Archive for the ‘Web2.0 News’ Category

the iQ Prize – €10,000 for the best business plan for a web app.

admin 13th of March 2009 by admin

IQContent announced the iQ Prize at FOWADublin.

What is it?
It’s €10,000 for the best business plan for a web app.

What’s the catch?
There isn’t one. No equity. No strings. Just support if you need it.

Another great opportunity for web entrepreneurs

Mayo with your OpenCoffee?

conor 11th of February 2009 by conor

Thrilled to hear that they are launching an OpenCoffee Club in Mayo. Chris Kerndter let us know that it’s on February 25th at 11.30am in Castlebar in the Royal Theatre Pub.

OCC is getting stronger every day in Ireland. Our Cork meetup now has more than 20 people turning up every two weeks, peaking at over 30 recently. Around the island we now have:

Skimlinks makes the life of an Affiliate hassle-free

conor 12th of December 2008 by conor

Ciaran Rooney, CTO of Skimbit, has just announced the launch of Skimlinks which makes being an Affiliate far easier than heretofore.

skimlinks-logo

The idea is that Publishers sign up for Skimlinks, and once approved, have access to thousands of merchants across 11 affiliate networks internationally. They just have to add one line of code to their site and then the entire site, including existing content, is enabled.

The Publishers continue to create content and add links to merchants’ products and services as normal. When a user clicks on these links, Skimlinks turns it into its affiliate link equivalent on-the-fly. If the user then buys something from the merchant’s site, the publisher earns a commission.

Skimlinks also offers the publisher a reporting interface that consolidates all their affiliate activity and earnings across all networks, and gives them visibility into to the traffic they are sending to each merchant. The service is currently free to use, and Skimlinks only takes a small cut of the commissions earned by the publisher.

It’s fantastic to see something new in the Affiliate space and even better to see a a solid business model from day 1 with customers like Shiny Media at launch.

Grab em by the Shorts

admin 28th of November 2008 by admin

Short.ie is a free URL shortening service allowing you to truncate long unfriendly web addresses into a short and easy to use URLs, perfect for email, IM, Twitter and Texts.

This isn’t the first URL shortening service but it’s definitely my favourite for one main reason, the data it provides about the URLs I have shortened. When I shorten a URL, I can see how many people have clicked on the links.

Of the many URL shortening services that exist, the majority provide super short URLs but I haven’t seen any that provide numbers on how many people clicked on my links. This can be very handy. You could send out a text or a mail shot and see how many people are clicking on your links.

Or how about shortening your email address? Your email address is probably short enough already but it could be a great way to fool those email harvesting bots trawling your site for your email address.

Short.ie is an open collaboration between Iarfhlaith Kelly, David Coallier and myself. We have been adding new services to it, building out on the original idea. So far, here’s what we’ve got:

  • Regular URL Shortening
  • Custom URL Shortening
  • Click Tracking
  • View All Shortened Links (per user)
  • Content Recommendations
  • An API
  • A Firefox Plugin
  • A bookmarklet for IE and FF.

We’re also working on:

  • Connecting people who link to the same things
  • RSS feeds per registered user
  • Displaying popular links on the homepage
  • Displaying most influential users on the homepage (once we get avatars setup)
  • Improving the content recommendation engine
  • Promoting short.ie any way we can

So far there are over 50 registered users ( Shorties? ) with over 700 URLs shortened and over 5,000 clicks of those URLs! See the chart below for this weeks usage.


We’d love it if you could help spread the word. We’ve got a lot of plans for Short.ie, so if you haven’t already seen it, start shortening some URLs or  follow Short.ie on Twitter.

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Decisions for Heroes a finalist in SeedCamp

conor 15th of September 2008 by conor

Many of us were absolutely gutted when the SeedCamp finalists were announced and there was no sign of Decisions for Heroes (D4H). Anyone who has been following what Robin Blandford has been doing with D4H knows what an amazing idea it is.

According to 11850 It is a collaborative rescue team management tool to record and analyze rescue operations.

It looks like the judges re-considered their decision. Perhaps they realised that the ideas around D4H can be re-used to build many highly valuable logistics-centered systems where the value is in the data.

In any case, that means we now now have an Irish entry in SeedCamp. Well done Robin! Hopefully we’ll have even more Irish finalists next year.

Given the energy and activity around incubation programmes like Genesis and EnterpriseStart, is it time to consider doing a SeedCamp-style programme here specifically for webapps?

Now that’s a launch! Say hello to Twitterfone

conor 6th of May 2008 by conor

Pat Phelan has just announced TwitterFone in the past hour and it’s gone completely insane! 1500 signups in 42 minutes. 72 comments on TechCrunch in the blink of an eye.

