY!

  81. From the sidelines, this post sure sounds like “If you go to Demo instead of TC50, I’ll subject you to public ridicule not because your product sucks, but because you’ve been too busy building it to worry about a polished 2.0 look for your site.”

  82. From the sidelines, this post sure sounds like “If you go to Demo instead of TC50, I’ll subject you to public ridicule not because your product sucks, but because you’ve been too busy building it to worry about a polished 2.0 look for your site.”

  83. Robert -

    I looked at the sites you pointed out – and checked a couple of others. As friends of both DEMO and TC50, I can say that the difference will be seen at the presentations and the products. I am curious to see whom Jason and Michael chose.

    As for DEMO, I understood that the goal of the $18K was not just for DEMO/Guidewire – but also to provide polish and training to the companies, instead of simply vetting them through an interview process. Both Chris and Mike are good teachers and have been at this for a while, Jason (with his incredible posts) and Michael might not be offering the same model.

    I think both events offer a chance for the companies to get visibility – and should be commended for their efforts to promote. As for improving websites – sheesh, it is a bit*h to get a good website with content – ESPECIALLY when you are trying to get a product out the door and customers built up. Not everyone can spend on a good website or good marketing web copy – I think it takes time and effort and you sometimes need to make a choice.

    Best of luck to all of the 120 companies in getting visibility and funding.

  84. Robert -

    I looked at the sites you pointed out – and checked a couple of others. As friends of both DEMO and TC50, I can say that the difference will be seen at the presentations and the products. I am curious to see whom Jason and Michael chose.

    As for DEMO, I understood that the goal of the $18K was not just for DEMO/Guidewire – but also to provide polish and training to the companies, instead of simply vetting them through an interview process. Both Chris and Mike are good teachers and have been at this for a while, Jason (with his incredible posts) and Michael might not be offering the same model.

    I think both events offer a chance for the companies to get visibility – and should be commended for their efforts to promote. As for improving websites – sheesh, it is a bit*h to get a good website with content – ESPECIALLY when you are trying to get a product out the door and customers built up. Not everyone can spend on a good website or good marketing web copy – I think it takes time and effort and you sometimes need to make a choice.

    Best of luck to all of the 120 companies in getting visibility and funding.

  85. What’s even funnier after reading this (legitimate) tirade is that sites like Semantifind undoubtedly read this as well and changed their sites accordingly.

  86. What’s even funnier after reading this (legitimate) tirade is that sites like Semantifind undoubtedly read this as well and changed their sites accordingly.

  87. Sanford: coaching is a topic for later in the week. I will be just as harsh on TC50 if their companies are as bad in putting a public face up. Jeremy actually my iPhone did the job just fine.

  88. Sanford: coaching is a topic for later in the week. I will be just as harsh on TC50 if their companies are as bad in putting a public face up. Jeremy actually my iPhone did the job just fine.

  89. Robert,

    while i oughtn’t comment to the likes of what sites are awesome and what sites suck and what startups should or shouldn’t be doing, i will say that i can’t help but agree with you about gary v. while his modus operandi might not be for everyone or every product, he has certainly done a brilliant and amazing job of marketing himself… i did not realize he was pulling down that much cash though… now i’m jealous.

  90. Robert,

    while i oughtn’t comment to the likes of what sites are awesome and what sites suck and what startups should or shouldn’t be doing, i will say that i can’t help but agree with you about gary v. while his modus operandi might not be for everyone or every product, he has certainly done a brilliant and amazing job of marketing himself… i did not realize he was pulling down that much cash though… now i’m jealous.

