Gizmoz is a favorite of Mike Arrington's, because he likes tech for tech's sake. Being 3D is all you need to be his favorite avatar service.
So when the news came out that Gizmoz raised $6.5 million, he failed to note that they're getting clobbered in web traffic by Voki--the avatar site that I helped launch as its first product manager. It was also Voki, not Gizmoz, that got nominated for a SXSW web award.
Still, Voki hasn't fulfilled its potential and that's been really disappointing. Gizmoz just integrated with AIM and that's a heartbreaker for me because I met with AOL about this exact same integration last June.
AIM has the ability to trigger sounds from flash through the text you type in your chats. So, you could record custom messages for your character, and, for example, have it laugh your laugh when you type "lol". How cool would that be?
In fact, I made a mockup of the user interface for this back in June...
AOL loved the idea.... so why didn't it happen?
AOL's biz dev team was undergoing some reorganization, but, to be honest, it was our side that dropped the ball. We should have just built the integration and showed them a completed product. That would have easily gotten a deal signed with them.
Unfortunately, we were always short on development resources, because, instead of being dedicated to a product, they were shared across the whole organization. Oddcast has two other revenue generating product lines--Sitepal for small businesses and its custom business for agencies (Think Monk-e-mail).
I was a product manager without a dedicated development team competing against companies like Meez and Gizmoz who only did one thing.
That didn't happen either though... so while I applaud the marketing work Oddcast has done since I left, I sure wish we'd see some more feature development and interesting integrations. They're a great bunch of people and I wish them the best in the road ahead.