Crowd Campaign, The Social Contest Builder

(I-Newswire) November 16, 2009 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CC_Glossy_Side2.pdf (1 page)New York, New York – November 16th, 2009 – At Web 2.0 Expo today, Social Collective, Inc., the company behind the hosted social networking and scheduling software that powered SXSW and Oracle OpenWorld, announced the launch of their newest product, Crowd Campaign. Using Crowd Campaign, Twitter users can easily launch cost-effective branded online contests.

With the power of Twitter and the social web, people who enter these contests, vote on entries, or make comments help propagate their viral spread via easy-to-use sharing tools that facilitate posting contest updates to a multitude of different social networking sites.

When setting up a contest, Crowd Campaign offers the ability to customize the contest’s subdomain, upload a logo and background image, write a Terms & Conditions page, set colors and styles, insert Google Analytics tracking code and change all of the contest rules and other marketing copy. Contest winners can be decided by popular vote or by an “expert panel” or some combination of both. Contests can include text entries, photo or video submissions and links to other content such as blog posts or web sites, meaning that Crowd Campaign contests can be used for any type of competition. Crowd Campaign also offers a rich set of entry management tools for removing offensive content, merging duplicate entries and tallying entries, votes and page views. Crowd Campaign offers a free version for contests containing no more than 10 entries and/or 100 votes. To increase these limits, contest managers can pay as little as $95 up to $4,995 for a one-year unlimited-use license.

Crowd Campaign is used by ad agencies, event managers, social media marketers, small business owners, popular authors, independent film makers and musicians – anyone who wants to leverage the power of the social web to build a brand. Any type of contest can be set up in 10-15 minutes, limited only by one’s imagination and federal, state and local laws.

During the private beta period that ended with today’s launch, hundreds of Crowd Campaign sites were created, including these prominent contests:

http://w2e.crowdcampaign.com — Ask Beth Noveck, Deputy CTO of the US Government a Question: Tim O’Reilly will pick from among the top questions and ask Noveck the best one during their Web 2.0 Expo Keynote later this week. The winner will also receive an autographed copy of Noveck’s book, Wiki Government.

http://w2e.crowdcampaign.com — Search for the Best LinkedIn Profile: Mike O’Neil and Lori Ruff will feature the top five vote-getters in O’Neil’s new book, Rock the World with Your Online Presence.

http://expoexpo.crowdcampaign.com — Ask Guy Kawasaki, Chris Brogan, Rick Calvert, Ann Hamilton and David Rich a Question — the panel moderator will ask the panel the top question at Expo! Expo! in Atlanta in early December. The winner will also receive an autographed copy of Kawasaki’s book, Reality Check.

http://techcocktail.crowdcampaign.com — Enter a DC-area startup company and Frank Gruber and Eric Olson will give the top vote-getter a free Bronze Sponsorhip at the next TECH Cocktail DC event (a $999 value).

http://digitalmarketingmixer.crowdcampaign.com — Suggest an idea for MarketingProfs’ Digital Marketing Mixer: the winner of a random drawing will receive a free registration to MarketingProfs B2B Forum 2010 in Boston, MA (a $695 value).

Mike O’Neil, who launched a Crowd Campaign contest in support of his book, Rock the World with Your Online Presence, said:

“With just weeks from start to finish, we embarked on a partnership with the folks at Crowd Campaign to see how we could find and refine applications for [online contest] technology in social media.”

O’Neil launched a very successful contest centered around finding top LinkedIn profile pages and featuring the winners in his book, which is “something that money can’t buy.” O’Neil remarked on how powerful it was for CrowdCampaign to “create a following around the pop culture image we represent with social media, networking and music.”

About Crowd Campaign

Crowd Campaign is a social tool for building brands. It’s used by ad agencies, event managers, social media marketers – anyone who wants to leverage the power of the social web to build a brand. Easy to customize and manage, you can launch a Twitter-powered contest including a branded promotional site in minutes from your desktop. It’s FREE to get started and there’s no sign up or credit card required. Start a contest today by visiting http://crowdcampaign.com

For more information, contact Clinton Bonner at Social Collective, Inc., [email protected], 860-608-9074

Procrastinators Rejoice: OpenWorld’s Social Schedule Builder is Live!

If you’re attending Oracle OpenWorld and you’ve waited this long to build your event schedule, boy do we have some good news for you!

You can use your existing Oracle Mix credentials to access a brand new social schedule builder powered by our flagship product, The Social Collective.

Of course we did plan to launch this a bit earlier, but due to many factors outside of our control, we ended up launching it the day before the conference. Well, better late than never! Now you can build your schedule in a social context, seeing who in your Mix network is attending each event so that you can make more informed decisions about what content you want to see at OpenWorld.

Your Mix login and password will get you in and there’s no need to re-add anyone to your network — all the work you’ve spent building up your Mix profile and social network will carry right over in our product. In fact, unless you look carefully at the URL, it’s hard to tell that you’re even leaving Oracle Mix.

