Archive for the ‘web2.0’ Category

Netvoting - Existing Service + Social Network = added value?

Monday, November 12th, 2007

This is a paid posting, powered by trigami Disclaimer: This is a paid posting, powered by trigami.

After finally having received some invitations to blog for trigami, I decided to give it a try with a new Web 2.0 service. The product is called Netvoting and is basically a polling service, with widgets that you can implement in your blogs - a product that has been existing for years. What they added now is a social network layer to the voting, hoping this would create additional value and convince bloggers and other pollsters to use their service.

The registration proved difficult because gmail classified the confirmation email as spam and had to be found in the spam folder. And gmail normally has a very good spam recognition rate, so I wonder why it failed this time.

After having registered, the use of the platform is pretty straightforward. You create your poll by:

1. Entering the question
2. Entering the possible answers
3. Choosing some settings

and off you go!

I must say that the product is great when it comes to settings, it let’s you choose between fraud detection over cookies or cookies and IP and correctly warns you that if you use IP some people sitting behind the same NAT Router might not be able to vote correctly, so it suggests that you use cookies:

 

After creating your poll you can let people on netvoting vote and you should also be able to embed a widget using javascript, which did simply not work. I had to resort to the code for the working power widget of another blogger to make it work:

This Power Widget seems to be working fine and is definitely a handy way to include a poll into your blog. But the fact that I couldn’t make it work proves that quite a lot of work still needs to be done.Another feature that I really like about netvoting is its statistics visualization of demographics. Here’s a look:

Small but very interesting features are the following:

  • rss feed of your voting in order to stay updated of the votes cast (for your netvibes page, for example).

  • publish to mainstream blog hosters and also to major social networks including facebook and myspace with just one click

I took a look at the social networking functionality and it really is exactly the same as on every other social network: profile, friends, groups etc. And I frankly don’t see the connection between voting and social networking. On a social network, you might want do polling from time to time, but would you want to do social networking around polling?

Overall, the amount of features are great, I especially like the social network and rss integration. On the other hand, I see no need to create yet another social network around polling. And it is definitely not stable yet, as a couple of things didn’t work out properly. But if they can fix that, it is a useful quick poll creation service with extensive publishing functionality.

Techcrunch vs. Mashable - The News Networks 2.0 - Techcrunch losing ground?

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Bubble or not, someone is definitely making money with Web 2.0. And as it is with stock brockers who make money if the markets go up or down, the lawyers who make money whether economy is good or bad, Michael Arrington and Pete Cashmore belong to the winners.

A couple of months ago it was rumored that Michael Arrington’s Techcrunch makes around 120′000 $ a month. Someone close to Techcrunch told me it’s a whole lot more now. It must be, since they can afford to hire a full-blown Harvard MBA CEO and a couple of analysts/researchers.

But smart entrepreneur Michael Arrington is not resting on his highly successful blog. He since launched a uk, french and japanese version of techcrunch with it’s own editors. He also added crunchgear (a blog focusing on media gadgets) and crunchboard (a site to list Web 2.0 jobs for 200$) to his portfolio, slowly but certainly forming some sort of network, comparable to big media companies like Axel Springer in the printing world.

Recent additions include Techcrunch 20, a huge Web 2.0 conference and crunchbase, an attempt to profile all the web 2.0 companies in one database. Posts on Techcrunch no longer link to the company website, but to crunchbases entry of that company.

Techcrunch’s biggest competitor is Mashable, a blog focusing exclusively on social networks (as opposed to anything Web 2.0 on Techcrunch) and edited by UK-based Pete Cashmore.

Mashable also has it’s french version and has recently added a social network to it’s blog.

Taking a look at the Alexa numbers we can see that Mashable is gaining terrain, very quickly:

techcrunch vs mashable

Compete even tells us mashable has overtaken(!) Techcrunch in reach. These numbers are only valid for US visitors though, but certainly indicate a clear trend!

There are a couple of elements that differ with Mashable from Techcrunch:

Mashable, for example, is clearly inviting users to submit their news stories. whereas Techcrunch makes it quite an effort to contact them.