  91. Eric, I read your comment about this post needing a rewrite, but I have to disagree. As a branding, marketing and product launching kind of girl (so admittedly, this is my kind of topic), it inspired me to write a rather long-winded post that took several hours to visit all those sites, wordsmith the post and make links. But it was worth it because it has my gears thinking about things I need to do with my clients, mistakes I might have made in the past, and how I can help clients create and launch better products (not to mention a product I will be launching in coming months.) Thank you for this food for thought, Robert Scoble! :-)

  92. Eric, I read your comment about this post needing a rewrite, but I have to disagree. As a branding, marketing and product launching kind of girl (so admittedly, this is my kind of topic), it inspired me to write a rather long-winded post that took several hours to visit all those sites, wordsmith the post and make links. But it was worth it because it has my gears thinking about things I need to do with my clients, mistakes I might have made in the past, and how I can help clients create and launch better products (not to mention a product I will be launching in coming months.) Thank you for this food for thought, Robert Scoble! :-)

  93. Scoble – you’ve decided not to publish my post (submitted at 5:52 pm today). My friends told me that you’d censor. And you have. Kinda proves my point, doesn’t it?

  94. Scoble – you’ve decided not to publish my post (submitted at 5:52 pm today). My friends told me that you’d censor. And you have. Kinda proves my point, doesn’t it?

  95. Yeah… if a company were smart about targeting an understood pain point and marketing its products on the web, would it need to spend 18k to go to Demo? Is Demo really for showing products to end-users?

  96. Yeah… if a company were smart about targeting an understood pain point and marketing its products on the web, would it need to spend 18k to go to Demo? Is Demo really for showing products to end-users?

  97. @Kris I don’t disagree with the advice, just the presentation of ‘these sites suck, how could they now learn from winelibrary’ as if that’s some kernel of wisdom all bestowed on any with the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s insolar and short sighted and doesn’t provide concrete examples of what exactly on that site makes it THAT site.

    And none of the sites do video, well heh, hope none of them are pitching to iPhone audiences, which is kinda light in the video dept (along with other mobile phones).

    Your point is taken, I just feel we need to watch the watchers.

  98. @Kris I don’t disagree with the advice, just the presentation of ‘these sites suck, how could they now learn from winelibrary’ as if that’s some kernel of wisdom all bestowed on any with the entrepreneurial spirit. It’s insolar and short sighted and doesn’t provide concrete examples of what exactly on that site makes it THAT site.

    And none of the sites do video, well heh, hope none of them are pitching to iPhone audiences, which is kinda light in the video dept (along with other mobile phones).

    Your point is taken, I just feel we need to watch the watchers.

  99. I’d hope the companies at this stage are spending the bulk of their limited time and financial resources on their product first and presentation next. I’m not completely diminishing the importance of the web site early on, just think relative priority is lower. Robert, I respectfully see this as a case of where you’re mostly “correct,” but not very “right.” The facts may be on your side, but your method and filter could use some work. I hope these companies don’t hold your off-the-cuff words against you too much when you ask to interview them later on. Then again, they may not even care. Seems like that’s the world we live in now: Complain and spit and people pay attention and hope they can get noticed when they get spat upon.

  100. I’d hope the companies at this stage are spending the bulk of their limited time and financial resources on their product first and presentation next. I’m not completely diminishing the importance of the web site early on, just think relative priority is lower. Robert, I respectfully see this as a case of where you’re mostly “correct,” but not very “right.” The facts may be on your side, but your method and filter could use some work. I hope these companies don’t hold your off-the-cuff words against you too much when you ask to interview them later on. Then again, they may not even care. Seems like that’s the world we live in now: Complain and spit and people pay attention and hope they can get noticed when they get spat upon.

  101. Robert, I hope you’ll do a similar critique of Techcrunch50 sites.

    This kind of short critique is actually really helpful to those of us who are in stealth mode and have an opportunity to steer our messaging and websites in the right direction.

    Thank you sir, may I have another.

  102. Robert, I hope you’ll do a similar critique of Techcrunch50 sites.

    This kind of short critique is actually really helpful to those of us who are in stealth mode and have an opportunity to steer our messaging and websites in the right direction.

    Thank you sir, may I have another.

