Jeff Khadavi is the founder of the soon to be born GoTime.com, a site that leverages social network, data mining and venue info to do answer the quintessential question of what’s going on tonight.
He came to one of my class at UW and proudly announced his Columbia MBA drop-out status. He knew that he would immediately gain respect as an entrepreneur and innovator. “We just got together, my two friends from MIT and I and we came to Seattle to do follow execute our vision.” Yes, inspiring.
The idea is not bad, they know they are not the first social network site, nor the first local info site out there, and as Jeff said the difference is in the execution. Facebook was not the first website to connect people. So they have a business model that has a few revenues streams, the main one is charging venues for their info (basic services are free) and then once they have users they expect to get some bigger advertising. They are funded and Jeff is confident of having a solid idea that is focused and targeted.
Though I liked the functionality of the site and I applaud the switch of names form ‘night riot’ to ‘go time’. I think they are lacking a bit of female perspective in their design. A quick survey on the reactions in class and it was clear to me that I wasn’t the only woman that didn’t find the site appealing, the general feeling was that the site is for guys looking to get laid. One classmate said: “I can imagine a Axe Body Spray on the side bar”.
At first I thought I was just too old (I’m an ancient 32) for the site, which given the content I was ok with, but when I realized the general feeling was not just age but gender, I started to question whether they are too targeted and focused. So let’s run some creative numbers:
US Census for Seattle shows about 173K people between 20-34 years old.
—–> About half are female… let’s say they appeal to 50% of women, then the ones under 21 are no good (drop 10K or so) and finally I would argue that people beyond 30 or married won’t be to attracted to the site (drop another 20K).
So —-> I’m guesstimating that their audience here is really about 100K, which is close to what Jeff said he needs to approach a serious advertiser (that’s assuming they can get a large % of their audience on board).
—– > I would strongly advise gotime.com that they modify not just their name but their identity to be a little more broad appealing if the want to have a significant web presence, unless they really can operate with the super targeted, super engaged model.
Jeff proposes that they can monetize on the venues with a fairly low number of users because they are essentially creating a direct channel to very interested consumers that have declared big fans of the venue (aka opted in). This is hypothetically true: very targeted, very interested customers yield high response. But I don’t know enough of their prices, nor their services to understand what would make a venue upgrade to the paid service.
That brings me to my last unanswered question: How they plan to bring in people to their site? I can imagine a social networking site ramps up fairly quickly, but with all the social sites out there I’m not sure if the adoption rate is so quick anymore.
Overall, I think gotime.com has a neat site with interesting functionality, and a business model that is experimenting with monetizing social networks (not just the hope of advertising) without being too yucky about it. I’m keen to see how it goes!