72 Nice Things about Demo’s Startups’ Websites

OK, OK, I’ve had my weekend fun when I said, on Saturday, that most of the sites for the companies being shown at the Demo Conference suck. That conference starts later today. I got half the industry to hate me. I have people wondering if I’m a paid shill for Arrington or TC50. Hate mail continues flowing in. Etc. Etc.

That’s what happens when you only look for the bad.

So, what’s the good? Well, let’s go through these and pull out something nice about each one. Keep in mind I’m only talking about the Websites, not the company or the product/service (I should have been far clearer about that on Saturday). Many still don’t have their service or product up, so we’ll have to judge those later in the week. This was a LOT harder than finding what was bad. I’m sorry, but these sites are really hard to praise. Compare this list to the “Gold Standard” list we posted yesterday. The difference is very telling.

Accordia Group, LLC; New Rochelle, NY;
NICE? The contact us page has a real phone number.

Adapx, Inc.; Seattle, WA;
NICE? Cool pull-down menus.

Alerts.com, Inc.; Bellvue, WA;
NICE? The site talks about you and what the service does for you. Nice color scheme.

Arsenal Interactive, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;
NICE? Clean uncluttered design. Makes me want to learn more.

Asyncast Corp; Campbell, CA;
NICE? Clear call to action “Sign me up!”

Awind Inc.; Junghe, Taiwan;
NICE? It was hard to find something nice about this one, but supports multiple languages is about it.

beeTV; Milano, Italy;
NICE? Good use of stock photos. By graying them out and animating logos in, gives it a cool feel.

Best Buy; Minneapolis, MN;
NICE? Very clear progression of what you’ll get if you try this. Nice use of demos too.

BizEquity Corp.; Spring House, PA;
NICE? Sorry, nothing nice to say. Still has a page up that says to check back on Monday, September 8th. Well, it IS Monday.

Cerego; Tokyo, Japan;
NICE? Uses OpenID.

Cinergix, Pty Ltd.; Melbourne, Australia;
NICE? Good way to get people to sign up for a beta.

Clintworld; Boenningstedt, Germany;
NICE? Clean, professional design.

CoreTrace Corp.; Austin, TX;
NICE? Good video demo. Shows the presenter as well as what’s on screen.

crowdSPRING, LLC; Chicago, IL;
NICE? The visual aesthetic here is the best I’ve seen in this group.

DesignIn, Inc.; Marblehead, MA;
NICE? First site so far that looks like it will show you something different if you’re logged in. This could be a cool product (3D designer for your home) and is one of those I’m looking forward to playing with this week.

Dial Directions, Inc.; Alameda, CA;
NICE? I missed the video on this site because I saw the comic and thought that was goofy. But, oh well, the video is nice and I have added this to my phone’s speed dial already.

DOCCENTER; Omaha, NE;
NICE? I love the “Subscribe RSS” link. That tells me this site will be updated and if I care about the offerings here I can have that stuff shoved to my RSS Reader. I said three years ago that you should be fired if you are a marketer and you don’t have an RSS feed on your site and I still believe that.

Enterprise Informatics, Inc.; San Diego, CA;
NICE? Google ads will fit right in here. Seriously, that’s about all I can say that’s nice about this one, sorry.

Familybuilder; New York, NY;
NICE? This genealogy app gets you back to your favorite social network fast.

ffwd.com, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
NICE? Home page said “site is down” when I visited at 1:10 a.m. but it has a very cool color scheme and nice logo design.

Fortressware, Inc.; Mountain View, CA;
NICE? Good value statement. A new way to protect my data.

Fusion-io; Salt Lake City, UT;
NICE? Aesthetically awesome.

G.ho.st; Ramallah & Modin, Palestine and Israel;
NICE? Love the benefit statement, the slight animation, and the product. I should have been nicer to this site on Saturday, it deserved to be pulled out and complimented.

Green Sherpa; Santa Barbara, CA;
NICE? Communicates a TON in one screen.

Infovell, Inc.; Menlo Park, CA;
NICE? Nice stock photo. This is one that I really had to dig down deep to find something nice to say.

Intelius, Inc.; Bellevue, WA;
NICE? Ahh, a search box for people. On the other hand it found something that said I was a founder of Six Apart. Um, you might want to look into THAT. Heheh.

Invision TV, LLC; Bethesda, MD;
NICE? This is a demo I’m looking forward to seeing. Nice Flash-based site. Lots of animation and good aesthetic and all that.

iWidgets, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
NICE? Good demo and nice layout.

Kadoo Inc.; Washington, DC;
NICE? Nice animation.

