Coffee Talk with Philip Kaplan of AdBrite and F**ked Company

Jun 22, 2005 • 10:50 am | comments (0) by twitter Google+ | Filed Under WebmasterWorld 2005 New Orleans
 

This is the morning session, the only session taking place between the 9:00 - 9:45 slot; to just chat.

He introduces Philip Kaplan and how much he is interviewed and his past. Philip talks about mobog.com and how people are constantly posting pictures none stop. He admit it has gone completely to the gutter, with nude pictures constantly being posted. FC.com was started in April 2000 with cold fusion. He did some Web development in the past. But for the most part, he had people come to him with huge budgets and he built sites for them. He built some BBS software after outgrowing the open source or paid stuff he did. Before he had his own business he worked for an other company, think for new ideas, inc. A customer needed a super simple form on his web site and he said it would be a $150 for the form. He told his boss the price and his boss said we should charge $2,000. Then his boss gave it to the sales guy who added an other zero to it, so now it was $20,000 for a 10 minute form. He then built Avon.com for 1.5 million or so. He then decided to do this on his own, since there was a lot of money to make.

He started an obituaries site for dying companies, which recorded obituaries and its incredibly popular. Brett asked him if he felt guilty about it? He said no way. There are many creative ways to make sites make money. That is how he started F*ckedCompany.com and charged a fee to post stuff ($75). $75 came from his cable bill, so he reasoned if he had one subscriber, his cable bill is paid for.

The owner of WebLogsInc came up with an idea to take all press releases and mined financial data from those press releases. He made a ton of money selling this data (which most people trash, I do) to wall street companies.

He said he never did SEO his whole life. He said Google and other search engines does a good job ranking good quality sites, like his. He said, my advice, build quality useful site. He said he drove traffic to his site by making up hotmail addresses and posted into some sites where people were pro for this company and he went in there and posted a link to his site (acting like its not his site). We see this all the times in forums, that is how a lot of buzz starts. Brett said, so your a forum spammer.

Brett asked why did people find out so late that the boom was going to happen? Philip said why did it happen in the first place. He said some people made a lot of money during this boom.

How did AdBright start? He said he was running F*ckedCompany and he wanted to build up advertising but nothing worked right. Ad the same time people were emailing him wanting to advertise on his site. He didn't have a way to manage this. So he couldn't find a company to do it. So he built it just for F*ckedCompany only. So he has "Your Ad Here" that took you to a shopping cart. The first day he sold out and he raised his prices. He said other sites can use it so he turned it into AdBright. September 2004 he realized it had potential, he decided to get some funding for AdBright. So he went out and bought a booth, which the airline lost and he had to build his own (kinda funny since he 4 million in funding).

F*ckedCompany originally used a shared hosting company site and they called him and moved him to a dedicated. The site is pretty old school, its a whole mix of technology (flat files, cfm, php, perl, etc.) Its now on 3 boxes and he said its all a mess. He said his boxes are all rusted and nasty. He said AdBright is done right with 60 severs all uniform (PHP, MySQL, Apache). AdBright has two datacenters, 100MB per second.

Q: Do you see competitors coming? A: Like anyone they have seen lots of copycats. AdBright users are all gun-ho about AdBright. So AdBright customers send marketing materials of other AdBright competitors to him. He said what they do is a lot like AdSense (they were before AdSense). But here you manage all ads, who advertises on your site, you set pricing and so on. Google and AdBright are moving towards each other in technology perspective.

Q: Are you getting into branding ads (now mostly text links)? A: Yes, they are going to do this. In fact, AdBright started with banners. The whole idea is it is a tool for the publishers. But if the publishers wanted popups, they would facilitate it. Within a month or two you can see banner ads.

Q: Shaq asked if Philip thinks we are going to see a boom number two? A: Its a bit different now then it was then. He said in the past it was a powerpoint that got funded. But now people who get funded are those that have real working products. But also, look at AdWords people were paying up to $150 per keyword, and that will bubble but its a little bubble.

Q: How many clients have right now and what type of accounting solution do you have. A: The homepage of AdBright tells you in real time. They tried to make AdBright very transparent compared to how Google does it. "Serving 131,800,601 daily pageviews on 4,834 sites" at the time I write this. Probably 20,000 advertisers on the network. The accounting system is home grown, and its integrated in QuickBooks (cool).

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