Giant Thinkwell Ditches Facebook Games, Dives into the “Live Web” with Flickmob

9/9/11Follow @curtwoodward

The Seattle startup that put hip-hop legend Sir Mix-a-Lot back in the national headlines is making a big shift. Giant Thinkwell, a member of the first Seattle TechStars class, has dropped its previous focus on making Facebook-based games for celebrities and is now digging into a new project called Flickmob.

It’s still in a semi-private beta testing, but it’s been possible over the past several days to get a glimpse if you follow the crew on Twitter.

Flickmob is a video version of Turntable.fm, a hot Silicon Valley startup that lets people log into virtual rooms and share music with others as cartoon avatars bop their heads and vote for favorites. In Flickmob, users earn points from the crowd by picking gems from YouTube.

Here’s a shot of me enjoying “Brooklyn We Go Hard” by Jay-Z:

The inspiration came from actually being bona fide power users of Turntable.fm: When they were promoting the Mix-a-Lot Facebook game, Giant Thinkwell came up with the marketing masterstroke of getting Mix-a-Lot himself to guest-DJ in a Turntable.fm room—and the team hacked together a custom avatar that pasted a Mix-a-Lot head onto his character.

The room was quickly flooded to capacity with fans. The combination of Mix-a-Lot’s fame and Giant Thinkwell’s creative promotion got the game a ton of press—including a mention in Jimmy Fallon’s “Late Night” monologue. The number of fans on Mix-a-Lot’s Facebook page exploded from about 1,200 to 21,000 in just one day, Giant Thinkwell CEO Adam Tratt says.

But very few of them were actually digging into the game itself, even though it offered exclusive personal prizes like a ride down Seattle’s Broadway in Mix-a-Lot’s Lamborghini. After all that labor, something wasn’t sticking.

“Our conclusion was, these 21,000 Mix-a-Lot fans, they love him for his personality, they love him for his music, they love him for his exotic cars—but they’re not going to start playing a social game just for the hell of it,” Tratt says. “The question at the end of that was: Do we try to go after a different celebrity that might have a better overlap with the social game demographic? Or do we do something new?”

That something new is Flickmob. Because it’s in a beta test, the … Next Page »

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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