I spent a really wonderful evening at the Fenwick and West offices in Mountain View, this week, listening to elevator pitches from Irish startups. The event was sponsored by Enterprise Ireland and included lots of marketing consultants, investors, irish entrepreneurs and the Irish ambassador to the US, Michael Collins (who is a very tall, very gracious man).
Now, putting aside my personal adoration of the Emerald Isle and it's culture, there was a definite hint of a trend going on. The trend: web-based companies that are have revenue strategies not totally focused on advertising.
The official program included a travel website (Travel Republic), a mobile advertising concept (Nubiq), and automated e-newsletter (SpoiltChild) service, a digital-content storage service (PutPlace.com). But I also met representatives from several other companies (keep an eye out for http://www.benchd.com) that plan to use advertising as one source of revenue, but are really focusing on subscriptions, fees, sponsors, partnerships and revenue sharing.
One of the predictions I've been making for some time is that we are approaching the end of fee content as companies start to shy away from significant investment in supporting media with advertising. And I am happy to see that it's the Irish that are starting to figure that out. Gotta love that island.