The New York Times. YouTube. GoPollGo. One of these things is not like the other, but each share one thing in common: Twitter. Following the announcement that select sites and services would be able to display content without making a Twitter user leave the social network’s website. For content-heavy services, like those listed previously, this “expanded Tweets” feature make sense. Users are already on Twitter, they probably plan on returning to Twitter once they view the Tweets’ embedded content; expanded Tweets are simply cutting out the middleman.
The GoPollGo integration is slightly more curious. Founder Ben Schaechter founded the company while he was in college and started building it in earnest just two years ago to solve the problem of collecting large amounts of information online.
“The problem I saw is that there are all of these massive accounts on top of Twitter and Facebook and Google+, but there is no way to gather that information in a sensible way,” Schaechter says. “CNN Tweeted out a question and got thousands of at-replies that they had to sift through to get the answer to ‘What do you think about [a political issue]?’”
GoPollGo solves that problem by providing one centralized location for the masses to respond to any given question. The service, which is free to use, provides real-time analytics and gathers data on each poll responder. (No word on whether these are referred to as “poll dancers” internally, but we have a hunch.)
Clicking “Show Summary” on a Tweet from GoPollGo will, once the feature has been rolled out, display the poll’s question and options in Twitter’s website. There is currently no way to respond to a poll without clicking through the link, but that may become an option in the future. Even this barebones integration could increase GoPollGo responses dramatically, as users can find out exactly what they’ll find on the site before jumping through the link. It’s unfortunate that users can’t respond from Twitter’s website right away, but this appears to be a limitation on Twitter’s end and outside of GoPollGo’s control.
GoPollGo has been hard at work expanding its product, entering the realm of branded pages and deeper partnerships with companies to seek profitability. The company recently unveiled a new revenue model that Schaechter says has already seen “thousands of dollars” pledged to the company. By leveraging the company’s growing user base, GoPollGo can now use the data that it has collected to offer a paid question service.
Say, for example, that a startup with only five followers wants to gather data for a potential project. Tweeting a poll is only going to go so far before the service’s usefulness wears out. GoPollGo can now use its data on those that have responded to polls to create an audience for the startup’s poll, charging 50 cents per response at the time of writing. This service is still in its early stages, and we’re told that customers will be able to define parameters – the big one being responders’ location – that users must meet in order to respond to the poll.
Charging on a per-response basis will allow the feature to suit companies both large and small. If GoPollGo were to charge a flat rate for each customer they would have to find an average rate that may become so skewed by large companies that it could put the service out of many startups’ reach.Being able to respond directly from Twitter would increase this feature’s usefulness by, say, a million percent (not an actual figure); GoPollGo is creating a cohesive whole that unites seemingly separate features in a way that would make many large companies envious.
Schaechter and company have only raised $325,000 to date, but he says that he is always looking into funding opportunities.
“I’m under the kind of model of being as lean as possible. I think we’ve done an okay job of that. $325,000 isn’t nothing, but it’s not a ton of money either for a team of developers,” Schaechter says. “If we could run off profits that’s great, if we want to move faster and raise a round, then that’s an option.”