In “Seven Ways to Advertise on Facebook,” I broke down advertising opportunities on the social network. I actually got a lot of flack from a few readers for omitting application sponsorships. I had left them out because one doesn’t actually buy application sponsorships directly from Facebook. Among those weighing in were two of the larger players in the Facebook application advertising space: Citizen Sports Network and Appssavvy. So I decided to interview their CEOs to learn more about application advertising on social networks.
This week features my interview with Mike Kerns, CEO of Citizens Sports Network. The company has developed applications for social networks, including one initiative that makes it possible for sports fans to participate in fantasy football games with friends.
Harry Gold: Can you tell me about you and your company?
Mike Kerns: I began my career with the leading angel investment level firm in Silicon Valley during the late ’90s, early 2000s. I was one of two associates with Ron Conway’s Angel Investors. We were early in companies such as Google, Ask, PayPal, and Napster. We did over 200 investments in tech, broadly distributed across different areas of focus. I then went on to get a foot in the door in the sports industry as the chief of staff at Steinberg & Moorad sports agency. We were the leading football and baseball representatives in the country. My eyes opened to the lack of innovation in the digital sports media business in 2003 [or] 2004. So I set out to develop a new way to interact with commoditized sports information. Our first product/effort was Protrade.com, a virtual sports stock market, which is a next-generation fantasy sports game and community. It grew to what is most likely the largest standalone (not owned by major media conglomerate) fantasy product. However, it appeals to a very passionate niche audience, so when Facebook and other platforms started opening up a year ago, we decided to shift the business direction to become the leading social sports media provider…hence the rebrand to Citizen Sports Network. We are building a diversified set of sports experiences within social networks that are based on fostering social interactions around sports information and games.