ailon's DevBlog: Development related stuff in my life

Monetizing data!? Yeah, right!

11/19/2012 5:19:00 PM


Over my current ~2 year stint in the startupland I’ve seen a number of startup founders claiming selling of the data they collect as their monetization strategy. This statement always makes most of the serious serial entrepreneurs and investors smirk. “Yeah, right!” – they say. And I agree with them.

I’ve never thought about the data we collect at AdDuplex as a direct source of revenue. After some time, I’ve discovered that it’s a pretty good marketing asset, though.

Last week a story on AdDuplex blog was covered by CNET, CBS News, Neowin, ReadWrite(Web), PC World, Computerworld, LA Times, Tom’s Hardware, etc. This story was totally based on the data we have. And was only possible because of it.

And the effect of it was actually undermined by the fact that I underestimated the fact that there are only a few companies in the world that have any data on the penetration (I don’t want to infer sales, but some pundits did ;) of the Microsoft Surface. And apparently there’s a lot of interest in these numbers.

Unfortunately I treated that blog post the same way I treated all the previous statistics blog posts that were mostly of interest to people inside the “Windows ecosystem” and didn’t make an attempt to break out of the specialized media loop. But even without it the post found its way into mainstream. I’ve got my first “urgent request for comments” emails from multiple media outlets, etc. That makes me feel great and at the same time a little sad that I didn’t anticipate it upfront and didn’t approach this PR opportunity properly.

Last week I’ve attended Silicon Valley Comes To Baltics conference and the best talk there (at least for me) didn’t come from Silicon Valley. It was “Insurgency Marketing: How to get attention for your startup” by Andris K. Berzins from the neighboring Latvia. One of the points of that talk was using interesting stats to attract attention to your under-the-radar startup. Because, you know, no one cares what you actually do.

Build 0.11 - Andris K. Berzins from HackFwd on Vimeo.

So it’s still very unlikely that you’ll be able to turn your “data” directly into a revenue stream. But I can definitely attest that it can be a very valuable marketing asset.


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