Many thanks to the peerless (and tireless) Oracle Mix team: Marius, Tim, Hassan and Phil and to Chirag, Eric and other dedicated folks who run the Oracle Single Sign On partner application registration team (among other things) for all their support, help, patience and dedication. We couldn’t have done it without you guys.

Now, if you’re one of the nearly 100,000 people attending Oracle OpenWorld, what are you waiting for? Come on in and get social with your conference schedule . . . you have 24 hours, so get moving!

Letter of Commendation from NAFSA

We received a letter of commendation from one of our newer customers, The National Arts Festival of South Africa. Tony agreed to allow us to post it here on our blog.

NAFSA_LetterheadChris Bucchere
Social Collective
13800 Coppermine Road
Herndon, VA 20171
USA

7 May 2009

Dear Chris,

Just a note of sincere thanks to you and your team at Social Collective for the highly professional way in which you’ve approached the implementation of your tool on our website.

Undeterred by the fact that his client is several thousand miles and timezones away, Mike has done a great and very patient job of attending to the implementation and the multitude of requests for tweaks and changes from us.

The end result is great and in the couple of days the site has been live the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

You’ve got a great product and a great team – we’re very glad to have encountered both!

Thank you.

Regards,

Tony Lankester
CEO: National Arts Festival, South Africa

bdg welcomes Rémy Miralles!

remyI’m very pleased to announce our first hire of the year, Rémy Miralles!

Rémy hails from just outside Paris, France, so this marks the first time bdg has hired outside the US. He joins our team as part of the AIPT Trainee program, which granted Rémy a J-1 visa that allows him to work for us as an intern/trainee for 18 months.

During that time, he’ll be applying the web visual/graphic design to our Participate 2008 Social Applications and also porting them to the iTouch/iPhone. Given that no bdg-er is ever content to work on “just one thing,” I’m sure he’ll be involved in lots of other projects as well, including Feedhaus.

Rémy has already proven himself as an outstanding developer. In fact, he recently built a Facebook application that has 15,000+ users even though it’s only been out for a few months now.

Needless to say, all of us at bdg are very excited about working with the newest addition addition to our team.

Please join me in welcoming Rémy Miralles!

Feedhaus Selected as a SXSW Web Award Finalist

2008_web_awardsWe’re very pleased to announce that Feedhaus has been selected as a finalist for a prestigious SXSW (South by Southwest) 2008 Web Award!

We’ve been selected, along with four other great nominees, from among a pool of hundreds of sites for the “Technical Achievement” category, which, according to SXSW, describes “sites that are re-inventing and re-defining the technical parameters of our online experience.”

As a finalist, we’re also eligible for the “People’s Choice” award, so please vote for Feedhaus (daily until March 3rd).

Kudos to the SXWS committee for recognizing Feedhaus! Hope to see you in Austin from March 7th-11th for this great conference.

Chris Bucchere Interviewed by the Sloan (MIT) School of Management

sloanLast week I had the pleasure of being interviewed by former Plumtreevian and soon-to-be-graduate of MIT’s Sloan School of Management, John Osborne. Following the interview, he submitted this great write-up, which I have posted below. Enjoy!

Background

Chris Bucchere grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and studied computer science at Stanford University. After graduating from college, he spent five years working for Plumtree Software as a developer and implementation consultant focusing on integration and customization projects at customer sites. In 2002, he founded Bucchere Development Group (BDG), an independent consulting organization focused on helping Plumtree customers with implementation, integration, and training. BDG operates out of the DC Metro Area and San Francisco. This past week, I talked with Chris about how he identified his market and got his company running.

How did you identify the market? And get your first customer?

Chris commented that he didn’t put forth a lot of thought toward identifying the market. He had just quit his job and was moving to Washington, DC. He started calling all customer contacts he had worked with while at Plumtree. Since Plumtree had more consulting work than it could manage, a number of customers asked Chris to fill in the gaps. Chris signed on to do a six month engagement at Merck in the UK.

How did you fund BDG?

Chris leveraged the money he earned consulting for Merck to get BDG officially up and running. He structured the firm as an LLC, hired an operations manager and another consultant. Since that time, BDG has generally been able to fund itself through revenue. In times of greater financing need, Chris has turned to credit cards which—when exploited properly—can offer a low 1% interest rate.

Chris also noted that customer funding is emerging as an interesting source of capital. At the moment, one of his customers is providing the funding for a custom add-on. The customer wants the add-on themselves, but also wants BDG to be able to resell the product to other customers.

What do you do to ensure continued growth?

One of Chris’ major growth opportunities came serendipitously when BEA Systems acquired Plumtree Software. Chris quickly ramped-up on the BEA suite and became a consulting partner. Being a BEA partner opened up more potential customers and projects. Now BDG is a value-added reseller for BEA, a position that provides BDG a new channel for income. At the moment, BDG employs seven full-time staff to meet it customer obligations.

How do you drive new business?

BDG has released a number of small products as open source. This strategy has help generate new consulting engagements and get the firm name out. BDG is also considering developing more closed source add-ons which it can sell to existing customers.

