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Author Topic: Plano-based GodTube has a new name, new purpose  (Read 2329 times)
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« on: February 24, 2009, 01:11:37 PM »

Plano-based GodTube has a new name, new purpose

In the beginning, there was GodTube. Now there's tangle.com.

The popular Plano-based Internet site changed names this month as part of a broad effort to boost its audience and advertising base and move into profitability.

 Known as a evangelical Christian knockoff of YouTube, GodTube was mainly a place to post or download religious videos, everything from sermons to Christian pop music to cute features such as a little girl reciting Psalm 23.

As tangle.com, the video component remains, but the aim is for full-fledged social networking in the MySpace or Facebook way, only with content carefully screened to make sure it's "family-friendly."

But is the site, under its new, secular-sounding name, still Christian? Well, sort of.

"The old name 'GodTube' was a little polarizing. We wanted a name that was more encompassing," said Jason Illian, CEO. "We don't shy away from our faith-based community, but we wanted to expand that."

GodTube is born

GodTube was started in 2007 by privately-held Big Jump Media Inc. of Plano. Early investors included Norm Miller, chairman of Dallas-based Interstate Batteries and a well-known contributor to evangelical Christian causes.

Under its first CEO, Chris Wyatt, GodTube got lots of media coverage and saw huge gains in visitors to the site.

But GodTube, like many new Internet businesses, remained in the red. And the obvious imitation of YouTube made some evangelical Christians wince.

"It's one thing to rip off the product, but to rip off the name itself was a little disappointing to a lot of people," said Scott McClellan, editor of Dallas-based Collide magazine, which covers media and church life.

By early last year, Wyatt was out as leader. Illian, who replaced him, described the departure as amicable and said Wyatt remains an investor. Wyatt declined to comment.

Last year also saw GodTube receive financing from London-based GLG Partners, an investment firm. The trade press put the figure at $30 million, but Illian said it was actually around $17 million.

Under 34-year-old Illian, a former captain of the Texas Christian University football team and Rhodes Scholar finalist, re-branding of the site has been a priority.

He describes a six-month process of picking a new name, working through 10,000 possibilities with the help of focus groups.

"Tangle.com" suggested early by Illian's brother Ben, interactive media manager for the site prevailed because it fit the social networking focus.

"You can not only get tangled up in relationships, but you can get tangled up in all the tools, whether they're blogs or video or photos or 'tickertape' [a line of newsy text that runs across the site's main page]," said Jason Illian.

The site also has a new, light green color scheme, and Illian promised that the next months will see the rollout of various innovations for helping individuals and groups connect.

Tangle.com retains "Christian underpinnings," Illian said, but projects no specific theology. Rather, it's meant to be a site that advertisers and users of various faiths (or none) can feel comfortable with, because objectionable images and text are screened out.

Family-friendly social networking is tangle.com's niche, Illian said. "We think that's a pretty big space that nobody's really playing in," he added.

Seeing sense in shift

Going in a more secular direction, while insisting on "safe" content, makes sense, according to some observers. "There might be some wisdom in creating partnerships with secular businesses, which have more money" than the ministries and church-related businesses that advertised with GodTube, said John Saddington, editor of ChurchCrunch, a blog that covers Christianity and technology.

Some firms that measure Internet traffic, such as Quantcast, show that in late 2008 and early '09 GodTube had a drop in audience to less than 1 million U.S. users per month.

But Illian puts the site's recent monthly audience at about 2 million worldwide, with 530,000 registered users. Even with the struggling economy, he predicted strong growth as marketing efforts tied to the new name kick in.

Illian also said tangle.com is on track to make money, but wouldn't predict a date.

As for re-branding, he acknowledged it's risky. But he's sure that the status quo won't cut it on the Internet frontier.

"You've got to continue to change and adapt," Illian said.

Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2009, 02:04:09 AM »

Hello Pastor Roger,

I appreciate the information. I'm late in reading this and have mixed emotions. I thought that GodTube was doing really well. I don't use video sites very often, but I was impressed with GodTube and had no problem in recommending it to others.

As a contrast, you never know what kind of filth you have to wade through when using YouTube for anything. This is true even with direct links because they make sure all kinds of garbage is mixed up on the page. If anything, YouTube has gotten worse.

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