Digg, icanhascheezburger, InstantAction, FakeSteveJobs at NY Web 2.0 Expo

Following are my notes on the Friday keynotes from the NY Web 2.0 Expo

Jay Adelson, founder, Digg

We’re about to add 90m Facebook users as registered Digg users.
Collaborative filters are key to monetizing of social networks

Ben Huh, icanhazcheezburger.com
LOLcats started out in primordial soup of the internet.
Every piece of web 2.0 content came from a user.
In 4/07, 8m page views/month. Had grown from blog to web 2.0 component, because it allowed people to build LOLcats.
100% user-generated content
8,000 submissions/day.

9/07: 15m page views/month
Huh and some other investors bought the site.
Our goal: make users happy for 5min/day
6 posts a day
9am ET start, when people come to work
Strict promotional guidelines
We normalize the system

Rules: we don’t allow photos of cat on a stove with the flame on, but it can be next to the stove
3/08: 37m page views/day
3/08: launched a network: ROFLrazzi.com . Just acquired failblog.com, which is growing faster than icanhazcheezburger
Now 100m page views/month.
8 sites.
5 FTEs who moderate comments, pictures.
We lower the bar for content creation. The lower it is, the better content you’ll have.

Shawn Fisher, head of strategy/M&A for IAC
Future of video games.
Instant Action is defining the $2b online core games market.
Overall video games market is $34b

2 types of video games:
-$7b in console based: $400 for hardware, $60/game. Add an extra $50/year for cost of ownership
PC is $150/year for online connectivity, and $60/game. Much cheaper because you don’t have console cost.

Only 8% of console titles reached 650K units (breakeven on avg. investment)
It’s an expensive product, takes a long time to produce, expsnvie for users…but high engagement.
We see room for breakthrough in this market. See see new category of games: hardcore games moving to the web. Most publishers won’t focus on this — too disruptive and cannibalistic.
Altenative: full and engaging video games that function 100% in browser.
Advantages: low cost, rapid development, entirely online distrution, high engagement, free for basic access
That’s what we’re building.

New brand :instantaction. First web-based videogame platform. Multi-player game. Console quality delivered in the browser.

We fund and develop original IP.
700K registered users. 30mins./day avg. time on site.
Over 127 countries
50% users in US, 50% outside. Core demographic male 13-34.

Dan Lyons, Fake Steve Jobs

Just joined Newsweek as a columnist.
As an old media guy, attending this conference is like attending your funeral in advance.
Started this in June 06
He put Fake Steve Jobs on hiatus when he saw Steve looking so sick.
Wrote book, “options”, on his secret life.
Started blog, RealDan, which everyone says sucks.
He started the blog because:
1) had free time
2) fear. I saw what was happening to the news business. I tried to get a job on the dot-com side of Forbes, but was rejected. I was 48, grey hair.

I wanted to parody both Steve and also blogging as a form. This was mostly fiction. This was a comic strip that evolved into news.

Some people thought I was steve and wrote to me asking for features.
In a few months, I had 90,000 people reading this. That’s more readers than I had at the first newspaper that hired me. Soon I had 1.5m readers.

Rich Karlgard (Dan’s boss) launches search for who fake steve jobs is. Dan told him who he was.

Brad Stone of the NY Times broke the story. At this point, at least 100 people knew about it, so it’s not surprising I was outed.

Why does it work?

Once I was outed, this still worked. The community really liked his stuff.
– Consume & create
– Fake Vladimir Putin: a character who lived entirely on my blog, who argued with fake Noam Chomsky.
– It’s a performance space