Limelight Networks Shells Out $110 Million For Ad Platform EyeWonder

Content delivery platform Limelight Networks has acquired ad platform EyeWonder for $110 million. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2010.

Seattle-based EyeWonder, which as seen success with its ad formats, helps interactive agencies and content publishers create, build, track and optimize rich media and interactive video advertising campaigns. Limelight recently acquired video ad insertion firm Kiptronic in May for an estimated $12 million.

Crunch Network: CrunchBase the free database of technology companies, people, and investors

Small Biz Corner: Email Campaign Software [TheAppleBlog]

Welcome to a new monthly series from TheAppleBlog. Each month we will cover a a specific topic specific to Small Businesses who use Macs.

As a small business owner/sole proprietor, connecting with customers is hard. There are all sorts of communication tools available, with social media being the most prevalent today. However, as old-school as it might seem, email is still the killer-app for the web. And, given that, you must have a strategy to connect with your customers via email. Thankfully, there are many tools on the Mac available to help you do just that.

What type of email campaigns might you use? Some examples might include:

  • Marketing Slicks
  • Press Releases
  • Newsletters
  • Advertisements
  • And more

For the purpose of this article, let’s look at both Pro editions of Direct Mail from e3 Software and MaxBulk Mailer from MaxProg. Both applications are relatively easy to use, although I found Direct Mail to be a little easier to work with overall. Each version has more features than their basic counterparts. To see a comparison list between the standard and pro features, please read here (Direct Mail) and here (MaxBulk).

Direct Mail Pro 2.2.3

When you first launch Direct Mail Pro, you receive a warning about sending SPAM. This is noteworthy, because of the two apps, only Direct Mail Pro mentions this as a potential issue.

SPAM nanny screen from Direct Mail

Upon agreement, you are presented with the main application and can see the options available. Direct Mail Pro automatically detects and uses any email accounts already present on your computer. To get started, I created a sample email (I copied the HTML from another email) and then added Mail Merge tags for the date and first name (there are tags available):

Direct Mail Initial Window with an example Email - credit comes from

Direct Mail Pro integrates with the Address Book, Microsoft Entourage and Daylite (as well as others) so that you can easily add users or groups. Once the users are added, click Send Message…

Direct Mail Pro includes (for a significant upgrade fee of $60) an email delivery service if you would rather not use your own email account.

Send Message Dialog Box

After you click Send, you’ll receive another SPAM warning. In some ways, this is irritating, although I can understand the precaution from the developer. Frankly, there should be an option to not see this dialog box.

SPAM nanny dialog box, round II

With the included e3 Delivery Service in Direct Mail Pro, you can track emails and view reports that include the email message, statistics, any hyperlinks, if the email was received by its audience as well as any potential bounced emails:

Direct Mail Pro History Tab with Reports/Results

MaxBulk Mailer Pro 7.1

When compared to Direct Mail Pro, MaxBulk Mailer Pro is a similar, yet different animal. MaxBulk takes a more hands-on approach to solving the email campaign problem. There is much more configuration involved than Direct Mail Pro, and with that configuration comes a little more flexibility.

There are no SPAM warnings when you first run MaxBulk Mailer Pro. The application window is very similar to Direct Mail Pro in that you have main some main tabs and simple toolbar for managing your email creation. In the example below, I have created a plain text email and provided some initial tags and specified formatting.

MaxBulk Mailer Pro Message Window with Tags

Unlike Direct Mail Pro, you do have to configure your email settings in the Settings tab. This is more cumbersome and can take some trial and error to ensure you have the right configuration prior to sending your message. Further, there is a preview tab that displays what the final message will look like and allows you to render your message in a browser.

Once your message has been sent, you receive a confirmation email with the relevant statistics:

MaxBulk Mailer Pro Delivery Report

A unique feature to MaxBulk Mailer Pro is that you can configure your own server to process the results of any email campaigns you send (this takes a little more configuration and advanced knowledge of database and FTP setup). Compared to Direct Mail Pro which includes its e3 Delivery service (and for a $60 premium), this is a nice feature.

MaxBulk Mailer Pro MLM Installation Dialog Box


Are you a do-it-yourselfer or do you like tools that do the work for you? If you’re the former, then I recommend MaxBulk Mailer. If you’re the latter, then I recommend Direct Mail Pro. Of course, there are other factors you need to consider, including:


  • MaxBulk Mailer Pro is $59.90, which includes the ability to track email messages that you set up on your own server.
  • Direct Mail Pro is $119, but it includes the ability to track email messages, handle bounced emails and more without any extra work on your end.

Application Integration

  • Native: Apple Address Book, Microsoft Entourage, Apple Mail, CSV files and more.
  • Via a separate plugin, you can import contacts from Marketcircle’s Daylite as well.

As for me, I chose Direct Mail Pro. I find the product is more polished and it makes email creation and management easier. In the end, I don’t think you will fail to accomplish your customer communication goal with either program.

FTC Disclaimer: Not-for-resale copies were provided for this review.

