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Digital Epiphanies are all those great ideas that pop into my head and for which I can't stop thinking about until I stop thinking about them.

This blog is an outlet so that ideas can be shared, advanced, criticized and exchanged. So please add your comments and free your trapped parcels of genius by sharing your business ideas. Don’t worry, if somebody actually steals it, starts a business and hits it rich, I’ll buy you a beer.

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Skype: brianlitvack


I know very little about photo journalism and even less about the rights surrounding published photos. What I do know is that it’s very difficult to find pictures on the web pre 1990. Oh sure, it’s possible to find pictures of famous photos such as the one of Einstein above. But, what about the hundreds of thousands of photos that were printed in newspapers and magazines throughout the decade. Are these photos archived anywhere and if so can they be digitalized?

Apparently the answer is yes and yes. Corbis, a creation by Bill Gates is the “industry's richest array of digital image licensing, rights services, artist representation and media management”. Basically, they have the largest stock of licensed photos. Their is also AP, Getty Images and other photo archives. Included in Corbis'catalog is the 11 million photos in the Bettmann Archive. Unfortunately, less than 10% of these photos have been digitized and the rest sit in an underground chamber.

The idea here is to create a marketplace for historic photos for personal use. Give bloggers access to buy or borrow photos. There are thousands of photos of political leaders, world event, places, architecture, nature and sports that are nowhere to be found on the web.

As I write this I realize that there are a few major issues. One is licensing and ownership. Two is that the manual process of digitizing photos is a tremendous undertaking that will take thousands of years. Perhaps the first step would to be to aggregate existing photo archives of digital photos and creating a commerce platform and marketplace.



Online media buying agencies usually interact with sales and marketing companies through a specific paradigm. After working with their client to create the parameters of a campaign the agency will send out a mass RFP. Advertising sales teams usually create a proposal (almost always as a PowerPoint presentation) and submit the proposal to an agency by a certain deadline. If there is interest from the agency or the client they then will engage in more detailed conversation and negotiation with the media company.

There is opportunity to create a web service that will make this initial interaction more efficient and reach a wider audience. A media buying agency would post their RFP on this B2B website with specifics regarding the campaigns. Any marketer/sales team that has been approved (by agency) can view the RFP and respond by submitting a proposal.

The website would provide value:

1)Allow RFP’s to easily reach a wider audience of media companies.
2)Cut down on bulky emails by handling all uploading and downloading of presentations and PDF’s.
3)Allow sales teams and marketers to easily manage all their proposals and quickly view all RFP’s.

The website would not change the manner of which media buying agencies and corporate sales interact. Instead it would just add efficiency and organization to an existing process. The site would also enable more companies to view RFP’s and create more proposals. This should make the market more competitive and lead to better proposals. Let me know what you think, especially if you work in online advertising sales or in media buying.



WorkSpace -- Corporate Community

Organizations are becoming more global and virtual. Often, this is at the expense of the relationships and face time between co-workers. Many organizations have teams where their members have never met in person. Corporations may also be divided along departmental lines with little interaction between business units.

An application could be built that takes the great features of social networking and turns it into corporate networking within an orginization's intranet. This will allow employees to network within their company and to learn about each other’s background, past experiences, expertise within the company and interests and hobbies outside of work.

This online community would facilitate teamwork and help break down internal boundaries by allowing people to informally interact. Employees can contact each other for project help, advice, and can even be introduced to other workers. New hires can get up to speed more quickly and members of a project team can more quickly get acclimated with each other.

My guess is to sell a package version of the software with licenses depending on the size of the organization. The software could also be customized to the specific needs of a company.

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MySpace Grassroots Marketing Agency

According to Hitwise, MySpace is the most popular place on the net. For people under 30, myspace has replaced classic procrastination pasttimes such as daydreaming, water cooler chat, and prank calls. If you happen to be in a band or make a living by spam and porn sites than MySpace is in contention for being the “best thing that ever happened in my life”.

Like almost all social networking sites, MySpace also happens to be free. It seems like there should be tremendous opportunities for outsiders to monetize the MySpace community and create/unlock all kinds of value.

This is happening as programmers create features faster than MySpace does. A few applications have recently been reviewed on including (break up your friends into different groups), DatingAnyone and (expedites the online flirtation process). There is also a proliferation of websites that offer different MySpace templates and widgets.

The money-making idea that is most intriguing to me is to start a MySpace grassroots marketing agency. Use a combination of expertise, programming, best practices and good old BS to convince companies, restaurants, bands, aspiring wannabe’s, and politicians that they need to create and actively manage a MySpace profile.

Now you may be asking yourself, isn’t the point of MySpace that everybody creates their own profile for free?” I agree that most bands can figure out on their own the best way to market their shtick. But corporations and old people (for lack of a better term) usually don’t move quickly enough. My guess is that there is a whole lot of advertising dollars on the table at companies and media buying agencies that are dying to be spent on MySpace but have yet to be shown the perfect advertising package from the good folks at Fox Interactive. Using the pitch that the best, and most authentic way to create a presence on MySpace is to do what everybody else is doing, and guess what – it’s free, might just work.

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Paid Search Futures Market

Many companies, both large and small, rely on paid search as a critical component of their marketing and advertising strategy. The key to paid search is bidding the optimal price for the right keywords. Companies must actively manage their campaign as keyword prices fluctuate to receive the optimal amount of exposure and manage costs.

There seems to be an opportunity to create a market that allows “investors” to buy search words in advance at set prices and then actively trade these keyword derivatives. This futures market would work as a hedge for companies that want to create stability for their paid search campaigns, and would also create a speculative market in which traders could invest in search terms which they believe will rise in popularity and price in the future.

Not sure if these derivatives would actually need to directly interface through API with Adwords, Yahoo! etc, or could work off of already available data from Google Zeitgeist type search data. Either way, seems like there is a market here just waiting for a marketplace.