SNW INTERVIEW -- Mar 29 -- Kevin Hartz is the CEO of Eventbrite.com, an event ticketing company that offers an affiliate program for the socially connected. - Mark Brooks
What is Eventbrite?
Eventbrite is a self-service event ticketing and registration service. We serve thousands of event holders of all shapes and sizes and process millions of dollars in tickets and registration each month. We make it easy for event holders to publish, promote and sell out their events online. It's for small and mid-sized businesses and individuals. We allow them to take advantage of the Internet to promote their event and then process transactions.
Tell me about your new Facebook integration, Events Plus.
Events Plus has replicated all the features of Facebook events, but added a number of new features such as the important ability to collect payments for events, and also the ability to customize the look and feel of the registration page. It’s important to know that Facebook doesn’t intend to improve upon their events application as they focus on their core platform. We’ve created a better application that allows events creators to have a degree of customization and ability to collect payments.
Was it difficult to apply Google Checkout to a Facebook application?
Google Checkout is a very strong API and Google has done a good job. But, in our estimation, it’s not quite as good as PayPal, which integrates much faster and easier. So it’s a convenience factor for us and for our customers. With PayPal, the only requirement is that the event holder has an email address. This makes being up and running as a processor, as a collector of ticket sales and payments, very painless for first timers.
What is the most important thing for a prospective client to know?
We take the pain out of the event planning process while giving users the ability to collect money from ticket sales immediately; that’s an important differentiator, because when using some other services, there is a lag period.
Another innovation that we have, that no one else has, is something we call Attendee Referral, which allows an event holder to create his/her own affiliate program so we allow people to take advantage of their existing groups and social network. Eventbrite helps group owners transform their groups into customer bases which they can sell ticketed events to.
What we do is make it possible for the primary event holder to invite whomever he likes to participate in the affiliate program for a pre-specified revenue share. Let’s say I’m selling tickets at $100, I would like to share 20% of that with my affiliate program, and I can have full control over who is invited and of the percentage share. So now my network of bloggers aren’t just doing me a favor by helping me promote my event, they can also monetize that. There is now a benefit relationship that wouldn’t have been possible before.
These are the kinds of changes that we’re all about because we’re very active in the social networking space. I was an investor in Friendster and Flixter, among others, so I really want to underscore that we’re all about empowering social networking. We see our activities as dovetailing and providing evolutionary development of social networking activities in the direction of business and monetization. We create and empower social networks to become businesses. It’s transformative, and we’re very excited about it.