  103. Well…for a moment (I assume like most of the other sites that saw themselves ripped here) I was rocked by the words you had for my company here.
    After working through the emotions on my flight towards San Diego however, I realized what I need to do is learn from this and find the positives.

    I have been looking for a way to “get into the conversation” as I know that’s where I need to be and now I have been given that chance.

    This marks a great success for my company, this is the 1st major tech blog to mention our name. (I envisioned my first mention on a blog to be more like “wow, these guys are awesome, revolutionary, and even handsome with the right lighting”. But hey, you roll with what you got.)

    Yup, I admit that the marketing as displayed on our site is not perfect. I have struggled with that and understand it’s a weakness.

    Strengths and weaknesses, everybody’s got em. Pitchers can’t hit home runs and the DH can’t strike out the side. Startups embody that. UGA Digital like many of the companies releasing this weekend at DEMO (and start ups around the world) can hit the ball out of the park with their technology…maybe we don’t have a 9th inning closer on the staff yet, but championship teams are built over time. That is why we are here.

    Our expertise is not in marketing, but…

    If a scout walked out of the gym after only watching Shaq shoot free throws, thinking “this guy sucks”, he would have missed one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

    Scoble: “Who cares whether your team is in multiple countries?”

    Being a Canadian living and working in Taiwan one of the coolest and most enriching parts of my job is that I go to work everyday with people from all over the world. This is part of what makes my job exiting for me, I’m learning about culture at the same time that we are developing technology. I am proud of the attitude and team work of everybody in our company. Should our business succeed or fail, everybody that works at UGA will be culturally enriched for the experience and get much more than a paycheck.

    Surface vs substance:
    I hope and trust that the lack of a pretty face doesn’t lose for all the great start-ups out there the opportunity to show the world how we are going to change it, but I do understand that in this world, books get judged by their covers. “Total package” point taken.

    The most important thing:
    I am the only North American on staff so the English language marketing responsibility falls squarely on my me. So should 100% of criticism. I accept the responsibility for any and all marketing failures at my company.
    BUT, our entire engineering and development staff is ridiculously smart, hard working, creative, and dedicated and they have come up with an amazing product here.
    Don’t fault them for my shortcomings, and give their technology a fair chance when we release it to the world this week at DEMO. Don’t shoot the messenger before you’ve really heard the message.

    Remember that we are all start-ups, that means that we are learning as we go along.
    This is a learning experience for all the companies at DEMO this year. So folks, learn from this and don’t let negativity get turned into more negativity, accentuate the positive. Always.

    To all the companies presenting at DEMO this year: Don’t be rattled, get up on that stage with more confidence than you had before seeing this post. You are brave and you have amazing things to present. The spirit of DEMO (as I have learned during the preparation phase) is stick together, all for one, and take care of your neighbor. I can’t wait for the 3 days ahead and to meeting everyone here.

    Scoble: “I love companies that claim they have “boundless imagination.” Certainly isn’t demonstrated on their Web site.”
    I thought it was a pretty cool slogan, but ok, rather than explain what it means to me I’ll take this opportunity to launch a contest…give me a better slogan. Take the time to understand what we do, and then fire your slogans at us.

    Thank you Robert for getting me involved and for giving me a crash course in the “I better have a thick skin” world of the tech blogger and for a kick in the butt that will get me working harder for my team.

    I’m already having more fun than I thought I would this weekend in sunny San Diego.

    Wishing everyone a great weekend,

    Nick Fothergill
    nick at ugadigital dot com

  104. Well…for a moment (I assume like most of the other sites that saw themselves ripped here) I was rocked by the words you had for my company here.
    After working through the emotions on my flight towards San Diego however, I realized what I need to do is learn from this and find the positives.

    I have been looking for a way to “get into the conversation” as I know that’s where I need to be and now I have been given that chance.

    This marks a great success for my company, this is the 1st major tech blog to mention our name. (I envisioned my first mention on a blog to be more like “wow, these guys are awesome, revolutionary, and even handsome with the right lighting”. But hey, you roll with what you got.)

