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NY-based Buddy Media, maker of several Facebook applications, has announced their acquisition of the Crushes Facebook application. Crushes is a dating application exclusively on Facebook. They claim more than a million installs of Crushes and over 30,000 users per day. Terms of the deal have not been released.
Buddy Media will integrate their Matches dating app with Crushes. Buddy Media also makes the AceBucks Facebook application which we reviewed last month after their presentation at the Social Networking meetup. Since AceBucks is a currency play and Crushes is a dating play – will we see the first online escort service on Facebook?
Howard Lindzon says that Buddy Media is, "cornering the Facebook dating market and currency market."
When I see these acquisitions I always wonder – is it about the Facebook app – or about getting the developer? In this case, Buddy Media picked up both and developer Patrick Stokes will join the team in their NYC office.
Tonight was the Social Networking Meetup and the Web / Internet Entrepreneurs & Startups Meetup held together at a bar called SlatePlus. The event is organized by Brett Petersel and Oz Sultan. This meetup began as 5 people in a bar and has grown to what I count at about 150+ people tonight. I believe it’s the third largest tech meetup group after the NY Tech Meetup and the NY Video Meetup. I enjoy this meetup as it’s a bit more social than the NY Tech Meetup but not a full-on social event.
Before I provide my commentary on the presentations, let me hop on my box for a moment. When you present your idea to anyone or any group, bring your A game. I will do everything I can to get you exposure via CN along with many other bloggers, but if you can’t get the people excited, will the product succed? In a bar/club environment where it’s loud and dark, it’s critical to draw in your audience immediately. I noticed a couple of tonight’s presenters speaking to the first two rows of couches and ignoring the people in the back. And that’s why they began their own meetup in the back. This is your baby, get excited about it and show some passion! If you don’t know how to present, learn or have someone else do it. Ok, I am done. Now onto the quick presentation recaps:
Buddy Media – AceBucks Product – Jeff Ragovin
Jeff begins by explaining that AceBucks is the largest loyalty program on Facebook. The idea is this: You install the applications that work with AceBucks and you earn credits for playing the games or doing the AceBucks earning actions. If you like to play games, and want to win prizes, this is the Facebook app for you!
They are working on expanding AceBucks past Facebook to OpenSocial and Bebo. Jeff showed a bunch of stats including 170k Sudoku installs in first 3 weeks since launch, 1.2 million AceBucks installs since 10/1.
Today they launched the AceBucks storefront which allows you to sell anything you don’t want and receive AceBucks in return. Once you get a bankroll of AceBucks, you can spend them in their auction! You can also use your credits to purchase Facebook trinkets to send to your friends like the Facebook daily gifts.
While this model works with a few niche demographics, I am not sold it works on Facebook for the long-term. Who wants to sell a Blackberry and not walk away with cash? Jeff ended the presentation by saying that anyone could have a card worth 250 AceBucks. But the cards he handed out are just his business cards – so I have to email him just to get the credits? Why not hand out a card with a link to get the bucks directly? Since Facebook is tied into logins, there shouldn’t be any gaming, and it saves me time and removes another resistance point. It’s like getting a new gameboy on your birthday and having no batteries.
Convos was up next (presenting – JP Checa & Matt Trush) – they provide a group application. It’s very good looking – has an Outlook feel to it. The idea is to take real world groups and manage them online. The presenter said that it’s a real Web app because it "has a lot of buttons". It’s built on Adobe Flex2 and uses Amazon Web Services as well.
Convos has no ads and uses a freemium model. Up to two groups a year is free, after that it moves up to $39/yr depending on usage.
One of the audience questions was around the competitiveness of the group space and what makes Convos different. The presenter noted that the differentiators are in the interface and their quick ability to add new features based on the usage of the Flex platform.
I’d like to see Convos tie into an authentication scheme already available – whether it’s Facebook, Google, or even OpenID. One of the reasons Yahoo Groups and Google Groups are popular is because everyone has an id for both of those services already.
Snooth – Philip James
Snooth is a wine social networking application and Philip described Snooth as a "social shopping site". Reminds me a bit of Cork’d. They have a Facebook application to help push distribution. The site looks very nice – has many Ajax features. Snooth is a data aggregator – they pull in content from thousands of sources. This is one area that Snooth differs from Cork’d in that the Cork’d community creates the content.
Once you review 5 wines, Snooth will then start to serve up suggestions for future wines based on your tastes.
Snooth generates revenue from the clicks they send to the wine shops – they have 1,000 shops in the database currently. I struggle with this as a sole business model. Think about TripAdvisor. I will review a hotel there but purchase from the site I choose. TripAdvisor serves ads so they still benefit. Nothing stops me from enjoying the reviews on Snooth and then buying the wine down the street.
RadiusIM – John Londono
Last up was RadiusIM which is a Web IM client similar to Meebo and eBuddy. The difference is that RadiusIM focuses on location to help you find new buddies. In NYC for a meeting, check out other people on RadiusIM that are in your area. RadiusIM works with AIM, Yahoo IM and Google Talk.
John shared some stats: 600k unique visitors since launch, 160k registered users with 50k in the past 30 days and 125 million IMs exchanged. While not as robust as eBuddy or Meebo, it’s pretty groovy. Of course, the only people you see on the map are those using RadiusIM. John noted that monetization will come later on and that if his users stay on for 2 hour session lengths, once they reach a critical mass, advertisers will be very interested.