ZDTV bows ‘Big Idea’ for dot-com wannabes

Winners to receive $50,000

Bringing the drama of “The Gong Show” online, ZDTV.com has bowed “The Big Idea,” an Internet game show where desperate dot-com wannabes present their ideas to a stoic panel of venture capitalists for a chance to get $50,000 for their startup.

Three dog-and-pony show presentations are made per Webisode, which is netcast Monday through Friday on ZDTV.com.

Mark Walberg, former host of “The Big Date” on USA Network and “Shop ’til You Drop” on Lifetime, introduces the contestants who then make their pitches to execs from edatafinder.com, the Los Angeles Regional Technology Alliance, the Management Group and moredeals.com.

But impressing the panelists isn’t enough — after each presentation is made, Netizens watching the show decide who moves on to the next round. In case of a tie, the VC panelists make the final decision.

Winner’s gifts

Besides the $50,000 — an amount that’s just right for a startup to throw that critical first killer party — the final winner gets up to $5,000 worth of services of a Web marketing consultant, Web site design and hosting and office space for a year.

Winning ideas so far include: ComicBookFactory.com, BigOldUSA.com and LADrinkPrices.com. Sadly, WhatsYourExcuse.com didn’t make the cut with Netizens — and in a disclaimer given to potential contestants, producers warn that it is beyond their control if others mooch off the Netco ideas that are presented.

After 26 shows, the winning contestants will be put through a second round where Netizens again will decide who advances. The victors in this round qualify for the grand prize round, when they will be quizzed yet again on their business plan.

“Participants will enjoy both the entertainment and educational value of the program and have a chance to be part of the creative process that is shaping the new economy,” said David Goldhill, CEO of Rotor, the company that provides the online player to watch the netcast.

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