Did Natalie MacNeil’s 'She Takes on the World' deserve to be nextMedia’s Digital Launch Pad Winner?

by Dan Verhaeghe | Startups

MacNeil built up a reputation as an Emmy award winning producer with her interactive agency and won a coveted blog award before going on to write for Forbes and the Huffington Post in 2010-2011. She was also featured in Techvibes, but did she really deserve to win in yesterday’s popularity contest (the audience voted via text) that featured perhaps better digital properties than hers?

There’s no doubt her popularity is still intact- she has almost eleven thousand Twitter followers and was reportedly great at TEDxUW a few weeks ago, but sometimes you need to look past a six minute presentation and past success to determine who really should have won this competition. MacNeil’s traffic ranking has dipped over 100,000 spots to 475,000 and there is small evidence of a Canadian presence while her content on The Huffington Post and Forbes has diminished.

So let’s label "She Takes on the World", which nextMedia declared as the “hottest digital magazine” for career-minded women and female entrepreneurs as "potentially popular once again" as MacNeil plans to promote it heavily in 2012 through cross-site syndication and her own solidly booked tour that has just two partnership spots left.

Let’s also see if the five other finalists who presented to a panel from various marketing agencies were more deserving.

Nathon Gunn’s Social Game Universe- The company soft-launched a Facebook game that got a million users in a month back in 2010 that comes with a back-end platform and analytics about how the users of the game are interacting with it, completely customizable. The marketing agency panel believed that since gaming is way ahead of marketers, it could provide useful as a platform for agencies to use for social gamification. After all, Zynga’s CEO Marc Pincus said: “I’m not a game developer, I’m a marketer”.

Jason Leaver’s Out With Dad- With the pilot having drawn over one million views on YouTube, Out With Dad, a relatable, realistic family-friendly drama which follows a teenage girl and her single father at a time when she is coming of age and out of the closet targets a niche market that Leaver says is untapped. Leaver believes with the right marketing budget, and if picked up by a major network, the web series could become a profitable success as views have declined in the beginning of season two.

Joel Urnom’s Mobile Artist (MOA)- Since MOA launched at Canadian Music Week, the site has gained 17,000 likes and got 134,000 hits in a three month period, but has since majorly declined much like MacNeil’s site with a worldwide traffic ranking around 443,000. It’s a platform that meshes American Idol with Facebook, giving a true online space for artists and bands to compete. It’s also supported by music news and concert listings while artists can win a record deal and fans can win an EMI internship. The site can also be changed to represent varying categories of fine art beyond music.

Michael Grand’s White Collar Poet- The second of three web series showcased that explores the confusing intersection of business and art with quirky, unforgettable characters, moving performances and hilarious adventures. White Collar Poet has TV/Podcast opportunities lined up and aims to put personality back in business. They are currently seeking brands that want to celebrate with them.

Jonathan Robbins’ Clutch- Clutch is a web series based on Kylie, a streetwise pickpocket who survives on looks, charm and sneaky fingers who is on a quest for her place in the world. They underline the fact that there could be live communication and live interaction with a potential brand that could look for certain things in the episode when watching it for a second time. 

Seems to me like Out With Dad or Social Game Universe should have won this popularity contest. MacNeil seemed to have won on reputation alone. 

Social Game Universe
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Social Game Universe is a Toronto-based social games innovator founded in 2009 by veteran digital media entrepreneur and game designer Nathon Gunn and backed by powerhouse media and finance visionaries Eli Cohl, Michael Cohl, Moses Znaimer, Gary Slaight, Ron Dembo, Bruce Hooey and Clive Smith. Social Game Universe has soft-launched two beta social media apps on Facebook including Hollywood... more

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Dan Verhaeghe

Dan Verhaeghe

Dan Verhaeghe focuses on marketing, mobile, major technology players, entertainment, and new media. Dan has a dozen years of online experience that dates back to the turn of the millennium where he dominated a now non-existent online RPG game for a couple of years at the age of 15. He would eventually become a Toronto Blue Jays blogger who earned his way into Toronto's CP24 studios six years... more

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