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Cort: Recently I had the pleasure to interview one of the founders of a hot new Web 2 site called Zimbio, Tony Mamone.
Tony, I know that you are one of the "hotshots" in Internet Marketing; however I would like to know what you did before your Net involvement. When was this? What got you interested in the Net?
Tony: I graduated from college with engineering degrees, and started work in telecommunications. But I was living in San Francisco at the time and I quickly got hooked on the energy and enthusiasm surrounding Internet businesses.
I launched FindArticles.com, a search engine for magazine articles, in early 2000 and it was an amazing experience.
I also worked on search solutions for MSN, Dogpile, and Inktomi as a senior executive at LookSmart.
In 2005 and 2006, I got super excited about the power of on-line collaboration and decided to start Zimbio. Zimbio is like a network of magazines, it offers thousands of interactive "wikizines" about any kind of topic, covering both popular culture and special interests.
Wikizines are interactive magazines that anyone can create or edit. They're a mix of technology, mainstream media, and participatory journalism - so people can either check out the best stuff that other people posted about a topic, or they can add photos, articles, or videos themselves.
Cort: What have been your biggest successes in your business and why? Failures? What would you do differently if you could do things over?
Tony: Here at Zimbio, we’re creating a new type of media business. We like to describe it as a technology-driven, democratic modern media company.
We know our mission - to help people become influential players in how stories are created, shaped and shared. But we’re constantly tinkering, inventing, and trying to improve the service.
When we were first getting the company off the ground, we spent a bit too much time building a few too many different features. Eventually we learned that it was far better to concentrate all of our efforts on just a few “most important” features, and do those things extremely well.
Successes and failures all get mixed together in the creative, sometimes crazy, energy of a start-up.
But for me the most rewarding success stories come from our members, and from seeing more and more people using Zimbio to learn about different stories and share what they know.
We’ve been growing rapidly since we launched the site last year, and we’re now seeing over a million unique visitors each month.
Cort: Wow, that is quite impressive! Yes, I have more than a few WikiZines going myself. So like Wikipedia Zimbio uses “wiki.” Compare this to Wikipedia.
Tony : Like Wikipedia, Zimbio lets anyone collaboratively write or edit subjects of interest – but Zimbio goes beyond a facts and figures reference tool. We’re an interactive media destination that covers popular culture topics with context, opinion and multi-media. Anyone can easily launch a wikizine – an interactive magazine - and we encourage writers to share their opinions.
By giving people attribution for their work, we help people become influential players in how stories are created, shaped and shared. We also help bloggers promote their sites by featuring blog articles in each wikizine, and by including links back to original blog posts.
Cort: What would be your advice to Internet newbies concerning Internet Marketing in general?
Tony: Don’t forget that marketing goes both ways. Listen to your customers, because the best product ideas will inevitably come directly from your community of users. Talk to them as often as possible, in as many ways as possible.
Email can be a great channel for getting feedback and feature requests from customers, but instant messaging, blogs, and forums can also help reach more people. Ask for feedback, and be sure to personally read customer service emails.
Create the most compelling product you can, and word will eventually get out!
Cort: GREAT wisdom, Tony! Got any freebies or special discounts for our readers?
Tony: If you have a personal blog and you’re looking for new ways to reach a wider audience, you can submit your blog for free to the Zimbio network. We’ll do our best to syndicate and feature your articles, and create inbound links to your site.
To learn more, visit http://www.zimbio.com/company/bloggers?DEMC
Cort: Super,Tony!Anything else you’d like to add?
Tony: I’d like to invite everyone to check out Zimbio, and if you have ideas or suggestions for us, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org . Thanks!
Cort McCadden also known by his real name Hugh Simpson is a former consumer investigative reporter for Post Newsweek TV and the co-founder of the new website http://www.showtheworldyoururl.com a video based business directory.
DEMC subscribers get a FREE upgrade Top Slot placement in the directory that will normally be $45 for the first year. So submit your 90 seconds or less, ORIGINAL video today - http://www.showtheworldyoururl.com !
If you would like a PDF that on creating a video contact -
Subject line: Video Creation E-book.
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