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KickApps 3.0 Launches – Behind The Scenes at KickApps NYC HQ
Last week I visited NY-based KickApps at their headquarters in NYC to discuss the new 3.0 release of the KickApps platform launching today. Their office continues to grow which is evident by the construction work going on and the addition of more desks than the last time I visited. I met with CEO Alex Blum and Senior VP of Marketing Michael Chin — they shared some stats about the company with me. KickApps employs 35 people in NYC, 30 in Mumbai along with a small office in Los Angeles.
We spoke about site stats which are transferred to the publisher, outside of their enterprise clients, KickApps hosts 14,000 sites and Blum notes that their 14,000 drive more traffic than competitior Ning’s 130,000 customer sites. Blum also shared a big difference between Ning and Kickapps; the users on KickApps are yours whereas on Ning they are Ning’s. What this means is that if you decide to leave KickApps, you can take the users with you to the next service, whereas with Ning, you would need to start from scratch.
KickApps 3.0 Release
One of the goals of the 3.0 release was to open up the platform. That has been made possible by launching the KickApps API Developer Kit. The Kit offers a variety of features:
- Multiple languages
- Hosted or non-hosted, meaning you can choose to use the API on your own site off the KA hosted option
- Supports Google OpenSocial
- Facebook apps can live inside a KickApps community can put widgets into your site and profile
- Extends existing SOAP single-sign-on (including one-click Drupal, Joomla and WordPress plugins)
- Usage-based pricing model: cost-efficient and advertising-free
The Widget Studio is also a new piece of the KickApps 3.0 release. The studio is interesting as it can be as flexible as a programmer/developer needs but also as simple for a non-techie to use. The tool has an Adobe Flex interface with a WYSIWYG implementation, ability to manage feeds in any format, variety of layout options, and one-click syndication to any site or social network.
Other updates include a simplified signup process, a live editor to make changing pages easier, and a bunch of new reporting options.
The KickApps business model continues the same as previous versions: sharing ad revenue with KickApps or a "buyout" of the ads where the site owner can control all of the inventory but pays KickApps on a cpm basis. Blum says that the larger sites are using the buyout option.
Photos From the KickApps Office