Update: Slide VP Keith Rabois tells us we’ve got it all wrong calling the startup a branded app-maker like Buddy Media.
Slide builds very engaging, highly branded applications like SuperPoke, Top Friends, and SuperPoke Pets.
Users pay us for an upgraded experience in all of these apps. And, like, with Facebook gifts, when executed well, this presents a very substantial revenue opportunity.
Standard ad units are mostly an interruption or a speed bump on the user experience. We only want to be selling integrated sponsorships that are consistent with the user experience and hence leverage our applications’ brand value to boost the clients appeal to the Facebook demographic. We value this ability and will only be selling these at $500k to $1 MM.
We changed the composition of our sales team yesterday merely to ensure that we had the correct skills to succeed at pitching $1MM deals as opposed to an ordinary RFP.
These will be quasi-business development deals so we need quasi-business development people, not standard IAB sales people.
Earlier: When social network app-maker Slide took $50 million in funding to set its value at $500 million in January 2008, the only way to almost justify the outrageous figure was to say Slide wasn’t really a widget-maker, but a huge ad network in the making.
Since then, the ad market has cratered even while inventory continues to expand.
So yesterday, Slide officially switched strategies. CEO Max Levchin told GigaOm Slide laid-off a couple ad sales people, reassigned a few others, and plans to hire business development people who can focus on bringing in big app-sponsorship deals worth $500,000 or more.
The good news for Slide is that the branded app business is a good one to be in. Probably the best at it is New York’s Buddy Media, which will do more than $10 million in sales making branded apps this year.
Buddy Media got there because brands want to be online, apps are cheap to make, and because its a formula with ROI built in, it’s easy to charge brands per user-install.
But the bad news for Slide is that as much as we’re impressed with the job Mike Lazerow’s done with that startup, it would be a stretch to call Buddy Media a $500 million company. The same goes for Slide.
Photo: Robert Scoble
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