Via.Me Wants to Be Your Digital Hub for All Things Social
Via.Me lets you share photos, videos and audio clips on various social platforms—all from one place. The social app (released in March by RadiumOne Labs) is a hybrid of apps, including Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Springpad. All of our favorite social apps in one? We like.
While the social-broadcasting component is at the core of Via.Me’s existence, it’s not the only reason why Via.Me is significant. RadiumOne’s CEO Gurbaksh Chahal (a young and prominent entrepreneur who was even interviewed by Oprah…he’s kind of a big deal), stated that Via.Me is a “win-win for everyone.” In other words, we, the app users, not only benefit from using the app, but brands profit, as well, by capitalizing on the social interaction that takes place around their products.
Advertisers watching our social activity? Sounds creepy, so we caught up with RadiumOne to discuss the app's purpose and how advertisers affect our experience with the app.
Here, we chat with Fergus Hurley (right), Director of Products for Via.Me and a co-founder of Focal Labs, the development company that RadiumOne acquired in December and that helped introduce Via.Me. We also talk to Doug Chavez (left), Vice President of Marketing at RadiumOne, about combining the company’s expertise in advertising technology (and helping brands build better presences online) with a consumer-facing, social app.
- How are brands and individuals capitalizing on their social reach with Via.Me?
Fergus Hurley: What we believe is that we’re moving more and more to a world where atomic content is the future of the web. What we mean by atomic content is when people share photos, videos and sound today, they are shared virally through these networks faster than any ideas have ever spread in history before.
We’re capitalizing on that trend by allowing, for example, a brand like popchips to share a video onto Facebook and Twitter. People will come back and view that video on the Via.Me website, and when they do, then we’re able to reach out to those users across the open web, on any site they’re on.
[Focal Labs has] the expertise in building these consumer-facing mobile applications, and RadiumOne has the expertise in building out the advertising technology and helping brands build better presences online.
- By now, we’re sure you’re used to people comparing Via.Me to other popular apps and services like Pinterest, Instagram, and (in our opinion) Springpad and Path. What are the top ways Via.Me is unique when compared to other services?
FH: One of the biggest differentiators is how we support all of the different types of media content and how we allow you to share that out really simply to other networks. That’s really the core.
Another [differentiator] goes back to the brand. RadiumOne has the ability to reach a few billion real-time bidding impressions across the open web every day, and so we created a unique solution for brands that no other player in the whole market has.
In terms of the app itself, the fact that we have a full-featured website and app that supports photo, video and audio is something that’s definitely unique out there.
- Explain your partnership with third-party Twitter clients like OneLouder’s TweetCaster.
Doug Chavez: We know that a number of apps out there are looking for choices for the consumers, and we’re happy to power those different choices for them, including what services they can use, whether it be Twitpic or other services like Via.Me. We know that consumers want choices in these apps (that’s what we’ve heard from the developers), and we’re happy to power that.
FH: With the new API we’re launching on June 8 [at XHack], it’s going to allow any app developer or third-party Twitter client to be able to integrate with Via.Me. I encourage app developers to play around with our API. We believe that it’s more scalable and a better solution than all the other Twitter- and media-hosting services that are out there right now.
- RadiumOne CEO Gurbaksh Chahal stated in an article that Via.Me is a “win-win” for the consumers and brands that use the app. We can’t help but feel skeptical about targeted advertisements in our apps. Discuss the real-time advertising that Via.Me provides.
FH: These ads are ones the users are already seeing across the open web. We’re just allowing those ads to be more useful to the consumer, so it’s actually an enhanced experience for the user across the web.
DC: One of the things we’ve learned is that consumers want better experiences. They want to be able to connect and find information from their favorite brands. Not in a way that interrupts their experience, but in a way that surrounds their experience.
By understanding what consumers share and how they’re sharing it, brands can play a role there. There’s (a) a value exchange, and (b) they appreciate the sponsorship and support that enable these services to be free rather than paid services.
In terms of the Via.Me platform, we’re not sharing any personal information. We don’t collect any PII (personally identifiable information), but if there is an automotive brand out there and people are interacting with it on Via.Me, let’s say a BMW ad, is there a way to help connect those consumers who are sharing that content across the open web when they’re browsing throughout the day, and put them with the right kind of message for the advertiser?
If we can do that through the platform, helping connect consumers and brands that they’re interested in, then there’s a huge value there for both sides.
- Can you share any insights into Via.Me’s future updates? Can we expect more integration with other social platforms, in addition to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?
FH: Our goal is to be the digital hub for all of your content. We’re going to be integrating with all of the other platforms. We started off with Facebook and Twitter as our main ones, but we’re definitely going to be integrating with Pinterest and Google+ when their APIs are available for upload.
The next ones that we do have the ability to upload and that we’re adding are Tumblr, LinkedIn, If This Then That and SoundCloud.
When can we expect to see Via.Me on Android?
FH: We actually have it on devices in the office right now. We just want to make sure it’s perfect before we get it out there. Definitely keep your eyes peeled—it should be out there within the next couple of months.
In the meantime, though, you can use the website, www.via.me, and that has all the features that the iPhone app has.
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Hollywood’s Heartthrob Turns App Investor
Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Leonardo DiCaprio has been one of Hollywood’s biggest heartthrobs since his performance in Titanic, and he has preserved his reputation as a worthy actor with other hit films such as Inception, The Departed and Catch Me If You Can. But DiCaprio is switching gears from show business—whether it be for a side gig or a change in career—by investing $4 million in the app Mobli.
Going off of the tagline, "See the world through other people’s eyes," Mobli is a social network where users can share photos and videos, and the app automatically tags each post with a location or major event in the surrounding area. Users can also follow channels that display photos about a particular topic, such as Leo himself.
Mobli CEO Moshe Hogeg told The Huffington Post in October 2011 that Leo’s not much of a tech guy, but he is very excited to be involved in the marketing aspect of the app. “He believes in the vision of the company and thinks that this is the future of media. He wanted to get on board in the beginning, influence it, and give his input into the company.”