If you boil down to the essence, there are really only two business models.
My friend Todd Defren from Shift Communications is part of a project to help make links in a Twitter background clickable as announced on Mashable. A worthy goal!
[Correction: When first published this post said the pricing was $20/month. I was wrong. The cost is $20 for a "lifetime" at the time ClickableNow launched. I still don't think this changes their business problem.]
ANOTHER UPDATE: Clickable now has made some changes and is now FREE!
I have not talked to Todd about this project. But from my current understanding I think the business model is flawed. If you pay $20 you can make the links clickable on your profile for anyone who has installed the Firefox addon from ClickableNow. Here is the big problem. The business model relies on a large number of users installing an add-on, and there is no incentive to install the add on.
Why would I pay $20 to reach a tiny number of people that have installed the add-on? I won't. I also won't install the add on to be able to click on the tiny number of users that have added the clickable links. Chicken and the egg.
Here are some suggestions for ClickableNow to drive more adoption:
- Partner with an existing Firefox add-on with a big user base and add the ClickableNow functionality to it to get an instant large base of users who can click on the links.
- Price the monthly fee for adding the clickable links to your Twitter page based on the number of people that have installed the add on. Today it would be $0.10 a month or something. As more people install it, the price goes up for everyone to a max of $20.
- Same as above, except let the early users lock in the low price. The first 10,000 installers pay $1 a month. Then $2 for the next 10,000, up to a max price of $20.
- Price the links on a CPC (cost per click) basis, so as a marketer I only pay for the clicks I get, and this will scale with the number of users.
- Give away a simple version of the clickable links for free (maybe one link with no tracking stats) and then charge for more advanced version (multiple links and/or tracking stats).
What other ideas do you have to make the ClickableNow business model work?
I recently responded to a discussion on an email group about the business value (or lack of value)from using Twitter. I thought others would find my answer interesting. Most of the people thought Twitter was a complete waste of time. I disagree.
- There are no huge launch parties spending VC/investor money on booze - I went to a bunch of really expensive "launch parties" for all kinds of dot-com startups in 1999, which were basically booze and appetizer fests paid for with VC money (the VCs went and thought it was a great time)
- No one is spending millions on stupid advertisements - No one is buying SuperBowl ads like Pets.com (let's ignore GoDaddy.com) and no one is spending millions on 'partnerships' with AOL, Excite/@Home, etc. People are paying per click with Google instead, whichi has no long term committment and is infinitely scaleable
- There are no huge Series B VC rounds - One of my old startups (gazoontite.com) raised $26m in a Series B From Hummer Winblad and Oak Investment Partners, with very little revenue and no profit. While there is a lot of angel and serties A activity, the investments seem to max out at $4-6m, which is far less that the frothy investments and crazy valuations of the real bubble in 1999.
- Much lower cost - free v.s $100's of dollars
- Less functionality in the traditional sense... BUT more functionality in ways that are important for a small but growing and important market segment - the collaboration and web-centric features will be the future of how we use documents and communicate