Got parenting questions? DadLabs, MomJunction have answers

John Shinal · January 9, 2008 · Short URL:

If you're looking for a market with some size, we've got one for you. 

One thing we all have in common: we either know people with kids or have children of our own. And like every other skill, parenting can be improved through innovation and education. (With the possible exception of Homer Simpson.)

That's why tens of millions of people around the world are hungry for parenting advice.

It's also why many entrepreneurs are building businesses around a market targeted at moms and dads who want to be either better at what they do or -- given the pace of life today -- at least more efficient at it.

Hoping to make good on this opportunity are a number of startups focused on using the Web to improve family life. 

One of our favorites pitches on in this market category is

Venture capitalists and angel investors like to see startups with unique approaches, and it's safe to say that no other startup has posted a pitch that begins with the phrase: "today we're going to talk about kids who poop in the tub." 

The delivery of co-hosts Clay Nichols and CEO Brad Powell may be funny but the site is serious business.

The Austin, Texas-based company produces four short Web videos per week and has built up a catalog of 125 shows. Last month, their shows generated a combined 150,000 video views on their own site and on the sharing sites they distribute to, according to Nichols, DadLabs' chief creative office.

Starting next week, the themed shows will be sponsored by vertical advertisers such as car-seat maker Graco, the Web site, and by Baby Bjorn, which makes the eponymous sling that gives parents of infants and toddlers the kind of hands-free capability formerly reserved only for marsupials.

In an example of the kind of connection were trying to make here at, DadLabs recently partnered with For Your Imagination, a distributor of Web video we wrote about here. FYI handles marketing, distribution, Web development and support, Nichols told me in a phone interview.

"Syndication is a big tool for us, but it's also a hard thing to manage. FYI has been a fantastic partnership for us because it allows us to focus on content creation," Nichols said.

Nichols and partner Troy Lanier didn't start out intending to do a show for dads. Instead, they were going to focus on film-making for teens, which they'd written a book about. But when they brainstormed, " we spent the whole time talking about our pregnant wives and being sleep deprived," Nichols says. Thus the DadLab series of short instructional parenting videos for men was born.

After starting off by selling their DVDs and using the Web only for marketing, the idea of Internet distribution became obvious. "We saw there was a whole new kind of television out there," Nichols says.

Other sites hoping to mine the rich vein of parenthood include,  a social networking and product-recommendation site, whose community recommends products that only moms could love.

In that company's pitch, CEO Sang Kim talks about the "ripple" effect of social networks, which allow information about products to spread much faster than they could with traditional word of mouth. 

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