Koollage, Inc.; San Jose, CA;
NICE? They are revving up their “Kool Factor.” Sigh.

Mapflow, Ltd.; Cork, Ireland;
NICE? FAIL. Says I need a username and password just to visit their site.

Maverick Mobile Solutions, Pvt. Ltd.; Maharashtra, India;
NICE? Sorry, I’ll wait until later in the week.

MeDeploy; Hamden, CT;
NICE? I get the point of what this company does fast.

Message Sling; Worcester, MA;
NICE? Nice signup button. Actually, this is one of the companies I’m looking forward to getting a demo of.

MeWorks, Inc.; Taipei, Taiwan;
NICE? Good “keep me posted” submission box.

Microstaq, Inc.; Austin, TX;
NICE? Nice slogan “innovations that flow.” Why? It matches their product line.

MixMatchMusic, Ltd.; Burlingame, CA;
NICE? Nice way to let beta users in, while informing others and collecting email addresses. This looks like it could be an interesting music service, so we’ll revisit later in the week.

Momindum; Paris, France;
NICE? They integrate with my old company’s products (Winnov) so that’s gotta be nice.

OpenACircle.com; Dallas, TX;
NICE? The CEO blogs. I like the human element. Of course this is a social network/collaborative tool, so you’d expect them to get the value of putting humans on your corporate site.

Paidinterviews, LLC; McLean, VA;
NICE? Very clear, 1,2,3,4 about how this site will help you. Videos don’t work, but I assume they’ll get turned on later today.

Paragent, LLC; Muncie, IN;
NICE? Love a site that has a call to action right in your face. “Watch Demo Now.”

Photrade, LLC; Cincinnati, OH;
NICE? Nice, clear representation of value “get paid for your photos.” I love sites with clear, no BS, language.

PlanDone, Inc.; Petaluma, CA;
NICE? I love testimonials. By the way, are these stock photos? Or, did they spend real money to shoot unique photos?

Plastic Logic, Ltd.; Mountain View, CA;
NICE? Ummmm. Nice super-huge graphics. Oh, wait, I’m supposed to say something nice. Um, gee, er, ahh, well, um, can’t, sorry.

Qtask, Inc.; Burbank, CA;
NICE? They have the best video demo/tour I’ve seen so far.

Quantivo Corp.; San Mateo, CA;
NICE? This was the one site that caught my eye on Saturday and it, again, is my favorite so far.

Radiant Logic, Inc.; Novato, CA;
NICE? Big customers! Tells me this costs a lot of money and probably isn’t sold by visits to the site.

RealNetworks, Inc.; Seattle, WA;
NICE? I’ll skip this one, cause it’s not of something that’ll be shown at Demo so I’ll have to come back.

Rebus Technology, Inc.; Cupertino, CA;
NICE? It’s blue. The autoplaying music woke me up at 2:24 a.m.

RemoTV, Inc.; New Haven, CT;
NICE? Red! Need I say more?

Rudder, Inc.; Houston, TX;
NICE? This site, instead of using a stock photo that looks lame, used its product right in your face. Makes me want to try it.

Semanti Corp.; Alberta, Canada;
NICE? Tight writing.

Sim Ops Studios, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
NICE? I love sneak peaks.

SitScape, Inc.; Vienna, VA;
NICE? Nice arrows.

SkyData Systems, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;
NICE? Actually this is a site I could probably have been nicer to on Saturday. Glad to finally see a site talking about price. I hate it when companies don’t tell you what things cost and use that as a lead generation device.

SpinSpotter; Seattle, WA;
NICE? I wonder if they’d spot this spin? Hmmm.

Telnic, Ltd.; London, England;
NICE? Clean and gets to the point fast.

TetraBase, LLC; Boothwyn, PA;
NICE? A non-rectangular design.

The Echo Nest Corp.; Somerville, MA;
NICE? Like the design. Looking forward to trying this music recommending service this week.

tikitag, an Alcatel-Lucent Venture; Antwerp, Belgium;
NICE? I think this might be most improved site in two days. Nice video that explains what this does.

Toolgether; San Mateo, CA;
NICE? Sorry, can’t say anything nice yet.

TravelMuse, Inc.; Los Altos, CA;
NICE? I want to go to Hawaii after visiting this site.

Trinity Convergence, Inc.; Durham, NC;
NICE? I wanna hear more about their picture frames and what makes them different.

TurnTo Networks, Inc.; New York, NY;
NICE? Video demo is good.

UbiEst S.p.A.; Treviso, Italy;
NICE? I bet the demo is nice. I want to see if it’ll make my mobile phone more useful.

