Friday, March 9, 2007

Viral Threads ???





I know that I am in the middle of a startup as we speak
...so I shouldn't be thinking about anything else right? Can entrepreneurial ideas be spawned from current ventures effectively? Well today was the straw that broke the camels back.. I saw this post today regarding getting Twitter shirts made for the SXSW conference.

I sent an email to Threadless regarding a possible contest for our startup when it launches to kind of help us really let our customers define our brand and be involved right from the beginning. In the email I sent I pointed out how I could bring a new demographic to there site and would be really excited to offer a great prize for the best design. I got back a cordial reply simply stating good luck ... but we already have other contests going on.. I totally understand their stance .. they are a really busy company that is really focused on the users driving the community ...which I agree w/ 100%...no advertisers..

So the dim lit light bulb went off in my head.. What if their was a social driven marketplace for web communities and sites that their users could create and vote for their favorite designs. Think of the viral nature in which people could find out about other sites and more importantly more about the community in that particular community. Think of sites like Twitter , Meebo , Digg , MyBlogLog, Reddit, Search Engine Land, Technorati , the list goes on and on... I know that the communinty made up of tons of other communities could drive different themes for times during the year. Also think of the contests you could have between rival sites: Pageflakes vs. Netvibes or GotVmail vs. RingCentral or Meebo vs. EBuddy , Twitter vs. Dodgeball etc. etc...

The sites themselves would have to sanction the contest's in order to use Logo's for use. As a business owner this would be a no-brainer for me as viral marketing tool...The ability for a community to help define a brand is quite powerful. Plus I like wearing cool T-Shirts...I see implementing the social networking tools as a great bridge to gain traction.

Here is where the rubber meets the road... I do have some close friends that own a silk screen business ...so I made some inquiries on the actual cost and breakdown of this process. It is totally doable and their are margins to be made are acceptable. The question is what business model would I follow.. Do we split revenue w/ the sites? Do we charge an inclusion for sites? or do we have a monthly subscription for advertisers/partners . .. Needless to say I have friends that are extremely talented in web development so I have no doubts on that end... The big problem is how can I juggle both startups... could I implement a Woot style format where it would be a sale a day..to curtail time spent on it.. I think that I could handle the PR/Sales aspect of it..

Just thinking out loud... :)

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