11 thoughts on “Userplane, the Really Big Widget Ad Network”

  1. Well, we tried Userplane for our on-line chats. The experience wasn’t good enough and after suggestions from our users we moved to the very good and old IRC (Internet Relay Chat).

    We have a 24/7 chat channel, no advertising, a Java client in our chat page, but people can access with *ANY* IRC client – not a proprietary Flash-based one. We also have a bot that monitors the channel so no profanity and spam are sent out by users – at the same time calculating statistics.

    The channel is always busy with people most of the times of the day.

    The worst feature on Userplane? Advertising. I don’t know what they show in the U.S. but in Australia and New Zealand they had those annoying smiley ads, IQ tests and *lots* of popups.

    Those Userpane popups immediately put me off and I removed it.

    Great idea, bad implenentation and lacking features that the good old IRC provides – a human touch.

  2. You want to know the future of social network ads? CPA. Done. And those rates keep climbing.

  3. Great post. What’s really good is the back of the envelope math. What would be good to see is one more piece of math – if the $18m is the gross number – what’s the net after you subtract other costs like hosting and bandwidth?

  4. Again, nice post!

    I think there is more than just the CPM or CPC revenue pushing these companies to be the biggest ad server. I think a lot of it goes back to simply being the largest… moving the most ads… becoming the mountain that everyone else has to scale. There is a lot to say for being the biggest, just ask Microsoft and Google.

  5. @ M Freitas

    What you say is a problem with almost all ads out there not just Userplane. Myspace is full of those kind of annoying ads.

  6. I would like to suggest the following exercise:

    Everyone who is interested in “widgets” from a business perspective defines as precisely as possible what a “widget” is.

    The results will likely demonstrate that the current definition of “widget” is so broad as to be essentially meaningless in terms of anyone then being able to assess the “widget” ecosystem from a business perspective.

    So I submit that discussions of widgets, widget business models, etc are in turn meaningless until a better definition of “widget” is agreed upon.

  7. Those ads are annoying because they’re bottom of the bottom of the remnant barrel. I bet that back-of-the-envelope is at least 5x too high, maybe 10x too high. That sort of shotgun-type advertising creates tons of inventory but almost no real money.

  8. CPM, CPA, CPP whatever.

    As long as viewers are kept out of the money flow fueling ads, they will ignore widgets and banners. Untargeted advertising is no more than spam except you are locked in, can’t block or ignore. Widgets don’t solve this.

    Share the CPM bucks with the viewer (pay for view and extra pay for click). Then you will see monetization.

    Do you think widget guys like Userplane and Gigya as well as ad networks are willing to pay for play? Don’t count on it.
    At the Google OpenSocial I-O conference it became quite clear that widget monetization was dead at birth – the parents are clueless.

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