Brothers Jamie and Matthew Roche launched their stealth startup BO.LT earlier today in what is certain to stir up some controversy among content-creators.
The San Francisco-based company, which raised $5 million in Series A funding from Benchmark Capital last year, allows users to copy any page on the Internet and then edit the page. For instance, the Roches could ‘BO.LT” this page, or copy it, and then using the simple page editing tools available on their site, they could change my lead and then share their newly created page with their followers, say on Twitter and Facebook. They could also swap out their elephant logo with a different picture, if they so choose.
Chances are, they won’t mess with my content. Even if they did, the page would clearly say it was modified through BO.LT. Admittedly, this service is something you have to see in person. (UPDATE: I posted a YouTube video below that Jaime Roche created yesterday.) Although I haven’t yet BO.LTed a page myself, the brothers met me last week at their office overlooking the water at Pier 3 in San Francisco, where they are temporarily based before moving into new digs into the South Market (SoMa) area of the city.
The brothers compare BO.LT to both a bit.ly link-sharing service and to YouTube’s video sharing capabilities. The YouTube comparison makes sense since so many users edit and then re-post videos that they didn’t shoot themselves. The Roches note, however, that advertising content is not affected when users change a page. And this post you’re reading on the backend of peHUB would not be affected by their copied and edited page that they BO.LTed.
The brothers say the service is an ideal one for brand marketers who are selling goods on the Internet and want to change things around quickly. A tourist destination, for instance, might see that traffic is spiking from a certain demographic just prior to spring break. Using BO.LT, someone at the travel site could quickly modify their Web page to make it more appealing to the increased traffic.
BO.LTing a page would allow a customer to modify the goods and services for sale on their site without going through WordPress or having to get in touch with an “IT guy to change the coding or other things around,” says Jamie Roche, who shares the title of co-CEO with his brother. The Roches say they have more than 500 customers currently using the service.
This is not the brother’s first stab at a startup with marketing implications. They previously launched Offermatica Corp., a San Francisco-based provider of software to test, measure and optimize online marketing and advertising campaigns. Omniture Inc. acquired the company for about $65 million. Offermatica shareholders had included Baker Capital, Accel Partners and Meritech Capital Partners.