Creative Marketing Apps Abound At San Diego DEMOfall

DEMOfall 07 showcased an eclectic group of creative marketing applications this week from startups run by seasoned entrepreneurs. Those focused on marketing apps were a handful who presented at the San Diego conference, which cost each startup about $18,000 to attend. During the two-day event, 69 companies had six minutes on stage to present their products to venture capitalists with the goal of attracting funding.

Here is what Marketing Daily found:

A new desktop application called 360desktop could become a marketer's dream come true. Think of in-game advertising, but rather than placing the ads in a video game, put them on the consumer's computer desktop.

The application, from the Australian company with the same name, extends the standard Windows desktop with a panoramic workspace. The consumer pans 360 degrees through the desktop, providing more space to view open documents and applications, from Word to PowerPoint.

"If you're a content creator or advertising firm that built a 360desktop app, you can place advertisements in the desktop application," 360desktop founder Evan Jones told us. "You can place targeted or generic ads. Think of it as virtual product placement."

First-time users download the panoramic widgets at the company's Web site or from many of the social network sites like News Corp.'s MySpace. Users can create multimedia mash-ups by going online and grabbing Web widgets to embed videos into billboards or Coca-Cola signs in the side of trucks. Car enthusiasts can add interactive features by downloading widgets from BMW, General Motors or Mercedes that zoom across the 360desktop.

When push comes to shove, marketers might want to Sway consumers with Shoutlet, a social media tool that provides a method to create, distribute and track campaigns through RSS feeds, SMS text messages, podcasts, widgets and HTML e-mail--all through one tool.

Taking the DEMOfall stage, Sway founder Jason Weaver boasted: "I have the best job because I'm a marketing guy, and I get to work with the companies like eBay, Wrigley, Rayovac and Miller Brewing using cutting-edge social media campaigns."

Weaver demonstrated Shoutlet, announcing that Sway recently signed deals with RSS distribution company Pheedo; podcast directory Odeo; video analytics firm TubeMogul, and CosmoTV, which lets marketers create videos distributed on widgets. Shoutlets lets marketers measure video downloads, how many people watched and the number of times forwarded on as widgets.

Controversial voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) startup Pudding Media developed a free-calling Internet phone service to those who are willing to let them listen in on the call. Voice recognition technology eavesdrops on the call between two people and serves up ads based on the conversation.

Advertisers select from thousands of keywords, similar to the way they buy ads linked to text Internet searches. The service can serve up links to restaurants, books, movie theaters, car repair shops, and more.

Today, the ads are licensed from an undisclosed advertising network, but that's expected to change in time, Ariel Maislos, Pudding Media founder and chief executive officer, told us.

Myndnet taps knowledge of social network community members for marketing information. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company aims to do for targeted marketing and referral leads what Google AdWords did for online advertising.

Businesses ask questions and set a price for the information. Myndnet's technology gathers targeted information, tracks collective knowledge, and then validates and cross references the data.

Members get paid to answer the questions. Answering five questions a day per month makes the member $1,500, says Daniel Hodges, founder and CEO. "Now things really get interesting," he says. "So, maybe you set up a RSS feed on your desktop to stream questions straight to you."

Tell a friend to earn money on the questions they answer, too. Hodges told us that during the test phase for the technology, one person made more than $1,000 in three hours and the person who referred him made $80.

Hollywood-based FastCall411 served up a method to connect local merchants with consumers. The consumer calls the service and puts in a request for electrical, plumbing or gardening services, and FastCall411's technology dials as many local service providers as needed to satisfy the search. After each call, consumers rate their experience with the service. The system relies on artificial intelligence to learn and record information by compiling information on merchants who answer the call, rating them accordingly.

FastCall411 recently appointed to its advisory board Gordon Henry, CEO of Yellow Book USA; Milton Olin, founding partner at new media intellectual property and Internet law firm Alschul & Olin; and Mark Cannon, SVP and chief product officer at Autobytel.

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