UGA Digital, Inc.; Taipei, Taiwan;
NICE? Nice 3D logo. I wish I had a sense of what their photo frame does, though.

Unity Solutions, LLC; Clearwater, FL;
NICE? I’m getting sleepy.

Usable Security Systems, Inc.; San Francisco, CA;
NICE? Free beer.

WebDiet, Inc.; Henderson, NV;
NICE? This site has my name all over it. I’m fat and it’s a service to help me diet.

Xumii, Inc.; San Mateo, CA;
NICE? Hey, how did they get a Nokia N96?

Zazengo, Inc.; Santa Cruz, CA;
NICE? Now I’m feeling charitable because I get to go to sleep.

About Robert Scoble

As Startup Liaison for Rackspace, the Open Cloud Computing Company, I travel the world with Rocky Barbanica looking for what's happening on the bleeding edge of technology and report that here.

49 thoughts on “72 Nice Things about Demo’s Startups’ Websites

  1. You might want to kill that Blue Lava link. This guys are pulling a massive rights grab. Look at their terms of service:

    In order for Blue Lava to make the Service available to you, you hereby grant Blue Lava a royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide right and license which may be sublicensed or transferred, to use, display, distribute, reproduce, copy, make derivative works from, modify, adapt, transmit, translate, perform, publish and sell your Content in mediums or formats now known or later developed.

    Blue Lava may work with third parties to provide users with the option to purchase DVDs, CDs, photo albums or photo books containing such users' content or other users' submitted Content. Blue Lava does not monitor such purchases or control the ultimate distribution or sharing of such Content by others.

    see more on this here: http://www.photoattorney.com/2009/05/sharing-lo

    Why would you want to support such offensive business practices?

  2. You might want to kill that Blue Lava link. This guys are pulling a massive rights grab. Look at their terms of service:

    In order for Blue Lava to make the Service available to you, you hereby grant Blue Lava a royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide right and license which may be sublicensed or transferred, to use, display, distribute, reproduce, copy, make derivative works from, modify, adapt, transmit, translate, perform, publish and sell your Content in mediums or formats now known or later developed.

    Blue Lava may work with third parties to provide users with the option to purchase DVDs, CDs, photo albums or photo books containing such users' content or other users' submitted Content. Blue Lava does not monitor such purchases or control the ultimate distribution or sharing of such Content by others.

    see more on this here: http://www.photoattorney.com/2009/05/sharing-lo

    Why would you want to support such offensive business practices?

  3. You might want to kill that Blue Lava link. This guys are pulling a massive rights grab. Look at their terms of service:In order for Blue Lava to make the Service available to you, you hereby grant Blue Lava a royalty-free, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide right and license which may be sublicensed or transferred, to use, display, distribute, reproduce, copy, make derivative works from, modify, adapt, transmit, translate, perform, publish and sell your Content in mediums or formats now known or later developed.Blue Lava may work with third parties to provide users with the option to purchase DVDs, CDs, photo albums or photo books containing such users' content or other users' submitted Content. Blue Lava does not monitor such purchases or control the ultimate distribution or sharing of such Content by others.see more on this here: http://www.photoattorney.com/2009/05/sharing-lo…Why would you want to support such offensive business practices?

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  5. Hello Robert,
    We’d love to show you MessageSling and feel free sign up for our beta.
    Please email me to set up a time to talk.

    Cheers,
    Tatyana White
    Marketing
    MessageSling.com

  6. Hello Robert,
    We’d love to show you MessageSling and feel free sign up for our beta.
    Please email me to set up a time to talk.

    Cheers,
    Tatyana White
    Marketing
    MessageSling.com

  7. Interesting take on a cursory look at the sites. Being on site at DEMO for the past two and a half days, I have to say I’ve seen some cool companies and especially liked the folks who are tapping the power of community to achieve very specific goals, such as Semanti and SimOpps. We’re trying to do the same thing at MixMatchMusic, involving the folks who are both producing and consuming content. I was also interested in other sites that monetize user generated content, such as Photrade and MeDeploy.

  8. Interesting take on a cursory look at the sites. Being on site at DEMO for the past two and a half days, I have to say I’ve seen some cool companies and especially liked the folks who are tapping the power of community to achieve very specific goals, such as Semanti and SimOpps. We’re trying to do the same thing at MixMatchMusic, involving the folks who are both producing and consuming content. I was also interested in other sites that monetize user generated content, such as Photrade and MeDeploy.

