to zwink or not?

michael arrington posted a clip today
of a bar-side chat I did with Berkeley entrepreneurs in which I stressed how we
were laser focused from the beginning on finding revenue opportunities that
would scale. The primary reason I pointed to is that entrepreneurs should push
to control their own destinies, and being profitable was the best path.

In the video I refer to how early on
we experimented with offering zwinky toolbars.  Unfortunately, we offered
these before trying them out for ourselves. Once we did, we found them to be
a painful experience and i'm proud that even then as a
10 person startup we decided to take them down.

the lesson we learned was that while we needed
to strive for early profitability, we also couldn't sacrifice user experience.

Btw, these zwinky toolbars from an
IAC subsidiary are still widely offered on the web today.


8 thoughts on “to zwink or not?

  1. Dude if you were truly sorry about us players getting scammed you would offer us some sort of compensation. Not to mention I been using Super rewards on Yoville for 6 months now and most of the offers pay out just admit that you do not want players to receive free currency without paying.

  2. Mark,
    So rare to find others who are coming clean. The game is free, so the users have to understand that the game is paid for somehow. Would they be open to a WOW model? Probably not on Facebook.
    Just a shame that you’ve been held up as the poster child of virtual currency spam– a victim of your own success.

  3. I’ve got to comment that you are coming off as being very disingenuous. When you were speaking in front of folks about start-ups, you flat out said you tried every trick on the book to generate revenues, and the implication was absolutely that you were knowingly screwing over your users in an effort to bolster profitability.
    And now, in this blog post, my sense is that you’re trying to back paddle from your own comments.
    I’d advise to have some courage and stick with your own account of what happened — you knowingly screwed your users over so you could make some money.

  4. I think you are missing the point- the Zwinky toolbar is the least harmful thing to offer out of all the crap you push in your path. They at least let you uninstall and are upfront about that it is a toolbar- Web Tattoo ( and others (mobile, anyone?) that you are pushing are 1000x worse.

  5. John, not sure if that was directed at me. Candidly, I have no idea what zwinky is. But in the video, Mark clearly said that he couldn’t uninstall it himself. So perhaps I’m not missing the point.

  6. so how are we supposed to get rid of the toolbar, I can’t find where the file is located on my computer…

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