Media: Double Standards - 'The website E! Online is my guilty pleasure!'

Two heads of user-generated content sites reveal how they are going to increase revenue, keep their site users safe, and predict what the "next big thing" is going to be.

JEREMY VERBA - chief executive, Piczo

- Who are your biggest advertisers?

SonyBMG, Yahoo!, MSN, New Line Cinema, Sony Entertainment and NBC Universal, among others.

- Can you give an example of a recent campaign which made good use of your site?

Piczo partnered with MGM and its hit Stormbreaker. We offered a site promoting the film which allowed users to download the trailer, music from the film and wallpapers.

- How does your revenue model work?

Advertising and strategic partnerships are essential to our revenue model. The closures of Teen People's print edition and Top of the Pops signified a decline in mass media consumption by the young teen demographic. Advertisers are scrambling for ways to respond to this and we offer an adjacency to an otherwise elusive teen market segment.

- How do you plan to increase revenue to your site?

Piczo is looking to expand our revenue streams. We will have some exciting announcements to make on this subject in the near future.

- What advice can you give to brands that want to exploit the popularity of social networking sites?

At Piczo, we are constantly listening to our users; they are very vocal in what they like and dislike. Our initial 100 e-mails, which we sent out two years ago, have now grown to ten million unique users every month with an average 2.5 billion page views.

- Is there a danger users will misuse your site to promote illegal activities and upload offensive material? How do you stop this happening?

We take the safety of our users and the content on their sites very seriously. With a zero-tolerance policy, report abuse buttons and a quick response time in taking down offensive sites, our track record has been impressive.

- Have advertisers expressed concerns about being associated with offensive material?

Piczo has a skilled team to understand the goals of our advertisers and sponsors. Advertisers' concerns are valid about being associated with offensive material, but they appreciate Piczo's strategy towards offensive sites.

- Are users being put off by the increasing amount of marketing messages on social network sites?

Our users are savvy enough to know that what keeps Piczo free is the advertising and marketing messages they see. We haven't had any negative feedback from them so far.

- What makes a good social network page?

The goal is to facilitate the easy engagement and sharing among friends and contacts. This will lead to more meaningful relationships online, in parallel with your offline, real-world self.

- What do you think will be the next big thing in user-generated content?

Harnessing the power of the "long tail" of user-generated content and allowing users to promote and showcase the "brand of me" will keep UGC on track. In reality, the next "big thing" will likely be defined by this generation, which is claiming the web as its own medium.

- What's your media background and how did you come to work for a social networking site?

Before joining Piczo, I built and ran the Voice Services division at AOL. Before that, I was the president and chief operating officer of HearMe (formerly Mpath Interactive). I was also the founder and president of E! Online, one of the first businesses which focused on delivering entertainment news and services online.

- Which websites do you regularly visit?

News.com; grouper.com; bbc.co.uk; photobucket; valleywag.com; E! Online (my guilty pleasure!).

ANGEL GABINO - vice-president commercial strategy and digital media, MTV

- Who are your biggest advertisers?

Film distributors are the best-performing clients on mtvflux.co.uk. Our audiences love films and flux provides unlimited creative opportunities for distributors.

- Can you give an example of a recent campaign which made good use of your site?

Lucozade is a good example. It was based on when you most needed a kick of energy during the day. It integrated video, message plus unit (MPU) and other formats.

- How does your revenue model work?

We offer video and traditional online advertising. Other revenue streams we currently utilise include retail transactions offering audiences the ability to buy everything from tracks and ringtones to downloading your avatar or other content to your mobile phone.

- How do you plan to increase revenue to your site?

We're in continuous discussion with clients. Right now, we have content being made by aspiring creative novices. We want to provide a platform for them to sell their art.

- What advice can you give to brands that want to exploit the popularity of social networking sites?

Syndicate. Tap into existing communities by offering access to your brands and content through RSS or other forms of syndication. There is no cost - or a nominal cost -so long as you have the rights. Also, link back to your site and clearly brand it so that you get credit for your content.

- Is there a danger users will misuse your site to promote illegal activities and upload offensive material? How do you stop this happening?

We pre-moderate all content to ensure no copyright infringement is taking place. We've also cleared an extensive library of material for people to use.

- Have advertisers expressed concerns about being associated with offensive material?

We ensure no offensive material exists in flux by enabling audiences to report abuse and by monitoring it ourselves, as well as working with external companies.

- Are users being put off by the increasing amount of marketing messages on social network sites?

People like to buy, but they don't like to be sold to. Brands express someone's individuality. If marketing and advertising is contextual, then many audiences prefer free services supported by advertising.

- What makes a good social network page?

One which is intuitive. It must be elegant in its simplicity, while offering extensive personalisation and control.

- What do you think will be the next big thing in user-generated content?

Multimedia user-generated content. Think art with games with film with poetry with music.

- What's your media background and how did you come to work for a social networking site?

I started as a public interest environmental lawyer, then worked with American financial and media institutions to create ways for audiences to receive and pay for content online before setting up Gameplay, a London-based games company. I also worked for the BBC as the controller, business development and emerging platforms.

- Which websites do you regularly visit?

Last.fm, blogger, google, youtube and ifilm.

Topics

Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content