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Help Yourself: Triggit’s Real-Time Display Ad Bidding Platform Is Now Self Serve

12 Mar

Last year Triggit, a startup that launched in early 2008, shifted gears to become one of the web’s first demand side advertising platforms. Triggit is part of a new movement in advertising that holds real-time auctions for individual ad impressions, which allows advertisers to better target which sites their ads appear on and who sees them. And today, Triggit has launched a new self-serve platform that it hopes will make running display advertising as easy as it is to run the text-based search ads that made Google a money-making machine.

Triggit launched this demand-side platform in October, but up until now it has been a ‘full service’ solution — in other words, you’d have to work directly with the company in order to manage your advertising campaigns through their system. Now anyone can sign up.

For those who aren’t familiar with these real time ad auctions, Triggit sits on top of a half dozen real time ad exchanges, which are offered by Google, Yahoo, and others. When these ad exchanges have an available impression they offer it, in real-time, to services like Triggit to see how much their clients are willing to bid for the ad impression. Triggit’s system automates this for their customers, allowing them to set rules around how much they’re willing to spend and where their ads should be shown.

The new self-serve signup form should be straightforward to anyone who has run an ad campaign before. You enter the maximum CPM you’re willing to spend on your ads, upload your creative, and if there’s a maximum number of times you’d like the ad to be shown to a given user, you can set a frequency cap.

There are also some advanced options for tracking ad conversions and retargeting. And Triggit’s tracking pixel can dynamically adjust an advertising campaign automatically — if the system detects that a certain site is performing better than others, it can start sending more impressions to that site. Other options include geotargeting, and the ability to whitelist or blacklist specific sites.


List of Legal Resources For Startups and Entrepreneurs

10 Mar

Lately on the startup blogosphere there has been a lot of talk about lawyers and how they relate to startups and entrepreneurs. A few weeks ago, Scott Edward Walker, a guest author on Venture Hacks, posted his Top 10 reasons why entrepreneurs hate lawyers, which prompted venture capitalist Mark Suster to write How to Work with Lawyers at a Startup.

Regardless of whether lawyers are something entrepreneurs should loathe or love, it seems as though a curation of legal resources for startups was in order. The following is a list (in no particular order or rank) of blogs, articles, websites, VC tips and other online resources for entrepreneurs and startups.


The Startup Lawyer
Startup Company Lawyer
Global Startup Blog
Venture Law Lines
Freeland Benevich PLLC
Mendelson’s Musings
Startup Company Blog
William Carleton, Counselor @ Law
Spam Notes
Emerging Enterprise Center Blog
IP Law For Startups

Online Legal Tools

Legal River
Legal Zoom
Term Sheet Generator
NVCA Model Legal Documents

Recent Articles – Start-Up Legal and Licensing To-Do List for Small Business – Answers to Your Startup Legal Questions
Jeremy Freeland – Early Stage Tech Companies – When Should You Involve a Lawyer?
Venture Hacks – Bram Cohen: “Lawyers can’t tell you you can’t do something”
Venture Hacks – Top 10 reasons why entrepreneurs hate lawyers
VentureBeat – Ask the Attorney: What issues do I need to consider when forming a start-up?
Harvard Business School – Top Ten Legal Mistake Made By Entrepreneurs

Tips From VCs

Brad Feld & Jason Mendelson – Term Sheet Series Wrap Up
Guy Kawasaki – The Top Ten (Sixteen) Lies of Lawyers
Mark Suster – How to Work with Lawyers at a Startup
Don Rainey – Son, you’re going to get your butt kicked

Law Firms & Lawyers

Walker Corporate Law
George Grellas & Associates
Morgan Lewis
Dorsey & Whiteney LLP
Fenwick & West
Silicon Legal
Goodwin Proctor


Startup Law 101
Great Web Startup Lawyers
25 Startup Law Resource

Always Be Testing: 8 Services For Usability Feedback

10 Mar

Over the weekend we had a chance to highlight – a company that opted to release early (and imperfectly) in exchange for valuable user feedback. As companies look to their peers and audiences to help define product features, there’s a greater need for scalable testing platforms. Here’s a summary of eight useful services that will help put you on the path to product greatness.


uservoice_logo_jan10.jpg1. UserVoice: In 2008 we wrote an article entitled, Why We Love UserVoice in praise of the Digg-like customer feedback platform. Rather than hiring an on-site focus group, UserVoice gives test participants 10 votes to use as they see fit. From here, audience members vote on priority features while the finite number of votes for each person limits the influence of the vocal minority. The service is priced depending on the number of voters you’d like to engage and offers a 15-day free trial for all premium services.