While it seems easier to get on mashable, it might soon also get you more attention than being techcrunched. On the other hand, being techcrunched always has something more prestigious to it.

In a time where TV and Print Networks are losing consumer attention to the internet, Online Networks with relevant (long-tail) and up-to-date stories will become more and more important. And user clicks mean advertising dollars.

It’s clear that both Pete and Michael first started their blog as a hobby, but have since turned them into real companies with several employees each. Other people write for them and they have successfully leveraged their brand, they can now enjoy smart analysts blogging for them while having a nice share of the ads income of their site. Well done!

Facebook’s Apps getting in users way - tools emerge to remove junk from facebook

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

The much hyped facebook apps also has it’s downsides. Not all the users seem to enjoy facebook apps that much:

1. The number of groups against facebook app (not to mention all those that might just be hidden by facebook)

2. Even more significant: tools to remove junk on facebook (and myspace)

There is a general impression that Myspace lost much of the geek/elite users because it is so cluttered. Now the rapidly increasing number of applications on facebook is certainly cluttering up your profile page. Or maybe you’re simply annoyed by all those silly app invites you get everyday, each of them requiring action on your part.

Will this drive users away from facebook? Maybe not drive away, but severly increase the immunity of users against all sorts of requests and messages: friend requests, group invites, app invites, group messages for marketing purposes etc.

The first counter-reactions already emerging (above), there could very well be a major move by facebook that allows users to increase inaccessibility of their attention. This again wouldl probably severely impede apps virality and marketing effectiveness of groups.

Killer: Facebook preparing IPO

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

According to inside facebook, which smartly monitors facebook’s new job descriptions, they found this interesting new job opportunity at facebook:

Responsibilities:

  • Manage the administration and compliance of all employee equity compensation programs such as Stock options, Restricted stock, RSUs, Warrants
  • Strong knowledge of SEC, FASB, and IRS rules and regulations relating to stock plans and insider trading (including SEC Section 16, SEC Rules 144, 145 and 701, FASB 123R, and IRC Sections 83, 409A, 421, 422 and 423)
  • Partner with Legal, Tax, and Finance to ensure ongoing compliance and for internal and external reporting

Now this certainly looks like Facebook might be preparing an IPO. Others have suggested that facebook might be sold to google, citing Zuckerberg is in love with Google. But soon enough, facebook could take over google in page views:

facebook vs google

How much is facebook worth now? Certainly now the 8 bn $ valuation looks more realistic than ever. I’m sure the guys at Facebook think it’s even a whole lot more. (compare googles 170bn $ valuation)

VC fund for facebook apps - facebook reaching platform status

Tuesday, July 10th, 2007

Now it really looks like facebook has done it again: Bay Partners launch the first facebook apps only fund to invest in young entrepreneurs who develop facebook apps. Apparently, they’re looking to invest between 25k and 250k. Not bad for such a facebook app.

The initiative is great and will help fuel the growth of good applications even more. But building a business only on top of facebook also carries certain risks: Facebook can simply decide to shut down your app if they don’t like it for some reason. They can also just modify some settings, like they already did, which can have a serious impact on your business model. Or how about facebook introducing monthly fees for API usage?

I think it would be smart to build a non-facebook dependant part of your business as well, so in case facebook apps is no longer a good option for you, your users are not simply lost, but can still use your service outside of facebook. This presumes your service adds real value for users, also outside of facebook.

via techcrunch and insidefacebook

Social Networks fighting for World Domination

Monday, July 9th, 2007

Valleywag came up with an interesting map, showing which Social Networks have the highest penetration in each countries:

 

Interesting to see how Social Networks are distributed throughout the world. Lately, I have come under the impression that everyone is looking at facebook and that other players are loosing game.

 

But the bloggers, including Techcrunch, Mashable and my humbleness, might not see the entire picture.

In many regions of our world, facebook is very insignificant. In fact, if you look at the world map above, facebook dominates only very few countries. (Note: The map only shows the leading social network in a country.)

 

Now there acts the principle of the self-fulfilling prophecy: When bloggers talk about facebook and about how it’s platform is revolutionizing the internet, they are aggressively accelerating facebook growth themselves, by evangelizing it (absolutely for free, by the way).

