NEW YORK Vince Broady — a former executive at Yahoo and CNET — today launches thisMoment.com, a Web site/platform that aims to blend the best of social networking, photo and video sharing, blogging and live communications.
thisMoment is designed to help users capture favorite moments from their lives by creating digital logs — i.e., “moments” — that can incorporate photo slide shows, video clips and text descriptions. Those moments can then be shared with friends via sites like Facebook and Twitter and through mobile devices, allowing viral growth while eliminating the need for users to sign up and fill out new profile information.
But the real differentiator for thisMoment, according to CEO and founder Broady, is that these users don’t have to populate their various moments (such as last weekend’s picnic in the park) with just their own digital assets. Rather, they can pull in assets from across the Web — ranging from amateur photos and videos from sites like Flickr and YouTube to content from professional publishers. The company has signed deals with brands such as The New York Times Co., Time Inc.’s People.com and Hachette Filipacchi Media’s U.S. Road & Track to supply photo and text assets that can be used freely by thisMoment users.
“The company’s foundation is that people are sharing more and more of their lives online,” said Broady. “Ultimately, the experience is not as good as it should be. You can only do it in pieces.”
To illustrate thisMoment, Broady gave an example from his own life: an outing with his two sons to see several Mad Max movies. Broady created a “moment” on the site dubbed “Boys Night Out” which includes a brief description of the night topped by the header “This moment makes me feel: excited to be with my boys” (that header appears consistently on every moment created on the site).
Then he created a slide show consisting of photos from the restaurant he took his kids to and the movie theater they visited — both from Flickr. He then added a clip from Road Warrior he found on YouTube and a real photo that he took that night.
Couldn’t he have just done this all on Facebook? Not with seamless, streamlined presentation and layout, argues Broady. “What you can do on thisMoment you cannot do this any other place on the Web,” he said. “What we are doing has never been done before.”
For thisMoment’s media partners, which also include Time’s Lifestyle Group (Sunset, Southern Living, Coastal Living, MyRecipes and Real Simple), the site is a means to drive traffic to their venues, and eventually to better monetize their content. Down the road, thisMoment partners will be able to use its technology to showcase photos and text on their own sites, and could even sell content on thisMoment through microtransactions.
“We really like what these guys are doing,” said Steve Zales, president of Time’s Lifestyle Digital. “There is a segment of the social media audience that really relatse to the idea of emotional connections in their lives. And our content is all about those connections: favorite foods, places, etc.”
Despite its impressive roster of partners, however, thisMoment still faces the challenge of selling advertising on a site that is very much driven by user-generated content. But Broady argues that in testing, users have demonstrated a consistent pattern when building moments that can yield more useful data for advertising than is available for most social networking sites and blogs.
“Vertical sites monetize really well,” he said. “But all these social sites have had a hard time. The difference is that vertical sites have structured information that these sites don’t. Advertisers can’t always make sense of a blog posting.”