silverback_logo_jan10.jpg2. Silverback: Silverback is a usability testing software that allows startups to record both the screen as well as the test participant’s facial reactions and voice. Startups follow a subject’s eyes and cursor movements while also controlling the service via an Apple remote. Once a subject’s session is over, the startup can export the recording to a basic Quicktime video. The service offers a 30 day trial and costs $50 dollars flat rate after that. While it’s primarily meant to test site design, it can also double as a great screen capture software for quick demos.

feedbackarmy_logo_jan10.jpg3. Feedback Army: Feedback Army rallies its own community of testers to do your bidding. For $10 dollars you get 10 people to browse your site and offer feedback. The service offers quick turnaround on your projects and received favorable reviews on Hacker News.

usertesting_logo_jan10.jpg4. UserTesting: UserTesting offers on-demand testers priced at $29 dollars per person. For each test session you receive a recorded video of your tester’s actions as well as a list of detailed notes. Some of the companies who’ve tested with UserTesting include Twitter and CNN Money.

ideascale_crowdsound_jan10.jpg5 & 6. IdeaScale and Crowdsound: IdeaScale and Crowdsound are almost interchangeable. Both offer a Digg-style interface for voting where users decide their favorite features and what they’d like to see happen with your site. Crowdsound is priced at $10 per month for customizable widgets, iPhone interface and private suggestions. IdeaScale is priced at $15 per month and includes Twitter/email integration.

getsatisfaction_logo_jan10.jpg7.GetSatisfaction: Similar to IdeaScale and Crowdsound, GetSatisfaction offers a Digg-style interface for product ideas, issues and solutions. Companies tend to moderate questions and feedback themselves and users vote up and down the answers. This community has received praise from a number of media outlets and costs as little as $19 dollars per month. Earlier this year ReadWriteWeb named GetSatisfaction the leading idea aggregator.

utest_logo_jan10.jpg8. UTest: UTest offers testing on a subscription and package basis. With packages, clients purchase a set number of test cycles in exchange for a dedicated project manager and feedback from 20-30 professional software testers. The company works with clients on mobile, web, gaming and desktop applications and the idea is that for about $1,500 per month or for a set package of test cycles, you get to outsource your entire testing department.

A Hacker You Should Do Business With

10 Mar>+All+Topics)&utm_content=Google+Reader

It’s just a USB drive, casually dropped by an employee entrance, in the cafeteria or next to a cubicle. But what happens to that drive can tell worlds about your company’s IT security.

An employee wanders by, picks up the drive and, out of curiosity, sticks it in the computer at his or her workstation. The drive contains infected code that compromises your system.

Evaluating your company’s security vulnerabilities is the first step toward plugging those gaps and preventing costly data losses and security breaches that could compromise both information and your company’s reputation. For some small to mid-size businesses, evaluating security is a requirement of doing business with government agencies, credit card companies or health-related companies.

But utilizing an ethical hacker can make sense for your business even if you’re not required to do so. For a few thousand dollars, an ethical hacker can give you a sense of areas you need to shore up.

“A lot of small business owners think, ‘We’re a small company. Why would anyone want to access my environment?’’’ says Carl Herberger, vice president of information security and compliance for Evolve IP, a managed technology services provider for small and mid-sized businesses. You’re more of a target than you might imagine, asserts Herberger. “It is the small businesses that are frequently entryways to bigger businesses.”

What an ethical hacker does

A robust security check will do more than simply attempt to penetrate your IT system from the outside, advises Tom Kellerman, a commissioner on The Commission on Cybersecurity for the 44th Presidency and vice president of security awareness for ethical hacking firm Core Security. Depending on the level of service for which you contract, an ethical hacker will:

  • Evaluate vulnerabilities in IT infrastructure An ethical hacker will indeed attempt to access your critical data as a malicious hacker would, running network, web application and client application tests. Frequently, as organizations grow and evolve, “bits and pieces” of data are left exposed and forgotten, says Rudolph Araujo, technical director for Foundstone Professional Services, which performs these sorts of security health checks or ethical hacks. “The other part is increasingly what we’re finding are a lot of these vulnerabilities tend to be at the application level.”
  • Test human behavior Herberger includes those USB drops in his evaluations. “The biggest challenge is with the threat you know,’’ he says of employee behavior. Social engineering tests reveal how your employees handle situations that put your critical information at risk. These tests can mirror phishing attacks, asking employees to click on links in emails or to reveal information online. But tests can also take the form of evaluating the likelihood of an unauthorized person to gain access to a secure area.
  • Find the leaks A security evaluation might also determine the types of information that is revealed about your company online, through employees’ social networking sites and other documentation that may pop up.

What you’ll pay

The low end of the range tends to be below $5,000, says Herberger. “We’ve done things in the $2,000 to $5,000 range, but the scope is much smaller.” Araujo says the cost could be as low as a few hundred dollars, depending on what you ask an ethical hacker to do.