Sponsor Post: Mashery’s Tips to Enrich Your Developer Community

Editor's note: we offer our long-term sponsors the opportunity to write 'Sponsor Posts' and tell their story. These posts are clearly marked as written by sponsors, but we also want them to be useful and interesting to our readers. We hope you like the posts and we encourage you to support our sponsors by trying out their products.

The holidays are underway and 'tis the season of flowing eggnog, overgenerous meals, and contemplation of both the year gone by and the year to come. Reflecting on 2009, it's obvious that there has been phenomenal growth in the business of APIs with recognized sites Best Buy, Netflix, Etsy, New York Times, CBS Interactive, PayPal, LinkedIn, and others keeping busy ramping up their API platforms to extend their businesses in new directions.


What's not so obvious is that cool, compelling API offerings are only part of the equation. The true key to a successful API platform is successful developers. Launching an open API platform requires a holistic strategy that includes a value proposition for developers as well as your company, plus an actionable plan for cultivating a community inspired by economic opportunity.

Here we present you with some thought-starters to help you with your 2010 developer community resolutions:

Give the gift of self-help documentation and support

Developers are smart. They are motivated to find the answers themselves. Establish your developer portal as the face for your API platform. Supply effective tools and the latest information about your API to give developers the answers that they are seeking. Always start with a value statement about your platform that answers the question: "Why would a developer want to build an application on this API?"

Consider both new and experienced developers and cater the value proposition so you can provide a reason for developers to build once... twice... and keep on building in order to grow your application portfolio. Your portal is the knowledge gateway to your community, whether they are new to your API offer or seasoned partners who want to get the latest status and release information -"Gee, I wonder when that bug fix will be taken care of so I can pick up development?"

Achieve this by applying a three-pronged approach to your developer portal and community tools:

  • Developers go to your forums to search for answers, not to ask basic questions and wait days for the answers. Optimize search and prune your threads so that your discussion boards are a living knowledge base of accurate FAQs for your API platform.
  • Always add a status dimension to your discussion boards. Badges, exposing number of posts, and user ratings are a simple way to provide your most knowledgeable and active community members with a stamp of expertise. Offer small incentives to your experienced posters who are willing to handle the newbie questions. Their help will free up your resources to focus on the more complex issues. So keep 'em happy.
  • Include an open source dimension to your tools and documentation. Solicit input and suggestions, verify and proof the activity, publish or deny the post, and alert the contributors of the action. Open sourcing allows your API platform to support a greater breadth in coding languages and get updates updated more frequently.

Above all, if you launch an API platform, support it. By establishing the developer portal you are making a commitment that someone on your team will be there to respond to the developer community you are attempting to grow. Always continue to monitor and contribute to the discussions, and provide updates when and where relevant. Stay factual, be helpful, and don't hit send if you're feeling defensive. Moderators should be strong listeners because lessons from your community are the best feedback for successful growth.

Marketing is not a bad word

Don't be afraid of marketing. Bad marketing is a used car salesman trying to sell you something you don't need. Good marketing is information you need to make the best decision. Developers may say otherwise but they do respond to marketing that gives them useful information. Elevate and showcase the voices of developers who find information about your API useful. In many cases all you have to do is add a dimension of developer participation in marketing you are already doing.

  • Feeds, Feeds, Feeds. Customizable, automated, real-time feeds. Blogs, Twitter, and RSS status alerts are simple to implement and create a stream of multi-channel activity that can be maintained with a lean team. Additionally, comments, re-tweets, and @replies are easy ways to track community interest, opinions, and trends.
  • Be sure to list your API on ProgrammableWeb, a high-traffic directory and news source for the world of APIs. ProgrammableWeb is a prime resource for developers looking for new APIs.
  • Look into adding a customer-centric Net Promoter Score (or NPS) metric to measure your program success. Knowing if your developer community would recommend your service to others adds an important satisfaction metric to gauge adoption and activation.
  • Join the events bandwagon. No need to earmark non-existent funds for massive, impersonal developers conferences. Aim for an intimate, well-organized, and focused event to activate dormant developers into friendly evangelists.
  • Recognize, celebrate, and reward good behavior. The more positive interactions you can create enables and grows ambassadors who do the job for you. Build a team of evangelists and allow developers to reap the rewards from their hard work.

Provide developers with compelling incentives and data sets to create value

Yes, of course, the business comes first. The decision of what data to expose with your API platform needs to support and align with your corporate and product strategy. But don't develop an API platform ecosystem built only to maximize value for your company positioning developers as the contributors. All stakeholders both contribute and extract value from a sustainable, healthy ecosystem. Don't forget to consider the value that your platform will provide to developers. Who are the customers of your platform and what are their needs? What monetization models would create the best incentives? What is the economic appeal of participation to developers? A popular API provides a compelling value proposition to the platform provider, the platform participants, and end users.

Know what to measure and why you're measuring it

A community for community's sake is a beautiful idea. But when backed by company resources, the community should exist to create value and opportunity around your API. Have the foresight to build in the right measurement tools to validate the effort. Consider your budget decision makers and track for success.

Start with straightforward quantitative numbers: live applications, developers that signed up for the program, API keys distributed; then calculate the activation rate percentage (number of live applications / total developers).

