New Product 'Amplifies' Blogs
The process, created by Amplify, a New York-based startup, revolves around "amps," the enabling software that allows users to select content they want to save or share. After downloading Amplify's free software, a companion toolbar appears at the top of the Web browse--allowing users to search for, collect, save, and share any Web content that appeals to them.
Amplify's search engine is powered by Yahoo! and Teoma. It displays regular search results, as well as amp search results. When users visit sites and find content they like--including pictures, text, flash, audio, and video--they can keep it by clicking the amp icon and adding it to their "My Amps" list of amps within the toolbar. Each amp can hold up to 25 pieces of content.
Consumer amps will also be fully customizable. Like blogs, users will be able to write whatever they wish within them, but they will also be able to manipulate the size and frame of any photo or video content, and change the colors and fonts of each page.
A user's amps can be published to www.amplify.com--Amplify's blogging community page--or saved, depending on the user's preference. Amps can also be shared as a link with anyone through email, instant messaging, blogs, message boards, and chat rooms, regardless of whether or not users have Amplify software installed.
The Amplify blog is a community site that divides amps by vertical categories including shopping, politics, travel, entertainment, and finance.
Amplify CEO Eric Goldstein, an ex-lawyer, founded the company on the principle that the Web, for all its interactivity, doesn't allow users to save content and create personal Web pages easily. Goldstein says he wanted to make the Internet a more accessible environment for the average user.
Goldstein says amps are so viral by nature that he expects the product's chief marketing platform to be itself. Since the software is free, Amplify hopes to make money through behaviorally targeted advertising. Last Friday, the New York-based company secured a deal to enter 24/7 Real Media's network of more than 800 Web publishers.
Goldstein notes that the act of "amping," as it's referred to, empowers users to choose the content they care about--thus revealing a lot about their interests. This, he believes, will be of particular interest to 24/7's advertisers. According to Ari Bluman, SVP distribution and operations at 24/7 Real Media, "24/7 will be a technology client to Amplify serving ads across their properties and within amps." Bluman says the primary formats will be graphical banners and leaderboards, with the future possibility of rich media. He notes that no personally identifiable information will be used to serve ads.
Bluman says that 24/7 was attracted to the entertainment/customization aspect of the Amplify product. He adds that the viral nature of the platform will be attractive to advertisers, as well as a "resourceful usership" that creates its own content. "Each user is clearly defining their specific interests online," he notes, adding, "their verticals match our verticals," so it was a smart match.
Amplify is also talking with companies about cross-promotional opportunities. Goldstein says the company is currently discussing a promotional deal with "a major record label" that will involve rewards for the most popular amps about certain bands or music sectors.
Goldstein acknowledges that the fledgling company will have to create a mass presence in order to open up more advertising inventory. He says that he wants amps to become "the second layer of search," adding a new element of personalization. "The idea is to continue the evolution of what people can do on the Web," Goldstein says.