Is Filtrbox the way to filter out Web noise?

Bambi Francisco Roizen · March 30, 2009 · Short URL:

Chris Shipley helps us evaluate the media-monitoring service

This week, we look at Filrtbox, a startup that lets you monitor media sources and filter out what's most important to you. In this segment, Chris Shipley, who's mentored thousands of startups as co-founder of Guidewire and DEMO executive producer for 13 years, is our guest host. Shipley joined Ezra Roizen (digital media investment banker and Vator Box regular) and me to analyze this monitoring tool. 

Here are our observations and advice:

- Ari Newman, Filtrbox founder and president, does a nice job defining who his customers are and the business model. One suggestion for Newman is to set up the pitch by describing the problem he's trying to solve. Often the best pitches start off with a problem statement.

- There's some controversy about a freemium business model, particularly during today's economic environment where some investors are embracing companies that can charge right off the bat. But Shipley, Roizen and I believe the freemium model is one to pursue, as long as the free service is fully complete and useful, and not an anemic version of a real product. Filtbox's basic service allows you to search for up to five topics or filters. Beyond that, a person has to pay $10 a month to use the service. While charging for value is a good model, Filtrbox might want to expand the filters to engage the user more and get them hooked on using the service.  As Roizen said: “I haven’t gotten enough out of the relationship to want to do that [pay] after having a limited experience because of the five filters.” The $10 tollbooth is a fine model. The question is whether the tollbooth comes up too soon.

- Filtrbox appears to be focusing on too many constituents. It’s targeting marketing/brand managers, sales professionals, and investors. For marketing professionals, there appear to be a number of services out there already. Radian6 helps PR and ad agencies capture the buzz around their brands. BuzzLogic captures the same buzz and tries to insert itself into that buzz to lift its clients presence or image within the chatter.  Clearly, there is a need for such services. To compete effectively with startups focused on one constituent, Filtrbox may want to focus on just brand/marketing managers, rather than sales professionals or just purely sales professionals, but not both. Both require different needs. Going after both will result in not being able to satisfy either very well. Helping sales professionals generate leads requires a different set of tools than what marketing professionals need to build their customer's brand and image.

- Filtrbox might want to consider some useful features, such as tools to prioritize information or tools to provide “related” topics for each filter. For instance, if you suggested that you’re interested in “Vator” as a search, you might want to see related information about  “Entrepreneur.” In other words, having relative taxonomies could improve the service through recommendations. 

- Filtrox should consider going deep into a vertical to make a really useful product that charges $100 per month. Filtrbox should figure out a price point for a high-quality product. And, the pitch should be: If you have this tool, you won’t be fired.  

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Bambi Francisco Roizen

Founder and CEO of Vator, a media and research firm for entrepreneurs and investors; Managing Director of Vator Health Fund; Co-Founder of Invent Health; Author and award-winning journalist.

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Discover what your customers are saying about you on Twitter, social networks, blogs and news sites. Filtrbox monitors conversations on millions of sites in realtime and alerts you to things that are directly relevant to your business. Participate in the conversation, build closer relationships with your customers,  and watch your brand and business grow. 


Filtrbox delivers daily emails with new articles, and provides a rich web application to monitor, analyze, and collaborate on Filtrs (searches). Unlike google alerts, Filtrbox removes duplicates, maintains history of what you have seen, and allows feedback to fine-tune your results. Articles are scored based on relevance for noise control also.  

You can try Filtrbox for free @ 

Twelvefold Media


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Twelvefold Media (formerly BuzzLogic) is the only emotive-based media company that helps brands target, reach and persuade engaged audiences by delivering the right ad, in the right place at the right time to the most motivated customers in the right mindset.

Twelvefold creates customized digital media packages with proprietary technology that utilizes emotive-based targeting at the page level and real-time bidding—at scale and without cookies—to achieve superior results and insights for brands and advertisers.

Clientele includes Kraft, Toyota, Best Buy, Microsoft, and Starbucks. The company is headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles



chris Shipley

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Ezra Roizen

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Advisor-to and commenter-on emerging ventures

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