This is probably the most important newsletter I’ve ever written to you all. I hope it’s well worth the few minutes it takes to read.
First, our users put CiL to use in January to the tune of 85 million page views according to Google Analytics. A short two years ago that number was only five hundred thousand. Many of the biggest media brands in the world trust us when ‘live’ truly matters. It’s a clear statement that live coverage has made the transition to the mainstream. It has moved from ‘nice to have’ to ‘must have’. With that, we understand that we bear a great responsibility to our users with respect to our ability to be scalable and reliable.
With less than one hour of downtime in all of 2009, I am very proud of what our small staff has been able to accomplish. That said, when we fall short like we did for some of our users during the Apple keynote last week, we don’t quote 99.9999% uptime, we take responsibility and explain what we can do better.
2010 will be an exciting time for live coverage and below are a few new things that we are bringing your way:
On February 16, our users will choose between CiL Premium and CiL Basic – we are committed to providing Enterprise class software at no cost to our users. CiL Premium is available to everyone at no cost and provides you with all of the powerful features we have to offer. The default cost for CiL Premium is zero, as we will generate our own revenue by placing a limited amount of advertising in your events (there are examples online). Larger qualifying users can upgrade further to turn CiL into a profit center by taking advantage of Revenue sharing by Demand Media (see below). If you prefer, your organization can opt out of the ad supported version by paying a monthly subscription fee.
For smaller users, CiL Basic has the core features to deliver great live events; it also costs nothing to use and CARRIES NO ADVERTISING. We recognize niche bloggers, teachers, municipal workers and others who cannot afford to pay for CiL, but also legitimately cannot allow advertising, still deserve quality software. We think you’re an important part of our user base and hope CiL Basic can meet your needs.
Revenue Sharing by Demand Media – The users of CiL are mainly editorial people: they are responsible for content generation. Although many of them know in their hearts CiL events are important, they genuinely struggle with how they can monetize their efforts. I am thrilled to now offer them a turnkey solution where they not only pay NOTHING to use CiL but they can actually have the smart people at Demand Media working to optimize the profitability of their events. Imagine an Enterprise class software company paying its users to use the software. For now, we are starting with the most interested users who run reasonably high volumes of readership but through 2010 look to expand the program further. Apply online.
Customer Support and SLA by Pluck – Over the past two and a half years, CiL has gone from being an interesting plaything to mission critical for hundreds of professional media companies around the world. It became clear that asking these users to depend on a small company like ours would introduce significant business risk for them. Now, our larger users who require a more robust SLA with 24/7 monitoring can opt to purchase CiL directly from Pluck. For more about Pluck please go to www.pluck.com.
Live Webcam by Stickam – Before we started to offer live video streaming from inside our software we needed to find a partner that fit with our philosophy of ease of use and enterprise class reliability. Stickam was the right fit for us. Now, any user of CoveritLive Premium can simply click the ‘Live Webcam’ button in the Console and go live using their existing hardware to small or massive audiences.
Enterprise Administration Toolkit – If you work for an organization with multiple CiL users and have not taken advantage of the administrative tools available, you really should. Beyond being able to share resources like Templates and Custom Skins, our Group Statistics tools can give you visibility into how all your CiL events are doing across your entire organization. Imagine being able to pull up stats on past events like a bank statement. Now try doing that with the various Twitter accounts across your organization…
XML for exporting, API for importing – We have seen some excellent examples of our users putting the XML feeds to work to create completely customized outputs from their CiL events. Some of the content is going to television screens, some to custom mobile applications, and of course, some to databases for SEO benefits. On the other side, a few have started to realize the power of our API for bringing content for various other sources INTO your CiL events as well. Read the full documentation online to realize how easy it is to integrate CiL into your various systems.
Twitter Lists, increased number of Twitter account feeds, and Twitpic preview/publish – Some smart tweaks to our Twitter integration include the fact that you can now auto publish Twitter lists, and we increased the number of auto publish Twitter feeds from 12 to 24. Tweets with Twitpics allow you to publish a photo (not just a link) along with our magnifying glass for a quick zoom in. We also give you a preview in the Reader Comment moderation window, so if readers send in links to Twitpics you know exactly what you’re publishing.
iphone App – Although it’s waiting for Apple to approve it as I type, I expect in short order that our iphone app will appear in the iTunes store. Free for all of our users of course. A long time ago, we made sure that all of your readers who used iPhones to watch your events had a great experience. Nothing has changed there, as our software automatically detects when an iPhone hits your page and serves up the right version. The advancement the new app offers is exclusively for Writers running events. You can finally use the iPhone camera and manage reader comments, as well as search for and add Tweets; all in a mobile environment. Enjoy.
Apologies for the longer than usual newsletter, but there was a lot to say. As always, thank you very much for your continued support and please drop us an email if there is anything we can help with.