Now Playing: creative web use - Five companies in Portland
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Posted: Wed, 08 Sep 2010 07:11:23 +0000
|From safeguarding Internet transactions to squeezing meaning out of Twitter streams, Portland companies are generating bold new ideas for the Web. |
Photo: Dustin Eppers/EnzymePDX
It’s no secret that Portland is home to some serious ingenuity when it comes to software and technology. What’s lesser known is how many varied, innovative uses of the Web call Oregon home. This list is a small sampling of the best of the Web, grown right here.
Mission: Influencing the Influencers
The Company: Twitalyzer
What They Do: Twitalyzer attempts to make sense of the vast reams of data pouring in through Twitter’s worldwide user base by carefully measuring every last detail about how you use the popular messaging/micro-blogging service. It can tell you how much impact your account has, whether you’re considered a source, sun or spider, and an endless stream of other deceptively technical variables with endearing names like Generosity, Engagement, Clout and “Klout.” The service was featured on the social networking site Mashable in May, and offers plans ranging from free personal accounts for individuals to monthly plans for heavy-duty corporate users.
Behind the Code: Twitalyzer is produced by Portland-based Web Analytics Demystified, a web analytics company headed by Eric Peterson.
Mission: Spreading the Stories
The Company: IdeaMensch.com
What They Do: Every day, the folks at IdeaMensch, whose tagline is “Passionate People Bringing Ideas to Life,” post an interview with someone who has a unique story to tell. The interviews focus on entrepreneurs or leading business leaders, and offer rare glimpses into the thought process behind people with ideas who decide to take a risk and go for it. The site’s library of interviews covers a wide spread of topics, including hangover cures, Greek wine, high-tech industry and comic books. Heavy hitters who’ve gotten the IdeaMensch treatment include marketing celebrity Seth Godin, social media leader Chris Brogan, and the titular Craig Newmark of Craigslist.
Behind the Code: IdeaMensch is the brainchild of Mario Schulzke out of Los Angeles, with Portland-based Evan Davies manning community and marketing efforts.
Mission: Making the Music
The Company: CDBaby.com
What They Do: CDBaby is one of the world’s largest distributors of independent music, with a commitment to making sure that artists are paid their due. What started as a side project for founder Derek Sivers to help his friends sell their music online blossomed into a gateway for independent musicians to get their music out to the world. Now, the site offers hosting solutions and website development for artists, a service that matches musicians with promoters to facilitate bookings, and even rentable credit card swipers that bands can use at shows to sell albums.
Behind the Code: Although Sivers sold CDBaby in 2008, the company remains headquartered in Portland. Sivers’ next projects include virtual assistant company MuckWork and free online song contest site SongTest.
Mission: Securing Payments Online
The Company: Iovation
What They Do: With so many options to make payments online, there’s now an incredible amount of ways for the sneaky to snag credit card numbers, initiate fraudulent “chargebacks” against vendors, and launder cash through virtual currencies. Iovation’s suite of online services can perform instant reputation checks against buyers to guard against fraud before it happens, and can identify known fraudulent users who have been reported by other watchdog bodies. The applications are present virtually anywhere the Internet and monetary transactions intersect – from the financial sector to online gaming and gambling.
Behind the Code: Iovation’s co-founders, CEO Greg Pierson and VP Corporate Development Jon Karl, both hold degrees from Oregon State University.
Mission: A Watchful Eye, Inside Your Site
The Company: New Relic
What They Do: VC-backed New Relic sums up its very technical offering in a simplistic statement: “to monitor and troubleshoot Java and Ruby apps.” With software products constantly migrating to the Web as opposed to installed programs that live on your computer (think Google’s Gmail versus Microsoft’s Outlook), an entire new ecosystem has been created – that is, of ways your favorite Web application could possibly break down. New Relic’s RPM tool tracks performance and offers troubleshooting assistance when Web applications act up, and just recently reached more than 5,000 active users – including big-time corporations like Sony Music, AT&T Interactive and The Washington Post.
Behind the Code: While the company is officially headquartered in San Francisco, its Portland office recently moved into a new space downtown.
The Tip of the Iceberg
This list is just a start – there are many local outfits innovating on the Web. Know of a Portland or Oregon company making new strides online? Let us know in the comments.