    Yup, I admit that the marketing as displayed on our site is not perfect. I have struggled with that and understand it’s a weakness.

    Strengths and weaknesses, everybody’s got em. Pitchers can’t hit home runs and the DH can’t strike out the side. Startups embody that. UGA Digital like many of the companies releasing this weekend at DEMO (and start ups around the world) can hit the ball out of the park with their technology…maybe we don’t have a 9th inning closer on the staff yet, but championship teams are built over time. That is why we are here.

    Our expertise is not in marketing, but…

    If a scout walked out of the gym after only watching Shaq shoot free throws, thinking “this guy sucks”, he would have missed one of the greatest basketball players of all time.

    Scoble: “Who cares whether your team is in multiple countries?”

    Being a Canadian living and working in Taiwan one of the coolest and most enriching parts of my job is that I go to work everyday with people from all over the world. This is part of what makes my job exiting for me, I’m learning about culture at the same time that we are developing technology. I am proud of the attitude and team work of everybody in our company. Should our business succeed or fail, everybody that works at UGA will be culturally enriched for the experience and get much more than a paycheck.

    Surface vs substance:
    I hope and trust that the lack of a pretty face doesn’t lose for all the great start-ups out there the opportunity to show the world how we are going to change it, but I do understand that in this world, books get judged by their covers. “Total package” point taken.

    The most important thing:
    I am the only North American on staff so the English language marketing responsibility falls squarely on my me. So should 100% of criticism. I accept the responsibility for any and all marketing failures at my company.
    BUT, our entire engineering and development staff is ridiculously smart, hard working, creative, and dedicated and they have come up with an amazing product here.
    Don’t fault them for my shortcomings, and give their technology a fair chance when we release it to the world this week at DEMO. Don’t shoot the messenger before you’ve really heard the message.

    Remember that we are all start-ups, that means that we are learning as we go along.
    This is a learning experience for all the companies at DEMO this year. So folks, learn from this and don’t let negativity get turned into more negativity, accentuate the positive. Always.

    To all the companies presenting at DEMO this year: Don’t be rattled, get up on that stage with more confidence than you had before seeing this post. You are brave and you have amazing things to present. The spirit of DEMO (as I have learned during the preparation phase) is stick together, all for one, and take care of your neighbor. I can’t wait for the 3 days ahead and to meeting everyone here.

    Scoble: “I love companies that claim they have “boundless imagination.” Certainly isn’t demonstrated on their Web site.”
    I thought it was a pretty cool slogan, but ok, rather than explain what it means to me I’ll take this opportunity to launch a contest…give me a better slogan. Take the time to understand what we do, and then fire your slogans at us.

    Thank you Robert for getting me involved and for giving me a crash course in the “I better have a thick skin” world of the tech blogger and for a kick in the butt that will get me working harder for my team.

    I’m already having more fun than I thought I would this weekend in sunny San Diego.

    Wishing everyone a great weekend,

    Nick Fothergill
    nick at ugadigital dot com

  105. Nick (UGA Digital), I’m imagining that Robert made the point about the comment “Who cares whether your team is in multiple countries?” because no potential customers really care about how enriching that is to you, as harsh as it may seem. The ONLY thing that potential customers care about is what you can do for THEM.

    I’m sure the fact that your team is diverse is extremely gratifying to you, and I definitely understand your pride in that, but that’s more of a back story about your team. When people visit sites looking for solutions, that is not what they care about. Once you draw them in because they see how you can help them, then information like this could serve to reinforce that they made a good choice. But it’s second or third page info, not home page info.

    Robert, I agree with almost everything you mentioned in your post. I understand why people have been harsh in response — you are brutally honest, as always. You may get more people accepting your criticisms if you delivered it a little more diplomatically, but I, for one, would have greatly appreciated your brutal and honest opinion about my startup’s site, once I get it going.

