DEMOPosting Technology Show

A Video Track Attack

By Kim Hart
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2008


C ompanies that want to help advertisers track who's watching what on the Web, social networks that try to help Cupid along, and a device that attempts to tackle electronic efficiency -- These are some of the areas grabbing attention at the DEMO show, which enters its third and final day today.

Following are excerpts from the Post I.T. blog about some of the companies that are presenting at the show.

Watching Video Watchers

With the explosion of online video, thanks to the success of YouTube, the big question is how to track how videos make their way around the Internet and how to measure their audiences.

Two companies showed off ways to keep tabs on what happens to videos, an effort that could help content producers make videos more compelling and sponsor-worthy.

Visible Measures of Boston tries to show what the audience is actually doing with the video. A graph shows when a lot of people rewind the video to see part of it again, and when they stop watching it altogether. Those data reveal when people get bored watching something, and when they get very engaged -- a useful feature for marketers trying to gauge the success of an online ad. Visible Measures also collects information on every viewer of every video, making it possible to see which sites boost the video's popularity the most, and the geographic areas where the video gets the most hits.

Another company, TubeMogul, of Emeryville, Calif., lets content producers and owners instantly distribute their videos across the Web. After uploading video to the site, TubeMogul sends it out to as many video-sharing sites as possible. TubeMogul then collects data about when, where and how often videos are watched. Amateur producers can also use the tool to show the popularity of their videos, a big help when trying to lure potential sponsors and other financial backers.

More Ways to Find Friends on the Web

Just when you thought nothing else could be added to the social networking scene, a few companies may surprise you.

HubDub is a news aggregation site that ranks articles by their impact on the news story's outcome. It's based on the premise that a group can better predict the outcome of, say, the presidential primaries, than individuals. It essentially becomes an online betting game, letting people wager "HubDub" dollars on their prediction on whether Britney Spears will ever see her kids again, or on which team might win the Super Bowl. If you make the right prediction, you're rewarded with bragging rights and you get more editorial control over the site. HubDub plans to expand the community aspect of the site, giving people forums to debate issues.

AtlasPost is a map-based social network based on Google Maps. You can personalize your own house or neighborhood on the map, and also post blogs and tag photos for users to build their profiles on the map. Ultimately, AtlasPost hopes to set the stage for real-life interactions. If you've just moved to Arlington, for example, you can see who else is part of the "village" around you and make connections. Right now, the site is very popular in Taiwan, and the company is trying to expand into the American and Chinese markets.

Redux tries to bridge the gap between online dating sites and social networks. Based on personal profiles, the site's algorithms predict what people will like in others. Redux shows you people with whom you might have things in common, and they can make casual comments to potential friends, such as: "Hey, I like that band, too." It also pulls in information about events and predicts which ones best fit your entertainment tastes. The site lets users classify friends into groups and lets them find events tailored to the interests of each group. I can see this coming in handy when you're trying to merge dissimilar groups of friends that don't always mingle well, or plan outings with separate groups at the same time. As chief executive Darian Shirazi put it, Redux "cuts through the noise of millions of social networking profiles" to find what's relevant to you.

"Green" Chargers

Toting around multiple electronic chargers has become the great curse of the digital age. On this trip I brought along four chargers: one each for my laptop, BlackBerry, cellphone and iPod. They waste power and quickly end up in landfills.

Green Plug's device tries to maximize the efficiency of your power. It's plugged into a computer, which in turn also connects to your charger cables. The Green Plug device then detects how much power is needed to charge up pretty much anything, even power tools. It tells you how many volts are being directed to each port on the device, using only enough energy as is needed.

But does it solve my problem? To make it work, it still seems like you'd need to carry a bunch of cords with you, in addition to the device that hooks up to your computer.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company