Vizu, a San Francisco-based start-up that does interactive Web-based polling, has raised $1 million in a first round of funding.

The site lets you share the results of the polls with your friends. It is backed by WR Hambrecht + Co, joined by Amicus Capital and angel investors including Ron Conway, Esther Dyson, Don Hutchison, and Mike Maples, Jr.

You can do all the usual Web 2.0 type of stuff, like subscribe to polls via RSS, share the polls through instant messaging, and import the poll results to blogs, etc.

But here is the crux, as far as we’re concerned:

Organizations can use Vizu to answer simple, focused questions and collect data about trends and public opinion, particularly where the statistical robustness of traditional market research isn’t necessary.

We highlight the last phrase because it is a bit of a howler. The site apparently doesn’t even aspire to make these polls rigorous. They don’t really mean anything, if they are subject to gaming. For instance, I can vote that the media making too big of a deal of Dick Cheney’s hunting accident, and then invite all my conservative elephant friends to join in. It will only be a matter of time before the donkeys gather forces, and bombard the survey the other way.

Dorrian Porter, chief executive of Silicon Valley start-up Mozes, recently left a comment on our post over the weekend about the Web 2.0 funding bubble, and he asked us for examples of bubble fundings. This might be one. But then again, as someone at the Mercury News water-cooler said the other day, “a million bucks isn’t what it used to be.”

Ok, so this might be useful for quick poll around the office, before making a key marketing or deal decision. Or to take a poll of your school class about a subject. These are both settings where there’s enough trust and constraint for gaming to fade in significance. But then, why not just thow the question up on a wiki?

Is Vizu really a business?

vizu_poll_id = 4003;
vizu_category_id = 0;
vizu_bg_color = “#FFFFFF”;
vizu_border_color = “#000000”;
vizu_question_color = “#FFFFFF”;
vizu_answers_color = “#000000”;
vizu_button_color = “#C8C8C8”;
vizu_buttonText_color = “#000000”;
vizu_panel_width = 180;
vizu_panel_height = 220;
vizu_panel_base_url = “http://www.vizu.com/”;

Are we being too curmudgeonly?

(We’re trying to get import a visual of Vizu polls we’ve created for each of these questions. The site is acting up right now, perhaps because it is handling new traffic. We’ll keep trying. Meantime, you can try click on the links above and vote at Vizu’s site — though even that is very slow right now).

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