What is it? It’s a way of sending messages to the Twitter micro-blogging service by calling a number and speaking. Your message is converted to text and then posted to Twitter. For all those times when you can’t SMS (like when you are driving) or it’s just more convenient to speak.

Not only is it a great application with a stunning design by Sabrina Dent but there are some critical start-up lessons to be learned from the development. A small set of businesses came together to build this in a few weeks for a tiny cost. Cubic Telecom + Dial2Do + Zong + VOX!

Amazing job Pat and well done to all involved in the build and launch!

Re-Use of Public Sector Information

conor 5th of January 2008 by conor

I just spotted this via Andy Mabbett in the UK on the microformats mailing list. The people from Free Our Data say:

Our friends at the National Archives are making an energetic start to the new year, with a series of events to sound out what re-users of public sector information want from the custodians of our digital crown jewels

The National Archive folks say:

“The event follows the decision to launch a web-based channel as recommended by the Power of Information report that will “improve the Government’s responsiveness to demands for public sector information”

I wrote about this topic before.

When are we going to catch up in Ireland?

BN Editors Now

conor 23rd of December 2007 by conor

Martyn Davies who wrote for Blognation UK has posted a list of the current blogs of all the ex-Blognation editors. I encourage you to subscribe to them. Obviously the Irish one is here!

OpenID: Emerging from Web 2.0

admin 7th of November 2007 by admin

At the Web 2.0 Expo in Berlin today, David Recordon from Six Apart gave an energetic talk entitled “OpenID: Emerging from Web 2.0″. David is Vice-Chair of the OpenID Foundation, and in this session he gave a comprehensive overview of OpenID, its current use on the internet, and the direction that it might take in the future.

Using his own website as an example, David showed how easy it is to link your identity to your personal home page – just two simple lines of code that will also give you the freedom to switch OpenID providers without changing your ID:

<link rel="openid.server" href="https://pip.verisignlabs.com/server" />
<link rel="openid.delegate" href="https://(username).pip.verisignlabs.com" />

He opted not to get too technical, and did not go into much detail on the OpenID authentication protocol itself, or the cryptography behind it, but focused instead on the functionality and potential implementations. While the technology has been around for a couple of years now, the use of OpenID has seen a surge lately, as companies like AOL and Orange assign an OpenID to all of their users. This is driven by the increased availability of OpenID as a means of authentication in web applications, e.g., Ma.Gnolia and BaseCamp, and by the inclusion of OpenID libraries in modern web frameworks, such as Ruby on Rails. David outlined how the development was influenced by the Linux software philosophy “do one thing and do it well”, thus allowing services and tools to built on top of OpenID, leading to unlimited potential.

The second half of the session was led by Martin Paljak, an Estonian OpenID advocate who developed open.id.ee – a OpenID provider which uses Estonia’s electronic ID scheme to provide a very secure identity on the internet. The advantages of a service like this becomes immediately clear in protecting users’ privacy. A number of recent high profile security breaches on sites has got people thinking about the integrity of their personal details online. In a Web 2.0 world without a central authentication framework such as OpenID, we are doomed to disclose our personal details to any new web app that requests it. Have you ever wondered why some random website is requesting your home address and telephone number? Each time we fill out a form on the web, the integrity of that information is at the mercy of the privacy policy and security of that particular website. OpenID means the only privacy policy that a user must agree to is that of the identity provider, thus decreasing the likelihood of a leak. Martin also pointed out how, in the Estonian case, the system gives protection against identity theft because when an account gets compromised, the government can re-issue a new digital identity.

Most people will agree that the widespread adoption of OpenID can only be a good thing, but it poses the question as to whether or not the concept a URI as a username is too much for ordinary users? I will confess to being mystified by the process at first, and the long list of OpenID providers to choose from was daunting. Regardless, it will be very interesting to see how OpenID develops, and whether or not it becomes the powerful standard that David and Martin envision.

Some quick notes from Web2Expo Berlin

admin 6th of November 2007 by admin

I took some quick notes from a couple of  sessions this morning – keep an eye out on the  Web2Expo site for the slides becoming available.

Business Models for Web 2.0 Companies

Christian Leybold of BV Capital provided a good overview of business models (all advertising) and statistics – sites used as examples during the presentation are BV investment companies)

Opening line that presumably will follow through the presentation – Follow the traffic (and then worry about the money). According to Christian, some 8 of the current top 20 companies in Alexa traffic rankingswere not in it 3 years ago.

Less than 4% of advertising revenues go to the social networks – compared to the traffic these sites get, that’s a pretty small slice. Could virtual items be alternative to ads – incredibly popular example is Cyworld (Korea).

