SOURCE: Sharing-Mart

Sharing-Mart

June 10, 2009 09:15 ET

Sharing-Mart Researchers Tap Optimo Commercial Investments for Commercial System to Monetize Social Networks and Online Newspapers

Sharing-Mart Enables Content Trading, Targeted Ad Consumption, Optimo Helps Boosts Technology Investments in UAE

PRINCETON, NJ--(Marketwire - June 10, 2009) - Sharing-Mart, a project lead by researchers at Princeton University, today announced that it will receive financial advisory and capital placement from Optimo Commercial Investments, an Abu Dhabi boutique investment firm. The funding and services are earmarked to commercialize Princeton University's Sharing-Mart project.

Sharing-Mart, started by researchers at Princeton's School of Engineering and Applied Science, is preparing to go live with a complete content trading system and new advertising business model that attempt to solve the monetization challenges which plague Web 2.0.

Even though social networks are the Internet success story of the 21st century, Web 2.0 vendors are struggling to monetize content, and the free-content-to-consumer model is proving to be unsustainable. Sharing-Mart has developed a revenue creation system designed to turn social networks into the content equivalent of stock exchanges.

"Advertising has traditionally funded the distribution of content that consumers desire," said Lynda Clarizio, former President of Advertising.com and AOL's Platform-A, and a member of Sharing-Mart's advisory board. "Sharing-Mart ties advertising and content together directly in its exchange, a development that could potentially unlock the value of user-generated content."

With a Sharing-Mart application running on any social network, consumers can sell content by marked price or auction, or earn money in the form of tokens by consuming targeted advertising, and then use the tokens to buy premium-layer content. Consumers can also convert or replenish these tokens with real money, as desired.

The Sharing-Mart advertising system not only generates tokens to content consumers, but the user profiling engine for targeted marketing is more agile than existing on-line marketing approaches. It's capable of recommending products that are synergistic with both current buying intentions and sharp analysis of transactional history.

"For example, if a consumer historically has spent a big percentage of net wealth, in terms of token balances, to buy content related to a particular team or star on a sports social network, our user profiling algorithm will assign higher scores to sports gear specific to this team or star," said Dr. Mung Chiang, co-founder of Sharing-Mart. "When it's time to select the tailor-made advertisements to a user who wants to consume ads and receive tokens, these sharpened profiles help pick up the really effective ads."

The system creates a win-win situation for all parties: content producers, consumers, ad agencies, and online social networks. It can also be applied to monetize online newspaper websites by giving choices to the consumers, as publishers look for long-term solutions to stem the continued decline in traditional circulations.

Optimo Commercial Investments is looking to leverage the financial resources of Abu Dhabi based investment houses to expand funding of state-of-the-art technology companies with transformational potential on the Internet, such as Sharing-Mart. Optimo Commercial Investments expects these connections to open the door to new technologies and capabilities for the region.

"Sharing-Mart's unique technology will be exceedingly relevant to a wide array of social network operators and online newspaper publishers around the world," said Fraih Al Qubaisi, co-founder of Optimo Commercial Investments.

"It's a win-win, because backing knowledge-based investments is increasingly important to international investors," said Dr. Saleh Al Hashimi, co-founder of Optimo Commercial Investments. "Such investments help to create a sustainable, diverse, and thriving knowledge-based economy in developing areas of the world."

About Sharing-Mart:

Sharing-Mart is a project started by Princeton University researchers who are now moving the technology toward commercialization. Through a patent-pending platform for online content trading, it simultaneously enables monetization of user-generated content in online communities and sharp user profiling for effective targeted advertising. After launching a test site within the Princeton Engineering community, Sharing-Mart is now in negotiations to partner with social networks, online journalism, and ISPs to financially reward content producers, increase online community sizes, generate additional revenues for network operators, and enhance effectiveness of advertisers. Visit sharingmart.princeton.edu

About Optimo Commercial Investments:

Optimo Investments is a boutique investment firm focused on the technology and general industrials sector. It is currently developing a portfolio of companies within its focus areas. The firm also offers financial advisory services to select clients looking to develop opportunities in Optimo's core markets. For more information contact: +971-50-2209865

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