KillerStartups Killed?

*Please note the important update at the end of this post

One way that a new blogger can get story ideas and make a name for themselves is to report on new and interesting startups, the problem has been how do you find out about a startup early enough to get the scoop? The main service that I was aware of was KillerStartups.com, they saw the need, the niche, and acted with great success.  The problem that appeared was the sheer amount of new startups interested in the publicity made it impossible for detailed coverage of any of them.  The cookiecutter information that became the standard fare on KillerStartups, while still useful, left open a door for competition that could do a better job providing coverage.

TechCrunch’s Crunchbase has been steadily gaining users in this arena and with the recent addition of an API and KillerStartups’ decline, has taken the lead according to Google Trends (it’s recent integration into Zemanta means you’ll see more of it from me):

Google Trends Data for Startup Info

Google Trends Data for Startup Info

Still, it’s hard to scoop TechCrunch with their own database, so other startups have entered the field, two that I’ve used and think are notable are TradeVibes and YouNoodle.  If you check out the Alexa data you can see that YouNoodle is enjoying a spike in traffic among Alexa users.  And while Alexa data is generally considered less than ideal, in this case it might be a better indicator of where web-savy users are getting their information:

Page Views by Alexa Users

Page Views by Alexa Users

The Alexa data also seems to show some hope for KillerStartups, but the Google Trends data is showing a clear flatline.   So, we get back to the title of this post, does the way KillerStartups delivers information still have a place?  Can they bounce back or has KillerStartups been killed?

*Update! – Please be sure to take a look at the comments and note that the Quantcast directly measured results back up what the Alexa results show, a significant bounce back up in traffic and a hefty lead in readership over Crunchbase.

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Inside Wesabe

San FranciscoImage by bgreenlee via Flickr

I was in San Francisco for a conference this week so I decided I’d take Wesabe up on their kind offer to drop by. If you don’t know, Wesabe is a website where users can engage in social personal finance. Upload your bank and credit card transaction data (it’s secure and anonymous) and then tag your purchases. With that done Wesabe delivers money saving tips based on your spending habits!

The Wesabe staff struck me as a very cohesive, intelligent, and dedicated group. All were very kind as as I interrupted the busy day before the launch of a major new feature. Great equipment (i’m sooo jealous of those monitors), a nice library of O’Reilly books, and open and natural light filled workareas all show that Wesabe cares about it’s employees and gives them what they need to do good work for their users.

A special thanks to the Marketing VP Gabe Griego for showing me around and taking me to lunch. Also, Thanks to Marc Hedlund for taking the time to show me the new Tip page enhancement before it was launched.

I’ll cover the tip page enhancements later, but to give you a general idea the new tip page uses all the collected data to help you better compare your merchants and pull in tips. It’s tapping into the Wesabe community’s subconscious frugality to save you money, a very powerful new tool for Wesabe users!

Tax Time is Shredder Time

I’m not suggesting that you shred important tax documents or shred anything you don’t want the IRS to know about, but you should shred some of your excess paper records to clear out the clutter. I’m not a financial expert but here’s what I do as the tax documents start coming in the mail:

  • Copies of previous tax returns – Never shred
  • Receipts and records used for previous tax returns – Shred after 5 years (although some experts suggest saving for up to 7)
  • Previous year’s pay stubs – Verify your W2 when it arrives and then shred them (not the W2!)
  • Retirement statements – Never shred (at least the year end summaries)
  • Bills – As long as you can’t use it as a tax deduction, shred after you get proof of payment

Any other suggestions?

Thanksgiving: Wesabe

Birthday CakeThis weekend Wesabe celebrated it’s first birthday! It seemed fitting that I say a big Congratulations and Thank You! If you haven’t tried Wesabe yet, then you’re missing out.  Wesabe is useful, usable, and secure way to track your personal finances online and with the large and helpful community offering tips and suggestions it’s a great way to save money too. The best part of all this is that it’s all free and the hard working folks over at Wesabe are adding new features all the time!  There are other options out there, but only Wesabe gives you the security of never having to hand over your user name and password.  They are also the only service that I know of that gives you full control of your data, there is no middle man collecting it and if you want your data deleted from their servers then it’s gone.  There is an excellent interview with co-founder Marc Hedlund on CenterNetworks.com that you should read to learn more and be sure to check out the well designed web site at Wesabe.com.

What happened to Google Local Business Referral?

I suppose it was a little bit egotistical of me to think that since I hadn’t heard anything from the Google Local Business Referral (LBR) program, that it hadn’t really gotten off the ground. I got no acceptance letter, rejection letter, or any kind of letter so a few weeks ago I decided to figure out what was going on. What I found was that the LBR program is what was going on and it was going on without me. I was really more curious than anything else and was willing to hit a few areas with a high density of businesses during my lunch break, but this program really received a TON of attention for it to quietly slink into the background like it has. Anyway I checked the site and found this waiting for me:

Thanks for applying to become a Google Business Referral Representative. Your application is now on our waiting list.

Response to this program has been so positive that we now have enough representatives for our current needs.

However, we hope to expand the program to more representatives soon. Please note that this program is only available in the United States. We’ll keep your application on file. If we approve your application, we will contact you at a later date (at the email address we have on file for your Google Account).

We appreciate your interest!

- Google Local Business Referrals Team

I’m curious to see if this has been limited to a few large cities or is more widespread, the information available is pretty slim with Google trying to keep a lid on the information and, it appears, trying to keep a low profile. What I was able to glean is that participants have some map based tools (TechingMeOut.com) to help them locate businesses that they haven’t visited and avoid ones they or other contractors have gathered information from.