  9. I don’t think there is any need to backpeddle here. Of course, I may be a little biased because I was massively inspired by this entire fiasco. I really love working with startups, and know how hard it is do this stuff and make it work. I wrote yet another blog post about it, this time called “How to Launch a Product 101″ – but this is my last post on this darn topic. LOL!! For now… :-)

    But everyone’s comments, and the originator of them, have provided great food for thought for me. I appreciate them.

  10. I don’t think there is any need to backpeddle here. Of course, I may be a little biased because I was massively inspired by this entire fiasco. I really love working with startups, and know how hard it is do this stuff and make it work. I wrote yet another blog post about it, this time called “How to Launch a Product 101″ – but this is my last post on this darn topic. LOL!! For now… :-)

    But everyone’s comments, and the originator of them, have provided great food for thought for me. I appreciate them.

  11. Dude have some cojones, don’t backpeddle just cos your potential funders are getting antsy. Backpeddling destroys respect more than blunt statements do.

  12. Dude have some cojones, don’t backpeddle just cos your potential funders are getting antsy. Backpeddling destroys respect more than blunt statements do.

  13. Caring enough to comment that I don’t care. A bag of 100 some odd startups, all of whom shouldn’t exist, and effectively, in the memory banks of most, won’t in 48 hours.

    Startups, such as these, are just fake companies, living on someone else’s dime, hoping to win the lottery. Real startups are just small companies with good product and a small loyal customer base, poised to grow. Everything was a startup at one point. And growth, unchecked does more damage than anything.

    But the usage here, is more a con job, the same ole, dazzle them, shoot up town, and then get outta Dodge before the Sheriffs catch up. The Ashton Kutcher keynote gig pick, was hilarious, for all the wrong reasons, ego, celebrity and sprinkle dust. Nothing to see here, even in stereo.

  14. Caring enough to comment that I don’t care. A bag of 100 some odd startups, all of whom shouldn’t exist, and effectively, in the memory banks of most, won’t in 48 hours.

    Startups, such as these, are just fake companies, living on someone else’s dime, hoping to win the lottery. Real startups are just small companies with good product and a small loyal customer base, poised to grow. Everything was a startup at one point. And growth, unchecked does more damage than anything.

    But the usage here, is more a con job, the same ole, dazzle them, shoot up town, and then get outta Dodge before the Sheriffs catch up. The Ashton Kutcher keynote gig pick, was hilarious, for all the wrong reasons, ego, celebrity and sprinkle dust. Nothing to see here, even in stereo.

  15. Hi Robert, glad you liked the logo. We were actually the only pre-launch company in the top 20 of the TV section in an ongoing web design contest (http://commandshift3.com/tag/tv), mostly because of the logo I think. Anyway, the site was down, prepping for the cut over to production when the DEMO embargo came off. As of 4AM Pacific this morning, we’re live, so please free to check out the rest, or I can give you a tour personally when I return to SF on Wednesday.

  16. Hi Robert, glad you liked the logo. We were actually the only pre-launch company in the top 20 of the TV section in an ongoing web design contest (http://commandshift3.com/tag/tv), mostly because of the logo I think. Anyway, the site was down, prepping for the cut over to production when the DEMO embargo came off. As of 4AM Pacific this morning, we’re live, so please free to check out the rest, or I can give you a tour personally when I return to SF on Wednesday.

  17. Hi Robert, glad you liked the logo. We were actually the only pre-launch company in the top 20 of the TV section in an ongoing web design contest (http://commandshift3.com/tag/tv), mostly because of the logo I think. Anyway, the site was down, prepping for the cut over to production when the DEMO embargo came off. As of 4AM Pacific this morning, we’re live, so please free to check out the rest, or I can give you a tour personally when I return to SF on Wednesday.

  18. Hi Robert, glad you liked the logo. We were actually the only pre-launch company in the top 20 of the TV section in an ongoing web design contest (http://commandshift3.com/tag/tv), mostly because of the logo I think. Anyway, the site was down, prepping for the cut over to production when the DEMO embargo came off. As of 4AM Pacific this morning, we’re live, so please free to check out the rest, or I can give you a tour personally when I return to SF on Wednesday.

