At the defrag conference in Denver in November, many attendees were intrigued, excited and committed users of a product from Colorado company EventVue. EventVue was founded in 2007 by Josh Fraser & Rob Johnson. And they’re alumni of the inaugural class of TechStars. Originally the EventVue offering focused on attendee list functionality, giving conference attendees a chance to introduce themselves and learn about each other before they arrive. They provided attendees at the May 2009 Glue conference with their tools and, frankly, I wasn’t overly impressed. Oh what a difference six months can make.
Originally a part of their standard community product, Chatter was born a few months ago when they started having significant technical issues with this feature which rendered it pretty much useless. As a result, several of EventVue’s customers passionately complained about the broken chatter functionality. While it was a rough experience for them, it was good because it helped them identify the one feature that drew real passion from their customers.
The criticism drove them to look at the ways that people currently participate in conversations at conferences and made them realize that there was a lot that could be done better. Enter Chatter, a stand-alone, real-time conference stream application that really is the best way to talk about an event online.
So what makes EventVue Chatter so great? A few defining features:
Speed – It’s way faster than Twitter search, TweetDeck or just about any other twitter client that I tried at the event. EventVue uses the streaming API which is often faster than twitter.com itself. The app automatically shows new updates as they come in which makes for a faster experience than Twitter search which just notifies when new items come in instead of actually showing them.
Inline commenting – There are comments! Yes, you can actually have threaded conversations FriendFeed style in EventVue (see screen capture below)
Be loud without pissing off your followers. Anyone who attended defrag will attest to the fact that I hit Twitter pretty hard during the event. While my non-attending followers had some interest in what was going on – it was really liberating to be able to comment on conference related messages within Chatter (see screen capture).
So… the six million dollar question. Job and Josh are lovely guys but niceness doesn’t pay the bills. How are they actually going to monetize the product. Josh reports that;
We’re currently working on adding some premium features to chatter in addition to opening it up for every event (right now it’s only available for a hand-picked selection). Some of the premium features we’re considering are the ability to “claim a page” which would allow organizers to add branding, include chatter as a widget and have moderation tools and analytics on the backend. We’re still working out the pricing for everything but are pretty excited about adding an additional revenue stream to our existing community sales.
I really hope EventVue crack it. Chatter is a truly useful product, Rob and Josh are genuinely nice guys and both of those things (in my books anyway) count for a lot. I’m already looking forward to using Chatter again at Glue conference next May.