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Surveys, raspberries, reputation, and crime: New Tech start-ups (updated)

Four interesting companies presented at the San Francisco New Tech Meetup.

The San Francisco New Tech Meetup met at our offices Wednesday. Presentations were given by four interesting companies:

Vizu's new Answers service lets anyone create a market research poll, which is distributed to various sites and blogs that have an audience of visitors the researcher wants to poll. It looks like a really fast way to get basic product research done. It's not free: You pay to distribute your poll to the sites in the network that have agreed to run polls; they, in turn, make money for running your research. In other words, it's much like Google Adwords, but for research. I shot this video demo with co-founder Dan Beltramo before the Meetup.

Neighboroo is a handy map/data mash-up for people who want to understand basic neighborhood demographics. It overlays data including unemployment rates, crime rates, and household incomes onto a U.S. map. Data are only as fine as zip codes, so while it could be useful for marketers on a budget, it might not have enough detail to decide which of two houses to buy. The team plans to offer more granular data soon, though, and to enable users to put in their own data. Plus, it will soon add dozens of new data layers. It would be cool if Zillow and Neighboroo partnered.

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Rapleaf is a personal reputation system for the Web. It's very much like eBay's feedback system, but not tethered to a particular site. It's an interesting experiment. The latest news is that other services (like SwapThing and When2Date) are integrating the Rapleaf system.

Razz, formerly Phonebites, makes two pointless but really fun services. The Web service lets you mix recordings of your own voice with beat tracks and sound effects. The idea is that you can embed these sounds into your MySpace page--or wherever. There's also a downloadable mobile-phone application that lets you inject cute sounds into a live conversation--they call it "in-call entertainment." It's not available in the U.S. yet, but the Web service is available everywhere, and it is good for giggles. Here's my clip: