2009 Digital Media Conference West Review

Peanut Labs and Survey Monkey Offer an Alternative to Ad Clicks

Digital Media Wire’s DMC West in SF last week was a small but informative event.  However, the items which interested this blogger were not the prognostications on the next mobile or IPTV delivery platform.  The growing wave of user profile data collection tools and using them to drive revenue may prove to be a significant business model for OTT Video and online game sites who are tired of pre-roll, post-roll, pop-up and banner ads cluttering their sites.

Dave Goldberg, CEO of Survey Monkey and Murtaza (“Murty”) Hussain, President of Peanut Labs were very forthcoming in their remarks on the first panel of the day.  This was especially welcome after a very boring morning “keynote conversation” about commuting between the East and West Coast, how to ship your reptiles when you move and why “DIGG” has two Gs instead of one – who cares?

150 of the Fortune 500 Companies Have Used Peanut Labs, according to Hussain.  Goldberg revealed that Survey Monkey’s revenue comes from large corporations who have multiple “premium” accounts.  The hook of free survey tools brings in department heads who want to capture their own data and not share it with other departments.

Gold from Survey Responses Instead of Ad Clicks:  So just how can content distribution and gaming sites make money from surveys?  Peanut Labs can place survey click banners on VOD or gaming sites which allow subscribers to rack up purchase points instead of paying cash.  When a survey is available which matches the subscriber profile, the user has an option to take the survey or not.  And when they do take it, “ca-ching”.  The site owner and the survey company split the revenue.

How Much is a Survey Response Worth? Murty Hussain stated that Microsoft was willing to pay $10-$15 per respondent for a survey about a new computer game.  Knowing if the subscriber is male or female will increase the CPM by as much as 60%.  With this type of payoff available, who would ever bother with pennies per ad click?

Protection from the “D” response to all questions:  Peanut Labs screens the responses and will flag a user who they believe is trying to scam their system by using “bad behavior”.  How? By getting the MAC address from the computer used to answer the survey questions.  If someone just takes survey after survey and answers all questions with the same response they are prevented from further participation.

What About Privacy? Both companies admitted that they collect consumer data from those who take their surveys.  And, the consumer has no clue if and when data is being collected, who can see it, where it is stored, and if it will be sold to the highest bidder.  Of course, there are the standard responses that “they” would never do this;  “their” data always purged; “they” never offer your data for sale.  But the veracity of these responses must be weighed against two known facts; 1)  They admitted to associating your data with the MAC address of your device; 2)  Selling data is their only source of revenue.

Keep pushing forward

Jeff Vinson


[You may contact Jeff directly for consulting or full time employment opportunities.]


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One Response to “2009 Digital Media Conference West Review”

  1. Robert Clark Says:

    Right there with you Jeff, on what’s more interesting where “game changing” is concerned these days. I’m more steeped myself in online publishing and contextual vs. all other online advertising trends, and all I can say about online advertising is what a diffused and confused marketplace! And it is really interesting to be a more “senior” career person looking at it from what it used to be traditionally (creative types nearly always being more younger), and maybe more than ever “youthful” practice (i.e., “Digital Agencies” and their bleeding edge concepts). I saw a very valid argument and debate today on how crowdsourcing may be a threat to the new Agency concept and “Ad Men & Women” paradigm and money-making prospects. Sorry, I could go on and on…

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