  19. [Following Mark Lancaster;'s comment] Plastic Logic’s worst crimes are far worse than having massive text and dodgy menus. Their product information seems to consist entirely of you-tube videos (which of course, via Related Videos, means you end up seeing all their competitors products instead!). They also have a very dodgy ‘european-centric’ map of the world, which says a lot of negative things about their attitude, I think.
    Robert is definately right to criticise these sites – companies pitching at this level should be making more effort to give the right impression, and especially those that actually have web-based products…

  20. [Following Mark Lancaster;'s comment] Plastic Logic’s worst crimes are far worse than having massive text and dodgy menus. Their product information seems to consist entirely of you-tube videos (which of course, via Related Videos, means you end up seeing all their competitors products instead!). They also have a very dodgy ‘european-centric’ map of the world, which says a lot of negative things about their attitude, I think.
    Robert is definately right to criticise these sites – companies pitching at this level should be making more effort to give the right impression, and especially those that actually have web-based products…

  21. I really don’t see what all the ruckus is over your original evaluation, Robert. You were offering up an educated and valid opinion on what these companies were doing wrong with their websites from a marketing standpoint. These are the same types of companies that will pay tens of thousands of dollars to consultants to be abused in the same way, only with a flashy Powerpoint presentation. They should be thanking you for the free advice, and taking steps to make sure they don’t suck, instead of bogging down the Intertubes with hate-mail. Put down the Kool-aid, people!

    These start-ups take themselves entirely too seriously, many to the point of critical mass. They have invested so much of their egos into their ideas, they become blind to constructive criticism that could mean the difference between success and failure.

  22. I really don’t see what all the ruckus is over your original evaluation, Robert. You were offering up an educated and valid opinion on what these companies were doing wrong with their websites from a marketing standpoint. These are the same types of companies that will pay tens of thousands of dollars to consultants to be abused in the same way, only with a flashy Powerpoint presentation. They should be thanking you for the free advice, and taking steps to make sure they don’t suck, instead of bogging down the Intertubes with hate-mail. Put down the Kool-aid, people!

    These start-ups take themselves entirely too seriously, many to the point of critical mass. They have invested so much of their egos into their ideas, they become blind to constructive criticism that could mean the difference between success and failure.

  23. Hey Robert, nice comeback, but I do think you are still being a little harsh. For example, take Adapx.com – I’ve never heard of them but their site is full of info, case studies, and after only a few minutes on their site I already want to buy one! In fact the worst thing about their site is probably those annoying menus, but I guess that’s personal taste :)
    And Awind.com – whilst you reckon there’s nothing good about this site, by contrast with many of the others it is not at all bad; their product range is clear and the information is easy to find.
    Clintworld on the other hand is very poor, apart from the fact that it’s unwise to use their particular choice of font with the word CLINT , it’s also full of ridiculous sentences that are too long and almost impossible to digest.
    But thanks Robert for doing such a great job of keeping us informed – no doubt we’ll soon see some more of your usual enthusiam in praise of whatever deserving products do come out of Demo (assuming people are still talking to you ;) )

  24. Hey Robert, nice comeback, but I do think you are still being a little harsh. For example, take Adapx.com – I’ve never heard of them but their site is full of info, case studies, and after only a few minutes on their site I already want to buy one! In fact the worst thing about their site is probably those annoying menus, but I guess that’s personal taste :)
    And Awind.com – whilst you reckon there’s nothing good about this site, by contrast with many of the others it is not at all bad; their product range is clear and the information is easy to find.
    Clintworld on the other hand is very poor, apart from the fact that it’s unwise to use their particular choice of font with the word CLINT , it’s also full of ridiculous sentences that are too long and almost impossible to digest.
    But thanks Robert for doing such a great job of keeping us informed – no doubt we’ll soon see some more of your usual enthusiam in praise of whatever deserving products do come out of Demo (assuming people are still talking to you ;) )

  25. Wow, how is that for being passive-aggressive, alas, I agree with you %99. Most of these are not very inspiring.

  26. Wow, how is that for being passive-aggressive, alas, I agree with you %99. Most of these are not very inspiring.

  27. A few interesting days here and around the net because of you.
    I sent this one to our marcom to see what to do with our own website, which is due for an overhaul.
    I think most people didn’t understand your rants – the fact that the companies have good products and demos doesn’t mean that they can neglect their website. Totally agree with you on this one.

  28. A few interesting days here and around the net because of you.
    I sent this one to our marcom to see what to do with our own website, which is due for an overhaul.
    I think most people didn’t understand your rants – the fact that the companies have good products and demos doesn’t mean that they can neglect their website. Totally agree with you on this one.

  29. Thanks Robert for the list, I had few too on that list , but Ill share it on twitter with you…. btw saw your “I think its your” magazine @ barns and noble…. lol

    ttyl buddy

  30. Thanks Robert for the list, I had few too on that list , but Ill share it on twitter with you…. btw saw your “I think its your” magazine @ barns and noble…. lol

    ttyl buddy

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