  106. Nick (UGA Digital), I’m imagining that Robert made the point about the comment “Who cares whether your team is in multiple countries?” because no potential customers really care about how enriching that is to you, as harsh as it may seem. The ONLY thing that potential customers care about is what you can do for THEM.

    I’m sure the fact that your team is diverse is extremely gratifying to you, and I definitely understand your pride in that, but that’s more of a back story about your team. When people visit sites looking for solutions, that is not what they care about. Once you draw them in because they see how you can help them, then information like this could serve to reinforce that they made a good choice. But it’s second or third page info, not home page info.

    Robert, I agree with almost everything you mentioned in your post. I understand why people have been harsh in response — you are brutally honest, as always. You may get more people accepting your criticisms if you delivered it a little more diplomatically, but I, for one, would have greatly appreciated your brutal and honest opinion about my startup’s site, once I get it going.

  107. I think they do suck. But, what I walked away from the post was that in todays market is sad to still companies failing to inform and engage a visitor with in 10 seconds.

  108. I think they do suck. But, what I walked away from the post was that in todays market is sad to still companies failing to inform and engage a visitor with in 10 seconds.

  109. Robert, first, I think you are totally bias on your view about videos. Just because you are working with videos doesn’t mean everyone else should have a video on their homepage as well. Videos might work great for your and Winelibrary but not for all the other sites. There are countless of successful startups that can portray their messages without using videos.

    Second, just because stuff works for people in Silicon Valley doesn’t mean it will work for the rest of the world. People outside the Valley might like things cluttered and things that you guys don’t like.

    I love your outspoken style but it’s not cool to criticize people’s work without understanding the industry and the market that those startups are targeting. I’m sure most of them have a reason to setup their homepage the way they do.

  110. Robert, first, I think you are totally bias on your view about videos. Just because you are working with videos doesn’t mean everyone else should have a video on their homepage as well. Videos might work great for your and Winelibrary but not for all the other sites. There are countless of successful startups that can portray their messages without using videos.

    Second, just because stuff works for people in Silicon Valley doesn’t mean it will work for the rest of the world. People outside the Valley might like things cluttered and things that you guys don’t like.

    I love your outspoken style but it’s not cool to criticize people’s work without understanding the industry and the market that those startups are targeting. I’m sure most of them have a reason to setup their homepage the way they do.

  111. Very interesting post; Nice reality ceck.
    I enjoyed reading it.

    Perhaps someone will go ahead and also compares the sites on loading times etc. For example on the Plastic Logic site I got images of 1926px × 2302px (scaled to 251px × 300px). Is there something like a “website checker” that checks your site on how many words you have compared to video/images and spits out some usability help. How big are your buttons compared to the content, how deep is your navigation and how freaking huge your images are etc. Seem like such a service is needed quiet a lot ;)

    Cheers,
    Philip

  112. Very interesting post; Nice reality ceck.
    I enjoyed reading it.

    Perhaps someone will go ahead and also compares the sites on loading times etc. For example on the Plastic Logic site I got images of 1926px × 2302px (scaled to 251px × 300px). Is there something like a “website checker” that checks your site on how many words you have compared to video/images and spits out some usability help. How big are your buttons compared to the content, how deep is your navigation and how freaking huge your images are etc. Seem like such a service is needed quiet a lot ;)

    Cheers,
    Philip

  113. I agree that most of these websites suck. Their products? Well, that’s a different story…

    Take Plastics Electronics. I agree both their website and brand name suck.
    But their product? You will love it!!! It a flexible display!!!

    Check this out, it’s really innovative because so far it was only experimental (by Sony, Panasonic etc…). With this brand, seems like it could hit the mainstream market…

  114. I agree that most of these websites suck. Their products? Well, that’s a different story…

    Take Plastics Electronics. I agree both their website and brand name suck.
    But their product? You will love it!!! It a flexible display!!!

