Tekiki is a startup company working on web-based applications to complement webinars and webcasts. They have two primary utilities currently in beta: Ticketing and social networking. Stay with this article, because I think the second half is better than the first!
The first offering is a way to sell tickets for an event. Honestly, it could be used with a physical on-site event or a web event. This is straightforward and if you have ever used a service such as EventBrite, you will be familiar with the concept. Tekiki creates a page with event overview information and pricing. A registrant can click a button to register and pay. Tekiki links to your own PayPal merchant account and funds are deposited directly into your account, with no skim by Tekiki.
I talked to Tekiki founder Clarence Hu. He said they initially wanted to differentiate themselves by providing a complete turnkey service. You give them your event details and they create the event page for you. I thought that some people would want to do the work themselves in order to do incremental design tests or make changes on the fly. They have been adding more do-it-yourself features lately, and customers don’t have to rely as completely upon the Tekiki staff.
They also recently added the ability to specify discount codes, letting you create tiered pricing for your event. Unfortunately (as with EventBrite), all registrants get the same confirmation email (customized for each event to your preferences) and as of now there are no integrations with any webinar products. This means that your webinar registration and communications are completely separate from the ticketing side of things. If you want registrants to get personalized login links, if you want to use your webinar software to send automated reminders and follow up emails, or if you want to track registration vs. attendance, you will have to load the names from the Tekiki system into your webinar registration system. This is an area that is ripe for integration via public webinar APIs (ReadyTalk and omNovia are two products that have these available… There are probably other products as well, but I can’t think of them at the moment.)
The ticketing program is in a private charter mode at the moment so they can pay close attention to problems, feature requests, and service needs. Clarence said that I can offer my readers a special invitation to participate in the charter program. Go to their signup page and request entry into the charter program. They will send you a confirmation message and at that time you can use code WSUCCESS to say that you read The Webinar Blog and thus know a thing or two about web events. This code is good for the next 30 days. The nicest thing about trying out this utility is that there are no overhead costs… Tekiki is running in a zero-cost “build awareness” mode now. I don’t know how they will transition to a revenue-generating model in the future.
I am actually more intrigued by the second Tekiki offering. This gives you a way to build a “disposable community” associated with an event. At first I didn’t understand the concept and shrugged it off as yet another unnecessary social networking alternative to Facebook or LinkedIn. But it’s very different.
Instead of replacing other networks, it lets you create a web page that allows people to “see and be seen” among the other attendees at an event. Your guests (such as registrants for an upcoming webinar) can add their public LinkedIn or Twitter profile to the page (Facebook doesn’t seem to link the account profile properly). There is a simple public scrolling chat box where participants can write comments to the crowd. It’s like choosing to wear an attendee badge at a physical event with your name, title, and company. You can see who else is in attendance and if it looks like they might be good to schmooze with, you can start up a conversation or an invitation to share contact details.
The community of people associated with the page is designed to be temporary. Once the event is over, the page is deleted and nobody is stuck with being associated with yet another permanent group in Yahoo or LinkedIn. They also have not had to create yet another profile on yet another social networking product. All they did was connect their existing profile, which remains unchanged.
Creating a room is ridiculously fast and easy. You just click a button. The service is again free, at least during this startup phase. There is a small revenue generating option included, which is the ability to let people place a “Spotlight Announcement” on the group page. This is effectively a banner ad. The group owner can choose whether to approve or decline the Spotlight submission. Currently it costs the submitter $10 to add one.
After my initial skeptical dismissal, I came around to really liking this concept. It’s a great way to create a virtual pre-show area where your registrants can “mill around” and meet each other and share ideas. They have no permanent affinity other than their shared interest in whatever your topic happens to be. When the event is over, they drift home without any new obligations other than contacting people they met and mutually agreed to talk with. The public chat area lets the host and guests talk about subjects they want to address in the webinar or ask questions ahead of time.
You can see a sample of an existing social page at http://bit.ly/sampleportal. If you want to create your own room, just click the big blue button at the upper right. All you need to do is sign in with an existing social networking account.