Friday, January 27, 2006
Interview with Evan Rifkin, TagWorld
Evan Rifkin is president of TagWorld (www.tagworld.com), a new Santa Monica-based startup that is developing an online, social networking tool that allows users to tag, blog, and post music and videos. The company is targeting the MySpace crowd with its own social networking tools. Evan gave me a demo of the company's services, and answered a few questions.
BK: What is TagWorld, and how long has it been around?
ER: TagWorld was incorporated in July, and went into alpha in August. We started our beta in November, launched a music offering mid December, and we've just launched our video offering.
BK: How did the idea for TagWorld come about, and what drove you to create a company around the idea?
ER: We had been using Blogger, del.icio.us, and Flickr, and we wanted to create an integrated offering that combined a social networking offering similar to MySpace. Over the summer we found that Blogger didn't let you upload any photos, so you'd have to log in to Flickr and bounce between two programs. We would also use del.icio.us in order to discover new sites to blog about and share with our friends. We believe that these core offerings would create a very powerful platform if it they were truly integrated.
BK: What's the target demographic for TagWorld?
ER: Our target demographic is 13 – 24, but the product also caters to 25 – 34 year olds. When we launched our alpha we believed our goal was 25 -34 years old. However, it became clear that the 13 – 24 year olds were going to be the ones to push our product to the limit. They are the ones spending tons of time on MySpace and yet really aren’t equipped with the correct tools to express themselves. Our product offering is about 40% of the way there and there is a lot more on the way. However, in its current state the initial offering is a truly integrated service that enables push button publishing.
BK: I understand you're currently self funded. Any plans to attract some angel or venture capital investment?
ER: TagWorld is self funded. We are always open to talking to the right partners and exploring our options.
BK: What's the background of the founders?
ER: TagWorld's founders bring a combination of consumer and enterprise-level technologies under their belt, with extensive experience in online gaming, online advertising, web authoring and graphical design tools.
BK: Why would users use TagWorld rather than some of the more established services like MySpace?
ER: TagWorld's feature set and flexibility is what sets our offering apart from other players in the space. TagWorld offers all of the best services of other platforms under one roof. Rather than keeping separate logins for a photo-sharing service, a bookmarking service, a blogging tool, and a social networking site, members of TagWorld can keep all of their data in one place and easily manage it and display it on their own personalized website (up to 1 GB of storage free).
TagWorld also brings the ability to create a custom-built, professional looking personalized site to the entire web. In the past, to create a website one needed an understanding of computer programming and HTML. On TagWorld, you are able to add custom backgrounds, display videos, add music players with your own custom play lists, add photo slideshows, and even create a fully interactive multiple page website all without any knowledge of HTML. Rearranging content is as easy as dragging and dropping!
BK: Finally, what is TagWorld's revenue model--are you going to be fully ad supported or will you require a membership fee?
ER: Ad supported.