A mid-size business might pay $10,000 to $15,000, estimates Herberger.

Even small companies are beginning to budget these sorts of security evaluations on an annual basis. “An annual basis would be the minimal standard,’’ Araujo advises. “IT environments tend to change so quickly that the results from a year ago are probably going to change.”

What to consider

Don’t simply turn your enterprise over to an ethical hacker without forming a game plan, says Araujo. Make sure you understand the process, ask the right questions and take these factors into consideration:

  • Know what’s critical Identify the data you’re trying to protect, says Araujo. “What’s the risk your business is exposed to?”
  • Check credentials You’re placing your system in the hands of an outside entity. Ethical hackers receive certification in penetration testing, and there’s a professional code of ethics that protects your confidentiality. Make sure to vet the ethical hacker you employ.
  • Ask about repeatability An ethical hacking firm should perform repeatable, scalable exercises that allow you to track whether you’ve made progress, says Kellerman. You’ll also want an actionable report that outlines how you can correct deficiencies.
  • Evaluate business value Protecting your information is an obvious business benefit. But there may also be value in demonstrating your security to potential business partners as well. Regular security evaluations also might offer some protection if court cases involving data breaches arise.

“Most organizations right now are hemorrhaging data,’’ says Kellerman. “It’s fundamentally critical to gain great awareness of where your vulnerabilities are.”

WooRank Screens Your Website, For Free

9 Mar

WooRank is a brand new service designed to let website publishers and marketers evaluate the SEO-friendliness and other aspects of their Web sites on the fly, free of charge. If this reminds you of what HubSpot built with its Website Grader tool, it’s because the concept is extremely similar.

WooRank evaluates Web sites based on 50 criteria in an automated fashion, free of charge, and provides helpful SEO and other tips. A premium version will be offered in about 3 months: for a yet-to-be-determined fee, publishers and marketers will then be able to screen Web sites based on up to 120 pre-defined critera, get served more personalized tips as well as references to online tools that they can use to increase the findability and performance of their Web sites.

Update: site seems to be down or at least terribly slow due to our coverage, so hang in there.

Update 2: seems to be back and more stable now

I gave the tool a spin and generated a report for – turns out we’re worthy of a WooRank of 82.4. While I have absolutely no idea what that means exactly, according to these statistics we’re well above the average. In the overall ranking, we even made the top 50, ahead of sites like the Apple Store, MySpace, and (take that, New York Times, we haz bigger WooRankz!).

Apparently, we need to work on our headings, immage attribution tags, meta description and keywords, XML sitemap(s) and other aspects like Web standards compliance. We score pretty well on content (number of indexed pages), off-site SEO (particularly on the social media level) and website usability and load time.

Frankly, that’s a lot of valuable information available free of charge, so I’ll be curious to know in a couple of months how WooRank will try to entice people to pay for more detailed information and improvement tips.

WooRank was built by fellow Belgians, namely digital marketer Jean Derély of BetaGroup and the founders of interactive agency Since soft-launching the service a couple of days ago, 27,000 reports have already been generated by some 7,500 visitors.

For more online tools, check out Website Grader but also HitTail and LotusJump.

New Usability Tool Provides Valuable Feedback for Website Owners

9 Mar

Usabilla, a usability testing startup, launched earlier this month and congratulations are in order, as they have already been featured on Mashable.

While there are many popular and effective services for getting feedback about your website or application, Usabilla is bringing powerful tools like heat mapping data display and an innovative test interface to the masses.

As expected, the Usabilla member dashboard is extremely easy to use and building a usability test for your webpage is done in minutes.

Here is a quick video introduction showing Usabilla in action.

Usabilla works by displaying an image of your webpage to a participant who is asked to perform a task or answer a question about the page they are viewing.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to ask your website visitors questions like these?

  • What things draw your attention the most?
  • Which images are most appealing?
  • What elements of the page do you like?
  • What things would you remove from the page?
  • What things need improvement?
  • Where do you click to purchase?
  • Where do you click for contact info?
  • Where would you click next?

Now you can get valuable feedback from these questions and more.  Participants respond to tasks by tagging or clicking areas of the page and can additionally leave comments.

Once all of the data is collected, you can analyze a test through various methods including a visual heat map (shown below), or you can select a specific element of a page to view corresponding results.

usabilla heatmap

You can use Usabilla on up to 5 pages and share the test with up to 25 participants for free. For those with the need to reach more participants and test more pages, there are Usabilla plans from $50 a year.

While reviewing Usabilla, I did notice that flash objects do not show up in their generated screenshots, so you may want to look into uploading a pixel perfect screenshot of your own to get the best test results. I recommendFireShot for Firefox, it can capture an entire page beyond the page fold.