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Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on CN last year. I thought it was worth sharing again as more startups test the waters of monetization models – especially the pro/paid option.
The web enables us to listen to music, watch tv shows and follow the latest news all without paying a cent. But while things are slowly but surely becoming free, I still believe people are willing to pay for certain value propositions.
I believe the following 5 things are uniquely profitable in a world of free:
We’ve covered NY-based graphics suite Aviary several times since their initial launch. Today I learned about Sumopaint and it is very slick. It has most of the basic features of Photoshop or PaintShopPro. From what I can tell Sumopaint has basically all of the drawing tools along with actual layers. Some of the tools include: blending modes, layer effects, brush tool, ink tool, and a text tool.
Images can be saved locally or into a Sumopaint account. I did notice that the local save function didn’t work in IE. There are a variety of community features including voting and a comprehensive photo search for photos stored on Sumpaint.
Kevin Tofel was impressed with Sumopaint when he reviewed it on their initial launch this past summer. Brad Linder wondered if it was a dupe of another online photo tool, Splashup. I could see my sister using Sumopaint for her basic graphic creation needs.
I assume once they exit beta, some sort of premium services will make up their business model.
Last night we asked if Adobe has lost its mind with regards to their pricing model for Creative Studio 4. Today NYC-based Aviary has announced that they have released their set of apps to the public and removed the private beta sticker.
Mashable notes, “new features include Peacock, a special effects creator, and Toucan, a color manager that lets you create and find swatches that you can store online and use in the editor. One of the biggest new additions to the newly launched Aviary service is a vector editor similar to Adobe Illustrator, which will only be available to subscribers.”
Aviary has also released their pricing model which ranges from a limited version for free through a full version for $150/yr. If you use this special link, you can grab a $55 discount on a yearly membership.
We’ve reviewed NY-based Aviary before including posting their live product demo. The Aviary team has created a suite of online graphics tools that appear to rival Photoshop for the basics. Aviary describes itself as, "a website for artists of all genres to create, edit and share their works directly in their favorite browser."
Today Aviary is out with a browser-based terrain generation tool which looks quite sweet. Check out their blog post about the product launch. If you have the Aviary app loaded, you can click on the images in the blog post to directly edit them.
While it looks like the functionality just creates moon-like worlds, it can actually work to create some very groovy effects. I’ve embedded one of those effects below – the 3d space invaders game. Space Invaders was one of the most boring video games ever – if there was a multi-shot it would have been better. :)
Now if they could just get an easier to remember domain name (a.viary.com)…
Editor’s note: This news was provided to us under embargo for midnight tonight but with Techcrunch posting early, we will as well.
We were the first to report on Aviary last month and also posted their demo video from the NY Tech Meetup. Aviary was the first startup in months to get actual applause after their demo concluded. It’s a hot product and is created right here in NYC.
Today (actually tomorrow as the news is dated 4/1) Aviary will launch the next application in their suite. This one is very cool and very useful. Want to know what a potential spouse might look like in 40 years when you are on Social Security? What about Taurus or Fondue – will they age as gracefull as their owner? Well, Aviary has a new tool called DoDo to help you "do" that. Check out the Aviary blog for all of the details.
The best part is the "Dodo’s built-in database of geographically accurate weather history." If you tell your boss you were working but really in Switzerland skiing, you can just fake up a picture. I love the ability for the system to turn young Michael into current Michael and then grampa Michael.
If Facebook is worth $15 billion, this type of app makes Aviary worth at least $30 billion, I hope they go IPO QUICK!
I sure hope this product will be available to the public soon. I am leaving CN headquarters right now with a bag of photos and am heading to the Aviary offices to see what we can do. I will also get login keys for all of you as well. Leave your name in the comments if you’d like a login to DoDo.
In the meantime, watch this demo of the app:
We review tons of products and services on CN, over 1,000 in the past year. Most are good to very good, but some just wow us when we check them out. I’d like to share three that have come across our radar in the last month that are game changers and should be very, very successful — and two of them are NY-based, the other calls Boston home.