Facebook indeed is a winner here, because they were the first to implement a platform for developers. They are thus gaining importance by the huge amount of attention they receive from the blogosphere. Linkedin’s or MySpace have just barely announced they’re planning the implementation of platforms, and have received only minuscule coverage.

 

The map also reveals that facebook might not have the impact everyone thinks it has. As pointed out by Andi, Facebook’s market share in Asia is close to zero, as well as in Latin America. Basically, everything except the anglosaxon part of the world.

 

Now obviously the arising question is: Will one player step up to plate and gain everything? Or maybe there is only one professional network and one student / fun network?

Interesting is also this article, showing how facebook and myspace mirror a class division in the USA.

No matter how strong facebook grows, they’re still very far away from myspace and will not overcome them anytime soon. Xing and Linkedin both hold very strong positions in their home markets and there is no signs of a consolidation in either one of them.

 

Maybe with the development of meta tools, which quickly allow to import/export profile and contact data, more appealing social networks might grow even quicker than now and actual take market share away from weaker players until they can’t carry on with their non-profitability.

Facebook Apps + Alexaholic = Appaholic - measuring app success

Saturday, July 7th, 2007

As already mentioned before, Facebook is gaining internet platform status. No wonder there are already dedicated blogs about facebook but now there is also a new tool to monitor facebook application success: Appaholic. The name refers to well known Alexaholic that had to change its name to Statshaholic because of trademark issues with Alexa (an Amazon Company).

Comparing the new Where I’ve been App against HOT or NOT

Viral limit on Facebook apps?

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Watch out when building facebook apps: They changed the from being able to invite 10 users at a time to 10 users a day per user, severally limiting the viral distribution of facebook apps:

Inside Facebook’s take

Studivz against Facebook - David against Goliath?

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Facebook is hype:

Now Facebook certainly has the biggest market share with students in the anglo-saxon world, while in the germanophone parts of the world, Studivz is still much stronger.

This is how they are growing internationally:

While it was always clear that studivz would never be able to beat facebook worldwide, the question arises on how long the studivz can sustain itsself when facebook grows in users and in features.

It is not that simple to compare user numbers in specific countries. The facebook network Switzerland has 16′000 users now, while Studivz claim they have 52′000 users in Switzerland. But a lot of people on facebook don’t necessarily join their regional Network. In fact, of my 136 total friends on facebook, only 71 of them are in the Switzerland network. I guess I have about 100 people that actually live in Switzerland as friends, which makes my guess at the penetration 70%. According to this, There would be 16k / 0.7 ~= 23k users from Switzerland. That’s already close to half of the Studivz users. How long until we surpass Studivz?

Let’s take a look at University penetration. ETH Zurich Network on Facebook has 8 people called Philipp. Studivz shows us 90 results for ETH. That would be a penetration of less than 10 percent, if we generalize over all students.

St. Gallen University has a better penetration in facebook: 23 Philipps while Studivz shows
72 results, this is roughly a third.

While it is hard to really compare how much penetration those networks have, two things are clear:

  1. Studivz still has much more users in Switzerland and Germany
  2. Facebook is growing fast internationally, also in those two regions.

The question we haven’t answered yet is, who grows faster?

Nevertheless, I would suggest that facebook will win sooner or later just because of their wider international reach ( you need facebook for your exchange student friends in the US/England. ) and their massive expansion strategy with facebook apps. They understand what’s important and what’s viral, execute fast and deliver results.

Inside Facebook - The next Techcrunch?

Tuesday, June 26th, 2007

While researching on the facebook platform, I stumbled upon this blog: http://www.insidefacebook.com/

With the rising hype around the facebook platform and Mark Zuckerberg showing no modesty by saying they want to build a platform to the internet as was the Microsoft Windows OS to computing, Applications on Facebook gain an increasing momentum.

The most used application Top friends has - at time of this writing - 6,908,623 users growing a few hundred users every minute.

The increasing traction that facebook applications receive, has already let to two acquisitions.

If Facebook becomes the next Microsoft, then inside facebook has a pole position for being the next Techcrunch