With social networks you cannot afford to spend money in acquiring users, you must have critical mass and you must scale, scale, scale. Gave example of fotolog.com – $12m invested, 12m accounts created so a buck for every single user account. Tiny amount compared to silly times in the late ’90s; clarifies that we don’t confuse investment cost with customer acquisition cost – the latter figure of course is next to zero.

So why is advertising on social networks difficult? You need to know what cusotmer wants NOW! People in social networking mode are not in buying mode; at the same time high repeat users are extremely attractive to advertisers given the profile they are exhibiting.

So how do the leading networks increase ad revenue? Myspace and Facebook are launching today (“Selfserve” and “Pandemic”) solutions for this; very different to google adsense, targeted to usage patterns on the network. While facebook developer platform has been succesful, it is poor in terms of monetization. Summing up – scale audiences are becoming their own ad networks.

What can you do if you are not MySpace and Facebook? Gave example of Glam Media. Buys advertising in bulk from advertisers that fit with the brand. Also Peanut Labs : aggregates “Gen Y” surveys from market research firms. Incredibly, people happy to spend 15 mins filling out survey for a 50 cent reward – people lose track of time when they are online…

Why does Video work online? the fact that you can track via analytics who-watched-what is attractive; video advertising is great for brand awareness; gave all the well known examples of monetisation – pre/psot roll, invideo, promotialal content, sponsorship, search/display advertising, Pay per view. Of course, advertising works best if the content is differentiated and long (no point in a pre-roll on a 1 minute clip). trad. media companies have discovered that it is better to put out popular TV programmes via ad supported model online, rather than using PPV. North of $20 on CPM for video.

Then talked about local advertising – a huge market, but presenting ads in local content skyrockets ad prices (at least 3 times as expense for Adsense local adverts, e.g. restaurant+dublin). So though local advertising is attractive, the cost is prohibitive; local businesses by and large are not familiar with online process and fail to see how they can track and assess how well they are doing. Coupons in local press are where it’s at for them, and what these businesses are familiar with; Getting scale for keywords like “dentist” in local area is very, very tough and very tedious to scale in each market. you could partner with some one elses salesforce, sell some one elses ads, or charge users for premium content. A bit like Angies List -they provide reviews of local businesses, often interviewing people as they leave stores. Then uses a subscription model, often along the way providing coupons from selected businesses; Another provider is Reach Local – they provide a managed service to small businesses for google ads; focus is on easy to understand Ad sucess metrics and reports.

Conclusions – Christian thinks we are on the cusp of seeing ho advertising will REALLY work on social networks. For local online advertising though, it will continue to be difficult.

Designing for a Web of Data Tom Coates of Yahoo is an engaging and energetic speaker and gave a good presentation to a packed audience. My only quibble was that while he had every right to talk about Yahoo product and specifically Flickr, a key theme of his talk – “gather all the data you can” – is probably an easy one to promulgate in the context of online photo storage. Please note that some of this was difficult to capture because some of the messages were contained in the slides (keep an eye on Web2Expo Site/Slideshare) for slides over coming days…

That said – data is the most important thing (echoing Tim O’Reilly here) – the pages are actually less of a big deal in todays web.

Toms 5 key Points of Designing a web for Data

1. You site is not your product

example of twitter – twitterific built around the api; the product is a mechanism for the person to commuicate, but the website is only a tiny part of it; only 10% traffic is generated from it – the rest from the API. this is indication of web data. other examples given pownce, last.fm, etc.

the web of data bleeds into the real world -

- physical object responds to/viduslaised data from the network – eg nabaztag, ambient orb, wattson; all of these are wifi enabled devices sucking data from various sources. also mentioned waeather underground – home weather stations, but also people just entering weather data directly.

2.Play well with others (why it’s good to design for recombination).

Lots of opportunities for your product to do well if you play well with others. why would you open your product?

- drive people to service

- people will pay for them

- as advertising or to put yourself into the ecosystem

- makes your servie more attractive with less central development

The network effects has great potential as a result.

- Examples : map mashups in general – stamen designs do nice stuff.

- talked about Yahoo FireEagle – service about location. currently 50k geotagged location in wikipedia.

3. You can never have too much data (how to make excess manageable).

4. Ways to make a data service

- open up a dataset of your own

- build one with your users

- enhance one dataset with another.

flickr has gone up 500m photos in last 30 days 1.8 billion photos currently. amazing.

capturing metadata

- at production time

- direct analyis of the thing concerned (speech, facial)

- user contributed

- behavioural analysis

5. Hierarchies can not take the weight (from navigation to path finding – from hierarchic to weblike exploration).

Gave examples of redesign of Yahoo UI over the years and Amazon – how you can burrow into the data, coming from different angles;folksonomies and taxonomys can live ok together; top navigation is just a jumping off point; use visual hierarchies to guide user.