Identify any revenue figures attributable to your API. Depending on your API monetization strategy this could be through direct sales, revenue-share, advertising, affiliate programs, or another creative model.

Look into positive qualitative feedback and voices of members of your community - posts, tweets, comments - items that can showcase developer appreciation, interest, and evangelism. This feedback should be monitored year-round and shared with the platform team and executives on a regular basis. It's a human reminder of the intrinsic value the community work brings to the brand and business.

Would you host a holiday soiree and forget to prepare for your guests?

So there it is. Don't fall into the "build it and they will come" mentality. It's no fun to stand on the sidelines watching other communities have all the fun; you need to invite them to your developer party! Whether you are newly launching or extending your community efforts, try some of these approaches to propel your API platform strategy in the direction of growth in 2010 and beyond.


Calibre’s e-Book Management Tool Adds Nook Support [jkOnTheRun]

New e-book readers are appearing on what feels like a weekly basis, and getting content to them is a common theme. While some have Wi-Fi and others have 3G connectivity, nearly all of them can be connected to a computer to add e-book titles. That’s where Calibre comes in — it’s like the DoubleTwist of e-book content because it doesn’t just manage your e-book library, it converts content for use on many different devices. The latest device to gain support in Calibre is the Barnes & Noble Nook. Calibre version 0.6.27 isn’t quite the latest release of the software — there are two updated minor versions — but with it, Nook owners can convert content to and from both EPUB and PDB for their device.

What makes Calibre so useful is the large number of devices it supports: SONY PRS 300/500/505/600/700, Barnes & Noble Nook, Cybook Gen 3/Opus, Amazon Kindle 1/2/DX, Netronix EB600, Ectaco Jetbook, BeBook/BeBook Mini, Irex Illiad/DR1000, Foxit eSlick, PocketBook 360, Italica, various Android phones and the iPhone. With a single piece of cross-platform software — Calibre works on Windows, Mac and Linux — you can manage all titles in your library and read many of them on multiple devices. Here’s a list of the extensive file format support:

  • Output Formats: EPUB, FB2, OEB, LIT, LRF, MOBI, PDB, PML, RB, PDF, TCR, TXT

Folks interested in using Calibre with an Android device might also want to check out WordPlayer in the Android Marketplace. Although Shortcovers (now Kobo) works well for Android, Calibre supports the WordPlayer e-book reader software.

Android 2.1, Multi-Touch Available for Brave Droid Users [Hacks]

Since the Motorola/Verizon Droid saw its first rooting, it was only a matter of time until usable hacks and ROMs came along. If you're the (very) brave type, and you want to see what all the fuss is about the 2.1 Android release running on Google's Nexus One phone, you can now install 2.1 on your Droid, assuming you've got root access and the Nandroid backup app installed—or you can just view the video above for a quick preview. There's also a hack to get multi-touch browsing working with the Droid's European build software, but that seems somehow riskier, as basic elements like GPS don't appear to work, and a more complete ROM should be available very soon. [AllDroid, Boy Genius Report]

The Anti-Ad Network Contenture Shuts Its Doors

Contenture, a startup that aimed to be the “anti-ad network,” is shutting its doors after only a few months of business. Conenture wanted to shake up the online ad market with its monthly-fee based network, which was paid in micropayments, to offer visitors the option to do things like turn off ads, turning a site to a subscription-based model. It basically offered a full-on “freemium” model, giving users the option to toggle certain features on and off depending on if a user has paid. Contenture has been added to the deadpool.

Contenture let a bunch of sites sign up to this model and have users pay one flat monthly fee to have access to all of these sites. That money would then be distributed to all of these sites. These sites could determine what Contenture subscribers get as a part of their subscription. Some may lose the ads, some may have special commenting ability, etc.

The startup said on its website that it was not able to get any large publishers to sign up for its service, and couldn’t survive without these clients. A similar model has been tried by the likes of TipJoy and others, but Contenture took it a bit further with the freemium business model.

As we wrote a few months ago, the idea behind service seemed like a gamble Because it is based around a monthly-fee, users may not want to sign up for the service because of the limited number of sites available — while sites not want to sign up because of the limited number of users. All in all it’s a tough sell, which is why Contenture didn’t catch the eyes of publishers so quickly.

Crunch Network: CrunchBoard because it’s time for you to find a new Job2.0

BT Hopes to Fast-track Fiber Broadband [GigaOM]

bt_sevenoaks_028.pngBT, a company well known for dragging its feet when it comes to deploying a super-fast broadband network for its consumers, this morning surprised everyone by saying that it will ramp up the deployment of its ultra-speedy network and have it ready by the London Olympics in 2012. Incidentally, the 2012 date was promised by BT when the company unveiled its fiber broadband plan in July 2008.

Just having it ready won’t mean that every Briton is going to have access to the network, which in theory promises to offer 100 Mbps connections. By 2012, BT would cover only 40 percent of homes, or roughly 4 million of the total 10 million BT has earmarked as potential customers. The UK government wants everyone to have a 2 Mbps connection by 2012.

Photos courtesy of BT.