Amir Nathoo is CEO of WebMynd, an advertising technology company.
AdExchanger.com: Where did the idea come for WebMynd?
My co-founder, James, and I were intrigued by the power that browser apps on Firefox provided, and wanted to see how we could use them to make navigation simpler. We built several little apps and users loved our integration with the right-hand side of the Google results page. So we kept adding more content and personalization features there to make it more useful than just ads, and ended up with WebMynd. IE, Chrome and Safari all started supporting these kind of browser apps so we realized we were onto something.
WebMynd lets people personalize their Google search using browser apps. You can take over the right hand side of the results page and see a view of the web filtered by the publishers that you love.
What problem is WebMynd solving?
The web is getting larger, spam is a growing problem, and the most valuable information is often behind logins or firewalls.
This means the ability to filter the web with sources that you trust is becoming more valuable. But people are accustomed to going to Google and don't want to have to change to another search engine. Our browser apps let users opt-in to see results from the sources they trust the most right on the Google page. This can include personal results that Google doesn't show them like searches across their private LinkedIn and Facebook networks.
Check out myspace.com/webmynd. Install the app for Firefox from there and do a search on Google. MySpace users install it so they can keep track of their friends, stars and favorite bands when they search. We also show sponsored links provided by Yahoo in our search sidebar. We earn revenue when users click and share it with publishers whose content appears.
At some point, could Google legally stop you from using keyword data input into its search engine which, in turn, triggers your ads?
No. WebMynd apps use the standard interfaces provided by Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple and Google themselves in their browsers. Users have to explicitly opt-in for these applications to work, by installing them. And they're distributed by Google in their Chrome applications gallery.
How are ads populated in the results provided by WebMynd? Do you use third-party feeds or manage relationships from advertising clients?
We currently use a third-party ad feed which provides a large breadth and depth of high-quality ads. In the future we will also offer publisher partners space in our search sidebar that they can sell as their own.
How does your custom product work for publishers? Is there a rev share?
The custom product for publishers showcases their content by default in our search sidebar, though the user can still personalize it with other content as well. We share the search ad revenue with the publisher. Any publisher can have this: we can generate a custom app for you in minutes.
If you were a publisher, other than use WebMynd, what strategies would you be putting into place to make sure you're thriving tomorrow?
Find ways to engage your audience directly in content creation and the discussion around it, for example, using Twitter and Facebook. Established publishers have a big advantage there since brand recognition should make it easier for them to acquire friends and followers.
Stop showing bad display ads that earn pennies. Only show ads when you have data suggesting the ad is relevant and the user is receptive.
Any plans for offering search retargeting data so that marketers can buy, for example, display media through exchanges and target users who've input specific keyword phrases?
We don't do this today, but we will in the future, with users' consent.
What's the status of your funding plans? Can you share who your investors are? How many employees do you have today?
We are a small, capital-efficient team and have incubated our technology with angel funding from some fantastic investors including: Y Combinator, The Accelerator Group, Paul Graham, John Taysom and Jim Spanfeller. We are raising our Series A now.
A year from now, what milestones would you like to have seen WebMynd accomplish?
We will announce a new product in September that will make it easier for any publisher to quickly get started getting their cut of search. You'll have to wait until then for more.