What were the biggest challenges, and what would you do differently now?

Chris identified staffing as his single biggest challenge. He commented, “For me, staffing is harder than selling new business.” Chris struggled to find seasoned consultants. He therefore turned to college campuses. BDG recruits new college graduates and then runs them through its own six month training program, leveraging the same training materials it sells to customers.

Generally, what characteristics make entrepreneurs different?

Chris echoed the conventional wisdom about entrepreneurship. In short, folks who want to start new enterprises need to be self-confident and passionate about their work. And, above all, they need to be willing to take risks.

The Ruby IDK

It’s here: The little integration kit that could change the world. Thanks to the efforts of hotshot bdg developer Andrew Bays, the Ruby IDK is now rockin’ on BEA’s dev2dev CodeShare. Visit the project at https://rubyidk.projects.dev2dev.bea.com and start a discussion thread if you like.

Like all the best things in life, the Ruby IDK is free. It comes as a Rails project, so just unzip it and type ruby script/server and off you go developing Ruby/Rails portlets to your heart’s content. Enjoy!

bdg welcomes Andrew Bays to the team

It is with great pleasure that I ask you all to join me in welcoming our newest addition to the team, Andrew Bays.

Andrew will be starting this Friday, August 11th (should everything go well with his migration from upstate New York to the DC area). In keeping with the tradition of having our new college hires write EDKs/IDKs, Andrew will be tackling the opensource Ruby IDK as his first project at bdg.

Andrew’s distinguished background includes a Computer Science degree from St. Michael’s College where he graduated magna cum laude. He has taught Computer Science at the graduate level at SUNY Buffalo and at the undergraduate level at St. Mike’s. He’s also a published author and a former Research Assistant to two different professors.

A hardcore gamer, Andrew earned a volunteer position on the Tsunami Virtual World Project where he helps create infrastructure for some of today’s hottest Massively Multiplayer Online Games. Somehow he also found the time to start a business on the side called GamingPleroma, where gamers can buy and sell “virtual items” for real money through reverse auctions. While his business partner came up with the idea, Andrew was 100% responsible for building the LAMP-based site and serving as its webmaster.

Andrew can be reached at [email protected]. Please join me in welcoming Andrew to the bdg team!

Plumtree Odyssey+ADC 2005 wrap-up

With a resounding victory this morning in the Booth of Pain, bdg put the wraps on what will probably be the last Plumtree Odyssey.

We sent five people this year: me (President & CEO), Eric Bucchere (Account Manager) and Rich Weinhold (Plumtree Developer) representing the East Coast and Howie Bagley (VP Sales & Service) and Steve Markoff (Plumtree Architect) representing the West Coast. We had the opportunity to meet many of you at our booth – thank you for stopping by and introducing yourselves! In the upcoming weeks we’ll be raffling off the iPod Nano that was on display in our booth. If you asked us to follow up with you, expect to receive a follow up call or e-mail in the next 2-3 weeks.

Although the official feedback has not been tallied up yet, the talk we gave with Wind River was standing room only and I personally received lots of positive comments including one person who said that our session was the highlight of this year’s Odyssey. Another piece of feedback I got from Jack Jones of DTIC was that without our training (given in 2004), they would have gotten nowhere with their Plumtree project.

Winning the Booth of Pain competition was the icing on the cake. Despite the heat, the claustrophobic booth and numerous distractions from David Meyer (including scaling my booth, firing projectiles at me and scrawling the word “LOSER” across my booth with Silly String), I was able to compile and assemble the PTMingle application in about 25 or 30 minutes and then give a demo, which was very well received by the audience. In a humorous moment, I clicked on a del.icio.us hobby link related to “Romance Novels” and it displayed a half naked, hunky long haired dude with a cheesy smile (think Fabio). I quickly closed the window amid quite a bit of laughter from the audience.

PTMingle at this point is no more than a concept application/prototype, but expect to see the code used in the Booth of Pain competition up on the Code Share within the next few days. Plumtree data visualization in hyperbolic trees, profile integration with del.icio.us and Google maps integration are all hot topics right now and all areas of interest that bdg would like to pursue, so you should keep an eye out for more offerings from bdg that exhibit these features.

In closing, I wanted to send a resounding THANK YOU out to Yi Hong Xu of Wind River for her help with the presentation, to Mattias Cudich for plugging this blog during his Holland presentation (more on this later), to all of you who attended our presentation or the Booth of Pain, to all of you who stopped by our booth and last but certainly not least to the stellar team of bdg-ers who made this event a huge success for bdg.

On a personal note, this year’s Odyssey had a bittersweet feel for me. It was my sixth Odyssey, having attended four as a Plumtree employee, two as a bdg-er and missing just one (in 2003) and it will most likely be the last. We do, however, look forward to seeing all of you again next year at BEA World in San Francisco.

Look for more posts from me regarding the material presented at Odyssey, especially on Project Holland, which has exciting implications for future BEA/Plumtree offerings.