    Check this out, it’s really innovative because so far it was only experimental (by Sony, Panasonic etc…). With this brand, seems like it could hit the mainstream market…

  115. you are only bashing thtese web sits cos you live in arringtons echo chamber and get your American ‘global’ view of the world from your ever excessive and increasingly tedious use of ‘tweeting’

    sorry fail

  116. you are only bashing thtese web sits cos you live in arringtons echo chamber and get your American ‘global’ view of the world from your ever excessive and increasingly tedious use of ‘tweeting’

    sorry fail

  117. STOP! while you are right… few problems. Don’t do video unless you can make it work, like Gary Vaynerchuk and you don’t need to be a Gary Vaynerchuk clone to make it work either. Stay away from stock photo’s, in fact if you can pull it off stay away from photos, they only say more than a 1000 words if they are spot on, otherwise they miss the mark.

    Content is key. So call around to a friend, your mom, you know and watch them go through your website. DO NOT TELL THEM WHAT YOU DO. then when they are finished ask them what you do. DO they know?

    OK now don’t make a long bland explaination of what you do. Keep in short, but don’t make it too snappy, maybe more conversation than marketing. Just my 2 cents. If you change the site and you are panicking, leave it :D

  118. STOP! while you are right… few problems. Don’t do video unless you can make it work, like Gary Vaynerchuk and you don’t need to be a Gary Vaynerchuk clone to make it work either. Stay away from stock photo’s, in fact if you can pull it off stay away from photos, they only say more than a 1000 words if they are spot on, otherwise they miss the mark.

    Content is key. So call around to a friend, your mom, you know and watch them go through your website. DO NOT TELL THEM WHAT YOU DO. then when they are finished ask them what you do. DO they know?

    OK now don’t make a long bland explaination of what you do. Keep in short, but don’t make it too snappy, maybe more conversation than marketing. Just my 2 cents. If you change the site and you are panicking, leave it :D

  119. From that Wine site: “Having trouble viewing this video? Try the Quicktime version.”

    You’re kidding right? Quicktime & Adobe Reader are 2 apps that never make it to my HD.

  120. From that Wine site: “Having trouble viewing this video? Try the Quicktime version.”

    You’re kidding right? Quicktime & Adobe Reader are 2 apps that never make it to my HD.

  121. I’ve read many comments from company sites about this post but I have to agree with Robert. If companies don’t expalin themselves in a very clear marketing way – then why the hell will first time visitors come back.

    The truth hurts but helps!!!

    Adapt and improve or die…

  122. I’ve read many comments from company sites about this post but I have to agree with Robert. If companies don’t expalin themselves in a very clear marketing way – then why the hell will first time visitors come back.

    The truth hurts but helps!!!

    Adapt and improve or die…

  123. Robert,

    Sorry, I’m not joined at the hip on this one with you.

    Each of these sites is under embargo. Each one of these sites will change this week when they embargo is lifted. For a startup, hustling to get the launch of their company going, leaving a little mess here is the usual option, even though you are right–they could have done a better job. But you core complaint is they are not telling you what you want to know when YOU want to know it, rather than when they have agreed to tell it.

  124. Robert,

    Sorry, I’m not joined at the hip on this one with you.

    Each of these sites is under embargo. Each one of these sites will change this week when they embargo is lifted. For a startup, hustling to get the launch of their company going, leaving a little mess here is the usual option, even though you are right–they could have done a better job. But you core complaint is they are not telling you what you want to know when YOU want to know it, rather than when they have agreed to tell it.

  125. But Anthony, I saw something on the DEMO site that said there were 800 attendees… that’s not much, compared to the number of clicks from viral marketing and people they could reach outside the actual conference. (I have no idea if that is correct right now.) As RS points out, they won’t have a video provided for them of their presentation (I assume they could recreate it or tape it themselves there) so the “killer presentation” is only going to be seen by a select few, and reported on by various degrees of professional, non-professional and non-subject matter journalists and experts. Your site is the TRUE source of best information about your own product.

