Over the next three days I am going to present two fantastic startup ideas. In yesterday’s post, I profiled the competition (in this case, the in-stream advertising company Ad.ly) and provided a brief introduction to “in stream” marketing. Today and Tomorrow I will present one of Ad.ly’s shortcomings and the way I would attack it.
First short coming, Ad.ly is too celebrity focused. I’m not the only person who thinks there is a good chance that Twitter’s primary focus going forward will be as a “curated RSS”. In fact, I’m borrowing the very phrase from this post by @msuster.
Focusing on celebrities is short-sighted. It ignores the future of Twitter as a platform. It suggests that as we move in to a new way of looking at the world, people will continue to follow the celebrities from the old world. The people Ad.Ly should be focused on tomorrow (and you could focus on today), are the ones that WILL have big followings.
Who will have big followings? I’m glad you asked. I’ll answer that question with the story of MiddleEasy.com. It is one of the most popular news outlets for mixed martial arts (MMA) news. Before MiddleEasy.com was a profitable company, it was a fan who tweeted the news he liked about MMA. Since MMA is fairly universaly scorned by more traditional news and sports outlets, he developed quite a following. He never starred in a TV show, never was a professional athlete, but advertising in his stream is probably as valuable as advertising in Zach Braff’s or Jeff Reed’s. If you want to take this great startup idea, you’ll need to identify the next crop of big publishers before they’re big.
If all you do is focus on building the right list of publishers, you’ll have a chance to scoop Ad.ly. You may not want to stop reading the blog just yet though. Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to market those publishers to advertisers.