New CGM Platform Offers Advertisers Control

Hoping to marry the booming interest in Web sites that allow sharing of consumer-generated video and viral marketing opportunities, a new company, UGENmedia, is launching a hosted multimedia service platform today.

UGENmedia’s platform is intended to provide advertisers, agencies, and publishers with the ability to allow consumers interested in their products to upload videos, audio clips and text, and to share them with other consumers. While the platform is similar in style to video sharing sites such as YouTube and Google Video, says Adam Benjamin, co-founder and CEO of UGENmedia, companies using the platform can co-brand a hosted site for a greater level of control over what’s posted, as well as filter out inappropriate material.

“YouTube has done a phenomenal job to bring people together to enjoy other peoples’ videos, but there is a huge difference between us and them. We are not a community. We focus on the brand marketers,” says Benjamin. “We’re trying to provide a streamlined process for advertisers and agencies to incorporate this user-generated marketing into their clients’ programs.”

UGENmedia intends to provide filtering technology to weed out inappropriate or objectionable material, as well as actually watching some videos then providing feedback to the person submitting the material as to why it’s been rejected, according to Benjamin.

Initial customers for the UGENmedia platform acknowledge having a layer of control helps assure their message doesn’t get hijacked, but the overall benefits of a passionate group of consumers sharing information can be just as important.

“It’s going to be up to companies to balance the fear they have with allowing their brand to be interactive with consumers versus those that have a more open policy and recognize in this era of user-generated content that listening to consumers and embracing their opinions is what’s going to help companies to survive,” says Michael Bassik, VP at MSHC Partners, a democratic political advertising agency in Washington D.C. “Marketers are going to have to find a balance.”

MSHC Partners used UGENmedia’s platform to build a service for its client The Sunlight Foundation. It’s operating an awareness program to get people interested in congressional members by creating :30 movies depicting how Congressmen spend their time.

“It launched last week with no PR effort behind it. Its been word-of-mouth, and thousands of people have logged onto view videos that have been created and vote for them,” Bassik says of “Congress in :30 Seconds.” “Fifteen thousand people have been to the site to view videos created by the users. This is something we’ll be talking with all our clients about.”

Another initial user, video chat service Paltalk, intends to launch a contest for its users to create videos about their chat experiences, according to VP of Marketing Matthew Gore.

“What we want to do is locate the most passionate users of our service. UGENmedia gives us the ability to find those people and let them spread the word about Paltalk,” Gore says. “It makes total sense for us to use a service like this since we’re a video service and they can help us spread the word with video.”

The platform also provides companies with analytics such as time spent on the site.

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