Part of what will lead to the success is the distribution deals each one has already signed. As Marc Andreessen has said many times, distribution is the key. I am interested in your opinions on the companies listed below – leave your thoughts in the comments.
We took a look at GoMobo last month and also posted their demo video from the NY Tech Meetup. The basic idea with GoMobo is that you can order food from a fast-food joint or restaurant using your mobile for takeway. What this does is save you the time from standing in line. And we predicted 2008 would be the year of the time-saver apps.
Currently the service area is mainly NYC but they have expansion plans in 2008. Their distribution comes from the chains as a point of differentiation which includes Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Papa Johns, etc. Imagine punching into your phone that you want a large Milky Way hot chocolate, corn muffin and a bag of munchkins and having it ready when you arrive.
Think about the time saved from waiting on a line at lunchtime – especially for a person on an hour lunch break. GoMobo estimates the time saved by using their app is over 284 days, I don’t know how they calculated it but even if it’s just 5 minutes each trip, it can add up quickly.
And more importantly, outside of Manhattan, think about the possibilities using mobile in your car – no waiting on a drivethru lane, you just drive directly up to the pickup window at the moment you desire.
The service is free for consumers and GoMobo generates a percentage of the order price. The food establishment doesn’t care because a good percentage of this business will be incremental sales.
Aviary is the newest of the apps that we believe will change 2008. The demo of their first app is just amazing. Aviary is a suite of tools targeting the artist community. It’s an actual competitor to Photoshop and Illustrator online. Of the 80-100 demos at the NY Tech Meetup I’ve seen in the last year, this was the first one to receive massive noise and excitement after the demo.
Sure, there are other products like Skitch which are great but appeal to more of the basic graphic needs. I haven’t seen any other product that takes the perspective of what an artist needs and moves it online. The distribution angle for Aviary is to their core group of potential users, the artists. They have tied into their core business, worth1000 to grow excitement and buzz.
The unique angle and game changer for Aviary is in how it deals with copyright and royalties. Since the application is built for artists who make a living at selling their works, it makes sense that the copyright and royalty piece be part of the application. Each piece of the final work is tagged from the source files. Maybe this will help issues like the one that blew up last year with Richter Scales usage of photos. I wouldn’t be surprised if Aviary starts receiving acquisition offers soon.
Yesterday I met with Flixwagon VP Marketing Sarig Reichert and VP R&D Roy Ginat. Flixwagon is based in Israel and their goal is to make video sharing less cumbersome. If we look at the videos from the NY Tech Meetup, I shoot them, download them, compress them in Windows Movie Maker, upload them and then finally embed them into a post. Flixwagon changes that by shooting live video on your mobile device and having it appear on your blog immediately in real-time. Sarig says that they are empowering a revolution.
You get the full impact of the possibilities when Roy walked outside the coffee shop into Rockfeller Center and began shooting live video while Sarig and I watched it on the laptop. Imagine the parent who was away on business while the child was playing in a soccer championship. The parent could watch the game live from another location. The possibilities are endless.
Their distribution will come from partnerships with major brands. They hosted MTV’s Choose Or Lose special for the Super Tuesday primaries this week in which 51 live streamers were in every state in the nation sending back live video to the MTV Web site and on the TRL tv show.
Soon you will be able to ping Twitter when you are broadcasting and they are working on scheduling and an upload function to YouTube once the live version has completed.
Another company in this space is Qik. Qik has been getting major buzz recently thanks to webulebrity Robert Scoble and his use of the application. I can’t speak to the differences as my phone currently does not handle mobile video, but Sarig says both companies are creating a market and he likes what they are doing. Saris is proud of their video capture quality and the system is built to handle massive traffic.
Once video on mobile devices becomes a standard, Flixwagon is set for success. Photos are so 2005. This is where Yahoo Live should be.