360Desktop Or One Giant Billboard?

Update: This morning, we found out some more information about 360Desktop. While when we chatted with CEO Evan Jones last night, we were under the impression that the company plans to support itself through partnering with advertisers in the creation of branded desktops, Jones sent us an email this morning noting that the company expects that ”advertiser-branded 360’s would make up less than 0.5 percent of all the 360 content available.”

What about the other 99.5 percent of content? Jones said that these user-made mash-up desktops are available to use for free, just like any free-to-download wallpaper, and that they will “never have any ad content delivered into them, ever.” Additionally, Evans wrote, “In the same way that line or button-sized ads are delivered into apps like Messenger, we may also deliver ads into one small spot in the drop-down navigation utility, but that is not our primary focus.”

[qi:004] 360Desktop, an Australian startup, wants to unclutter your desktop and turn it into an unending panorama, and oh by the way also a giant billboard.

The company makes software that turns an ordinary desktop into a long, scrollable horizontal rectangle adorned with customizable wallpaper. Users can leave widgets, Internet windows (that automatically refresh), and applications open on the desktop without clogging up their entire screen.

The self-described “panoramic desktop platform company” based in Melbourne launched at DEMOfall this week. Backed by $1 million in angel funding, the company will make its products publicly available on Nov. 5. Their plan to make money revolves around what else: advertising.

They want to partner with big brands and offer branded desktops, and advertisers can update the page whenever they feel like it. This is a new spin on ideas first attempted by PointCast and Microsoft (Active Desktop.) Those two attempts didn’t go according to plan.

Pardon our skepticism, but does 360Desktop really think there will be enough users that sign up for a product where the advertiser has free reign to do whatever they feel like it? If you want more desktop real estate, then there are quite a few freeware options for virtual desktops, which allow users to have multiple desktop windows accessible at the click of a button.

When applied to small, specific niches for subtle brand-building, 360Desktop’s idea has legs. For instance, Ford Motors (F) can create a 360 theme for Mustang fans that would include a car that would appear to “drive” through the background scenery. A few areas where the latest Mustang news and special offers can be delivered in real-time to the desktop could actually prove to be useful for Mustang enthusiasts. 360Desktop should forget the all-purpose advertising idea, and focus on a brand-extension strategy.

Will you use 360Desktop?
  • Sure, why not
  • Not a chance in hell
  • Zzzzzz

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