Home  › Media › Mobile
highlight

Highlight CEO Talks Hype, Monetization and Privacy

  |  March 30, 2012   |  Comments

SXSW buzz-child sounds patient about creating revenue.

highlightAs a South by Southwest darling, few tech brands benefited from more buzz during March than Highlight. But the San Francisco startup's CEO, Paul Davison, told ClickZ New yesterday that he's not at all keen on the chatter.

"I hate the hype," he said. "I actually do."

Davison was busy prepping the new version of his so-called serendipity app for approval submission to the Apple store. The update, he said, will include making the app less of a drain on iPhone batteries, among other tweaks.

Davison is focused on a range of technology issues related to his app, not so much on creating revenues. For instance, he pointed out the three-month-old Highlight is still without an Android version. He said his venture capital-backed company may not focus on monetization "for a few years."

Down the road, he said, "There will be things we can do around advertising... We could help reach people with certain interests or from a certain area. We can help businesses learn more about their customers. Though it's all about critical mass…If we get our product so it helps the world, there will be a lot of ways to make money."

Davison was mum on user numbers. On whether Highlight's eventual monetization model would look more like Facebook or Foursquare, he remarked, "I think it could look different from both of them. If I had to guess, it would probably look more like Facebook."

Here's how the Highlight user experience works: If a "friend of a friend" is in the coffee shop next door, the user will receive a push notification. He or she will see images and names of nearby strangers on the app with which he or she has "1 thing in common" or "2 things in common." The key utilities, in theory, are that Highlight will help users meet more people while reconnecting with users they already know.

"It happens more often than you'd think that your friend is behind that wall," Davison said. "Or that the person sitting next to you knows 32 of your friends."

Unlike Foursquare and Facebook Places, check-ins are not a part of the process. As tech marketers like to say, the app is "frictionless." But questions easily arise. Will this particularly transparent brand of location-based information rub social media users who also like a little privacy the wrong way? And will the app be attractive to users who are older than Gen Y? Future mobile users of all ages will accept more transparency, Davison contended, just as consumers have grown accustomed to the privacy given up in the last two decades because of cell phones, the Internet, and social media.

"The same thing happened with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Foursquare," he said. "When those new technologies came out, they were mostly used by people that were younger. And that's pretty natural… Just think of 10 years ago. If you saw a pretty sunset or something unusual, you weren't as inclined to share that as you are today."

ClickZ Live Toronto Twitter Canada MD Kirstine Stewart to Keynote Toronto
ClickZ Live Toronto (May 14-16) is a new event addressing the rapidly changing landscape that digital marketers face. The agenda focuses on customer engagement and attaining maximum ROI through online marketing efforts across paid, owned & earned media. Register now and save!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Christopher Heine

Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

ClickZ Today is our #1 newsletter.
Get a daily dose of digital marketing.

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

Featured White Papers

ion Interactive Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper

Marketing Apps for Landing Pages White Paper
Marketing apps can elevate a formulaic landing page into a highly interactive user experience. Learn how to turn your static content into exciting marketing apps.

eMarketer: Redefining Mobile-Only Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop

Redefining 'Mobile-Only' Users: Millions Selectively Avoid the Desktop
A new breed of selective mobile-only consumers has emerged. What are the demos of these users and how and where can marketers reach them?

Jobs

    • Contact Center Professional
      Contact Center Professional (TCC: The Contact Center) - Hunt ValleyLooking to join a workforce that prides themselves on being routine and keeping...
    • Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador
      Recruitment and Team Building Ambassador (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreAgora, www.agora-inc.com, continues to expand! In order to meet the needs of our...
    • Design and Publishing Specialist
      Design and Publishing Specialist (Bonner and Partners) - BaltimoreIf you’re a hungry self-starter, creative, organized and have an extreme...