Tout (company)

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Type of businessPrivate
Type of site
Social network service, microblogging
Available inMultilingual
Area servedWorldwide
Founder(s)Michael Downing
IndustryInternet industry
RegistrationRequired (to post, follow or be followed)
LaunchedApril 2010 (2010-04)[1]
Current statusInactive

Tout was an online social networking service and microblogging service that enabled its users to send and view 15-second videos, known as "touts." The service's core technology was created at SRI International by Michael Downing based on two patents owned by that company.[1][2]

In April 2010, Tout spun off as its own company with SRI taking an equity stake.[2] Tout gained popularity in June 2011 when basketball player Shaquille O'Neal used the service to announce his retirement. By early 2012, Tout had received over 12 million visitors and 75 million Touts had been shared by users of the service.[3]


On July 11, 2012, the company announced a $13.4 million round of Series B funding; professional wrestling promotion WWE participated in the funding round, and announced a two-year strategic partnership with the company.[4][5] During WWE CEO Vince McMahon's quarterly conference call with investors held on the morning of August 2, WWE CFO George Barrios disclosed the amount of that investment to have been $5 million, but would not disclose what percentage of the company that sum represents.[6][7][8][9] Stephanie McMahon, CBO of WWE, would appear on the board of directors for Tout.[10]

As part of the strategic partnership, WWE subsequently promoted Tout via its platforms, including encouraging its talent to use the service, and showcasing posts by viewers and WWE talent during segments of its television programs.[11][12][13] However, as Tout proved to be largely unpopular, WWE stopped promoting Tout in early 2013 and let their strategic partnership expire in 2014, after which Tout quickly folded.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Malone, Michael (2011-12-05). "News Chiefs 'Tout' Benefits of Social Video". Broadcasting & Cable.
  2. ^ a b Lawler, Ryan (2011-03-23). "Bye-Bye 15 Minutes of Fame: Tout Gives You 11 Seconds". Gigaom. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  3. ^ Ha, Anthony (2012-03-14). "Tout's Plans For Turning Video Status Updates Into A Business". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2012-06-24.
  4. ^ "WWE Quarterly Report 8/2/2013". WWE / U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  5. ^ Perez, Sarah (2012-07-11). "WWE (Yep, Wrestling) Invests In Video Messaging Startup Tout's $13.4 Million Series B". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  6. ^ "WWE financials announced, what was up and down plus a guidance of an increase in the next five month". 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  7. ^ Caldwell, James (2012-08-02). "WWE News: Additional news from McMahon conference - Tout investment, PG-TV, Superstars & NXT, Smackdown dragging down attendance, big Social Media push, WWE Studios, more". Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  8. ^ Johnson, Mike (2012-08-02). "'We Do More Than Disney' - Vince McMahon Says the Company Went Too Far Into the "G" Realm, is Trying to be More 'Sophisticated' With its Product and More:WWE Conference Call Coverage". Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  9. ^ "WWE News: 8/2 Vince McMahon conference call - WWE Network, WWE TV deal with Ion, Raw expansion to three hours". 2012-08-02. Retrieved 2012-08-02.
  10. ^ "WWE Corporate - Executive Team Bios - Stephanie McMahon". WWE. Archived from the original on August 9, 2013. Retrieved 2 October 2021. Stephanie is a member of the Board of Directors for both the USO Metropolitan Washington and the social media company, Tout, Inc. [dead link]
  11. ^ Graser, Marc (2013-04-10). "WWE's Promo Mania". Variety. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  12. ^ Berkman, Seth (2014-03-31). "WWE Network Is Loud Introduction to the Video Streaming Ring". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2023-02-23.
  13. ^ Caldwell, James. "CALDWELL'S WWE RAW RESULTS 8/20: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live Raw – Punk-Cena, Lesnar opens show, Triple H "speculation," Jericho farewell". Pro Wrestling Torch. Archived from the original on April 30, 2013. Retrieved October 11, 2012. Next, Cole introduced a tout from Lesnar saying he came to WWE, conquered everything, and now is leaving and never coming back, which drew some cheers from the live Raw crowd.
  14. ^ Barker, Cory (2019): "Tout it Out": WWE's Experimentation and Failure With Social TV. In Dru Jeffries(ed.): #WWE: Professional Wrestling in the Digital Age, Indiana University Press, p. 187