    A presentation is ephemeral. Your website can (ostensibly) last forever. The math on this is very simple to add up, for me.

  126. But Anthony, I saw something on the DEMO site that said there were 800 attendees… that’s not much, compared to the number of clicks from viral marketing and people they could reach outside the actual conference. (I have no idea if that is correct right now.) As RS points out, they won’t have a video provided for them of their presentation (I assume they could recreate it or tape it themselves there) so the “killer presentation” is only going to be seen by a select few, and reported on by various degrees of professional, non-professional and non-subject matter journalists and experts. Your site is the TRUE source of best information about your own product.

    A presentation is ephemeral. Your website can (ostensibly) last forever. The math on this is very simple to add up, for me.

  127. Shel Israel: you are right, of course. But in this case, then, Demo screwed up by releasing that list early. That caused thousands of people to visit this list of companies. That’s OUR first impression of both the conference and these companies. Demo should have held the list until 7 a.m. on Monday morning, which is when the embargo ends. We’ll revisit each of these sites after their demos to see how they do.

  128. Shel Israel: you are right, of course. But in this case, then, Demo screwed up by releasing that list early. That caused thousands of people to visit this list of companies. That’s OUR first impression of both the conference and these companies. Demo should have held the list until 7 a.m. on Monday morning, which is when the embargo ends. We’ll revisit each of these sites after their demos to see how they do.

  129. I’ll tell you one major difference between Kongregate and Wild Pockets: Kongregate doesn’t give you a HUGE, NASTY message saying their games are WINDOWS only.

    I thought I was in a web browser. Not sure why the operating system even matters.

  130. I’ll tell you one major difference between Kongregate and Wild Pockets: Kongregate doesn’t give you a HUGE, NASTY message saying their games are WINDOWS only.

    I thought I was in a web browser. Not sure why the operating system even matters.

  131. Once a company has bought into the Demo or TC50 startup introduction method and put all their marketing effort into polishing their presentation it’s not too surprising that their websites suffer. Why put any effort into the site before the big launch? It’s a quite different technique then the closed invitation only beta and soft launch that most new social web companies are using now. The big splashy launch is a much risker strategy if you are trying to build buzz and you disappoint (i.e. Cuil) but not as risky if you are trying to raise money and you only need to convince one VC to fund you.

  132. Once a company has bought into the Demo or TC50 startup introduction method and put all their marketing effort into polishing their presentation it’s not too surprising that their websites suffer. Why put any effort into the site before the big launch? It’s a quite different technique then the closed invitation only beta and soft launch that most new social web companies are using now. The big splashy launch is a much risker strategy if you are trying to build buzz and you disappoint (i.e. Cuil) but not as risky if you are trying to raise money and you only need to convince one VC to fund you.

  133. If the sites are under embargo why are any of them showing more than a simple logo?
    A simple logo with a “coming soon” or “launching at Demo” would have been a lot better than what most of them are showing the world at the moment

  134. If the sites are under embargo why are any of them showing more than a simple logo?
    A simple logo with a “coming soon” or “launching at Demo” would have been a lot better than what most of them are showing the world at the moment

  135. Catering to your audience is always of prime concern. You can presume ‘who’ but not ‘how’ though, too many website make the mistake of choosing a feature or format because they are familiar with it.

    You either stick to what works or make sucess inevitable (ala Google).

  136. Catering to your audience is always of prime concern. You can presume ‘who’ but not ‘how’ though, too many website make the mistake of choosing a feature or format because they are familiar with it.

    You either stick to what works or make sucess inevitable (ala Google).

  137. It is easy to go through a bunch of websites and say they ‘suck’, because you get hold the bar as high as you like, and you get to ignore whether or not you are the target audience of the company behind the site. Also, you get an almost guaranteed win in the odds game–the odds say that none of the companies in the list will be wildly successful, so it’s easy to blanket them with a ‘you suck’ statement.

