Former Zango Execs Unveil BigDoor Media to Help Web Publishers Make More Money

10/14/09Follow @gthuang

It’s one of the great mysteries of the modern Internet. How can Web publishers make more money from their content? For everything from blogs and journalism to games and entertainment, publishers and software companies alike have been trying to solve this problem for many years.

Now BigDoor Media, a six-person startup in Bellevue, WA, thinks it has found the right approach, at least for a certain market. Its basic idea is to provide a revenue stream for entertainment publishers that bridges the gap between traditional advertising and subscription models. BigDoor, which is emerging from stealth mode today with a beta version of its software, provides an “offer platform” that acts as a gateway to a website’s premium content. Instead of paying for a game by credit card, say, a consumer can opt to fill out a survey, sign up for a newsletter, or buy an advertiser’s product (like Fiji Water, for instance).

This is not an entirely new idea. And in fact, BigDoor operates in a similar space as many other Seattle-area startups we’ve reported on, including AppBank (for social entertainment applications), DevHub (for creating and hosting websites), Mpire (for online-ad optimization), Wetpaint (for social publishing), and Others Online (for behavioral profiling of audiences), which was acquired this summer by the Rubicon Project. These companies have different customers and revenue models, but they are all fundamentally trying to help Web publishers make more money from their content.

What seems to set BigDoor apart is the experience of its founders. Keith Smith and Jeff Malek spent about 10 years in the online advertising world with Bellevue-based Zango, the controversial “adware” company that closed down earlier this year. Smith was CEO and co-founder of Zango, while Malek was vice president of engineering and products. Zango had success but eventually ran into problems, in part because adware in general—software that tracks which sites you visit and delivers targeted ads—became widely reviled by people who felt it violated their privacy or was just plain annoying.

The key is that Smith and Malek seem to have learned from their mistakes as well as … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com. Follow @gthuang

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