Archive for September, 2010

An F3 investor asked me whether we’ve finished streamlining the processes of creating a community on Interaction Community Systems and uploading content to FargoTube.  The answer is “no,” but we’re getting close, and we expect both updates to go live in mid-October.

The gist of the Interaction update is that homeowners associations, property managers, churches and other membership-based groups can set up their online communities without having to call us. A community representative enters its information — including members’ names, addresses, and e-mail addresses — and can start using Interaction almost immediately. The representative also provides credit-card information, though we don’t charge during an initial 30-day trial period.

The new process will save us staff time, and we believe most clients will find it much more convenient, though they’re still welcome to call us if and when they need assistance.

The FargoTube update goes beyond the streamlining of content acquisition, but I’ll discuss only that one aspect here and now:

The new interface will walk the content owner through the process step by step. It will focus on the content, rather than the social network built around that content. Content owners will still have the option to create social networks — known as “fan sites” — around their content, either immediately or later, and we strongly encourage that because it helps to make FargoTube a unique experience for fans. But we also want to keep the content owner from feeling overwhelmed at the beginning.

The site’s new organization will also encourage users to check out videos that they might not have discovered otherwise, for example by displaying links to the fan sites of artists in the same genre as what the user has been viewing.

In the meantime, a new module to go live within a few days will allow content owners to set up online stores to sell t-shirts, coffee mugs and other paraphernalia.

FargoTube has gone viral

Posted: September 17, 2010 by chrisbagley in F3 Technologies, FargoTube, Uncategorized
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Anthony Snape's tube on FargoTube

FargoTube hit a sort of milestone today, when a couple of music acts found the site and uploaded their music and videos without us contacting them directly. We just noticed new accounts being created by the heavy-metal group Skydrip and by Anthony Snape, a singer-songwriter with an indie/pop/rock feel who counts Cold Play, Rob Thomas and Neil Finn among his influences.

This means FargoTube, our revolutionary platform that combines video, entertainment and social networking, has gone viral through word-of-mouth advertising, and possibly that it’s becoming cheaper for FargoTube to acquire new content partners. Anthony found FargoTube through a friend in the music industry, and we assume that Skydrip found us either through Twitter, through one of the content partners we’ve signed since June, or after seeing one of our ads on Google,

Skydrip's FargoTube channel

MySpace or Facebook. It’s also possible that they saw one of the press releases we aimed at the artistic community, such as our announcement that we’ve increased the percentage of revenue that FargoTube shares with content partners.

Regardless, we’re very happy to welcome Anthony and Skydrip to FargoTube, and we look forward to helping them share their music, careers and lives with fans.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve made two moves that we expect to increase FargoTube‘s visibility — significantly — in the country-music industry.

First, we’ve engaged a public-relations firm, Splash! PR, to help introduce FargoTube to musicians, record labels and entertainment journalists. Splash! is based in Nashville, where most of FargoTube’s initial partners are located, so we expect many (though not all) of these introductions to be within the country-music industry.

Splash!’s principal, Vanessa Parker-Davis, has helped clients onto the Tonight Show with Jay Leno and into Entertainment Weekly magazine and the Wall Street Journal, so we’re hoping for a significant boost.

Secondly, you may have seen our press release this morning about our involvement in Next Big Nashville and Leadership Music Digital Summit 2010, which runs from September 29 to October 2 at Belmont College. F3, FargoTube and the Recording Industry Association of America are sponsoring lunch on the opening day, which we expect to draw more than 1,000 decision-makers from bands, music associations, record labels and the digital-media industry. An associated music festival is expected to draw 15,000 fans.

We’ll have at least one big banner for FargoTube and one advertisement in the program for the event. Chief Executive Officer Frank Connor, Chief Operating Officer Paul Campbell and Senior Vice President for Business Development Stephanie Miller will be at the conference to press the flesh, explain and demonstrate FargoTube and, if all goes well, bring aboard more content partners.

This post has been updated with separate estimates for attendance at the LMDS summit and the associated music festival.

Two pieces of big news today for Interaction Community Systems, our platform for managing communications and finances for homeowners associations.

You may have seen our press release this morning about our new relationship with TransFirst, the national payment processor. TransFirst processes $30 billion in transactions annually. The company has a special focus on community banks, which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. defines as institutions with assets of less than $1 billion. HOAs and property managers are local entities by definition, making them bread-and-butter customers for community banks. So it’s safe to assume that several million of the $30 billion is in the form of HOA dues and HOAs’ payments to landscapers, roofers, plumbers, property managers and other vendors. The Interaction platform probably won’t be exposed immediately to all of that, but F3 will try to expand the relationship if all goes well.

Fewer of you probably saw Interaction mentioned in the fifth paragraph of the August 20 article in the Chicago Tribune (circulation 515,000) about the trend toward automation and digitization among HOAs and property managers. I myself saw it just this morning.

Here’s the article’s “nut graf,” journalistic lingo for the summary paragraph following the lead-in anecdote about a paperless property manager:

“Over the past decade, community associations have been performing more and more of their operational tasks electronically. Owners go online to pay assessments, request maintenance, read the monthly newsletter and download the rules. Managers move money, solicit bids and send reports. Procedures like these save money and labor by providing easy storage and transfer of information and less time spent on the telephone.”

It’s worth noting that Interaction performs all of the tasks that I italicized in the passage above, and a lot more. It also lets administrators prepare accounting reports for analysis, and includes several functions found in more purely social networks — messaging, “walls” and photo sharing, for example.

There will be an app for that

Posted: September 1, 2010 by chrisbagley in F3 Technologies, FargoTube, Uncategorized
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One of our regular readers suggested that we develop a FargoTube application for iPhones and for the Droid operating system. It’s a good suggestion, and it is in the pipeline. Our chief operating officer, Paul Campbell, told me we’re aiming to have something for the iPhone and probably also for Droid.

The idea is to develop a FargoTube app, and then let our artists rebrand it to serve their own tubes, the social networks they set up around their content. They may or may not be able to customize the app further; we haven’t made that decision yet.