    A more rigorous critique would ask (and answer) the question: is there a real corollary between the quality of a start-up’s initial website and its success as a company? Can we take a survey of past internet start-ups that have succeeded and failed and determine whether the quality of their site was a benefit or a drawback in that success or failure? Can we then distill the qualities of successful start-ups’ websites into a set of guidelines that other companies can use to bolster their success?

    Of course, as you get further into those ‘hard journalism’ types of questions, black-and-white analysis turns into shades of grey, and it becomes harder and harder to distill your analysis into a short, controversial post that is guaranteed to get read and responded to by those such as myself :).

  138. It is easy to go through a bunch of websites and say they ‘suck’, because you get hold the bar as high as you like, and you get to ignore whether or not you are the target audience of the company behind the site. Also, you get an almost guaranteed win in the odds game–the odds say that none of the companies in the list will be wildly successful, so it’s easy to blanket them with a ‘you suck’ statement.

    A more rigorous critique would ask (and answer) the question: is there a real corollary between the quality of a start-up’s initial website and its success as a company? Can we take a survey of past internet start-ups that have succeeded and failed and determine whether the quality of their site was a benefit or a drawback in that success or failure? Can we then distill the qualities of successful start-ups’ websites into a set of guidelines that other companies can use to bolster their success?

    Of course, as you get further into those ‘hard journalism’ types of questions, black-and-white analysis turns into shades of grey, and it becomes harder and harder to distill your analysis into a short, controversial post that is guaranteed to get read and responded to by those such as myself :).

  139. amen. how so many folks can be this wrong when people like GaryVaynerchuk are showing you how to do it right – FOR FREE!- is really remarkable.

    the post is a little harsh, but all points are solid. people just need to have the right frame of mind when reading your blog. it’s your blog. your style. your opinions. and they are valid and spot-on.

  140. amen. how so many folks can be this wrong when people like GaryVaynerchuk are showing you how to do it right – FOR FREE!- is really remarkable.

    the post is a little harsh, but all points are solid. people just need to have the right frame of mind when reading your blog. it’s your blog. your style. your opinions. and they are valid and spot-on.

  141. Rivalry & Zero Understanding of What Startups Need…

    If you’re a start-up, here’s the names of two people you should consider ignoring: Mike Arrington and Chris Shipley. Avoid their blogs unless you appreciate what they are there to do. Do not attend their events unless you understand how nobody cares …

  142. I really don’t see why you think the winelibrary site is so compelling. I went there and all I see are a bunch of videos. Why should I have to sit through a video to find out what a site is offering me? I think that’s pretty lame. Give me the text version and convince me that your videos are worth my time. Or is the new standard that Web sites be dumbed down for the illiterate?

  143. I really don’t see why you think the winelibrary site is so compelling. I went there and all I see are a bunch of videos. Why should I have to sit through a video to find out what a site is offering me? I think that’s pretty lame. Give me the text version and convince me that your videos are worth my time. Or is the new standard that Web sites be dumbed down for the illiterate?

  144. Photrade has it’s share of funky moments. I had errors damn near a whole day about a week or so ago. I’d classify it as “getting there”, otherwise a great site IMO.

  145. Photrade has it’s share of funky moments. I had errors damn near a whole day about a week or so ago. I’d classify it as “getting there”, otherwise a great site IMO.

  146. I think that the most easy thing is to blame the others. So let me diagree, not all the sites are bad. And even if you consider they sucks, please substantiate your opinion.

  147. I think that the most easy thing is to blame the others. So let me diagree, not all the sites are bad. And even if you consider they sucks, please substantiate your opinion.

  148. Many companies are great in their business, but with the worldwideweb they have their trouble. The website is for the most people the first impression they get of a company. The user should receive a good impression for the first contact.

  149. Many companies are great in their business, but with the worldwideweb they have their trouble. The website is for the most people the first impression they get of a company. The user should receive a good impression for the first contact.