The Consumer Matters is the blog of Leslie Grandy, aka Gearhead Gal.  My passion is creating and delivering compelling products that delight customers through simple and elegant user experience design.

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Entries in sxsw (3)


Fun Tweets of the Week

There have been a flood of tweets this week from Austin, and SXSW. Some are tech related, some are personal, and most are intended to make you feel like you are missing the biggest and best party in the world. Here are a few of my favorites.

@aprils_pen: Things heard at #sxsw "I didn't know you guys had so many freeways here in Texas" said by New Yorker"//NY view of the world!

RT @aschweig: My Hotspot's Name is Mark

RT @ConsensusLive: Up next at #sxsw w/ @Pinterest CEO. We just need to know is it only for housewives in Oklahoma? If it is, that's cool we just want to know.

RT @michaeldain SXSW ~ brought to you by Apple products, wi-fi and Twitter. None of them are advertising.


The SXSW 2010 Web Awards Cover Sites from Corny to Vile

First published on Technorati, March 15, 2010
SXSW Webby Awards Red Carpet, Michael Anderson

A Vile Plutocrat, a blog that bills itself as "steel-toe boot in the ass of entitlement," and a web service called Cornify that claims to "optimize the happiness-per-user ratio online," were winners of the 2010 SXSW Web Awards, held Sunday night at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. Cornify had the distinction of being the People's Choice winner, selected by an audience of 12,000 online voters.

The Web Awards ceremony is a popular tradition and highlight for many attendees of the Interactive portion of the SXSW conference. Past Web Award winner, Twitter, has helped the SXSW awards event position itself as a starmaker. Organizers parade finalists down a red carpet of bloggers and trade press, hoping to snap a picture of the next Evan Williams or Mark Zuckerberg.

The event began after a bizarre mix of local entertainers who performed sideshow circus-style acts, including a heavily tattooed woman gyrating inside a lighted hula hoop to a new age Asian instrumental track.

Local favorite, Gowalla, a Texas-based geo-social service that competes with location-based services (LBS) like FourSquare, won in the mobile category for best site optimized for handheld and portable devices. To some industry watchers, Foursquare appears to have taken an early lead in the LBS category, but Gowalla was expected to leverage its home field advantage at this year's show by integrating promotions around the community. As a result, exhibitors and party hosts encourage attendees to do check ins to receive conference swag or party invites.

The big winner was WolframAlpha, garnering the Best in Show accolades at this year's SXSW Web Awards. A highly obtuse piece of applied mathematics, WolframAlpha is a "computational knowledge engine" that generates output by combining free form data input and converting that into useful information available from its free website or through a mobile app, priced at $49.99.


RootOrange Creates Domain "Leases" for Local Merchants

First published on Technorati - March 15, 2010

 Root Orange

If you have ever tried to lease a vacation property, you know how valuable a property manager can be. Property management companies handle the overhead of finding renters, keeping the unit clean, and ensuring the transaction occurs.

RootOrange, a three person startup that is a contender in this year's SXSW Microsoft BizSpark Accelerator competition, acts as a property manager for domain name owners who are looking to optimize monetization of their valuable - and usually very discoverable - URLs. The company creates "localized" versions of highly coveted, generic domain names, and re-directs a customer who enters a URL from a specific geography to an iframe of the local business' website within the page of the original generic domain name owner's page.

bizsparkMany local businesses struggle to afford popular keywords from Google that would make them discoverable. With RootOrange, small businesses pay just for the regional pool of customers for the generic domain names they lease, bypassing the purchase of the Google keyword. For instance, the legal keyword, "attorney" gets over one million searches monthly, making it a very expensive keyword to buy.  For example, a personal injury lawyer in Seattle can now lease the domain "" from the owner through RootOrange - acting as the property manager -  and all traffic that comes from the greater Seattle market to "" will view that lawyer's web page.

BizSpark judges expressed their concern about Google's reaction to RootOrange's business plan. The search engine company generally discourages a practice called, "domain cloaking," but RootOrange describes what they do as "domain splitting."  Domain cloaking and RootOrange's domain splitting both employ page frames which many web developers believe cause issues for search engine indexing and consumer usability.

Companies hoping to win the Accelerator competition are being judged on creativity, functionality, longevity and caliber of the team. Judges, including executives from ReadWriteWeb and Blippy, grilled contestants on business strategy, revenue growth plans, and value propositions in a forum that looked like a geek version of speed dating. Finalists in the competition, which include mobile application darlings, Bump, Siri, and ShopSavvy, will be announced this evening. A final round of grilling takes place tomorrow, when a winner will be crowned. For both days of the competition, a live stream can be heard here.