Mapping The Web

October 11, 2006

Web 2.0 Winners: Part 1

Filed under: trends, markets — Aidan @ 1:08 pm

How do you define a winner in the world of web 2.0? By revenues? Traffic? The good it has provided to the world? To be honest and from a personal standpoint, I’m going to have to go with the third one on the list. My view of web 2.0 is an Internet where Craigslist logoprocesses are simplified, user-generated content and participation fuels the surge, and the web’s information is more accessible and useful. That is web 2.0 to me. So for part 1 of this blog post series, I’m am going to outline a company that has re-organized a vast amount of information, made it much easier to navigate, and ALL at no cost to the user. Who am I talking about? None other than Craigslist.

Why do I like Craigslist so much?

  • FREE service
  • No flashy ads or full-blown images
  • Clean interface lay-out
  • Fast page load speeds
  • Extremely simple navigation and hierarchy
  • Brilliant posting system

The list goes on and on - I know for a fact I haven’t covered all the robust features.

Craigslist has essentially taken the historical newspaper classified system to a whole new level on the Internet. Not only is it free, but it is so easy to use and find exactly what you are looking for. Why would anyone want to use the newspaper anymore? The breadth and reach of the web is worldwide, whereas the distribution of a newspaper is much less vast. Once again, another web service benefits from the network effect - the more people that use Craigslist, the more powerful, useful, and valuable it becomes. And the cycle continues as such.

This true success story is made even more powerful by its mission of service and non-corporate culture. Though Craigslist is a for-profit entity, the company does very little to drive revenues and focuses mainly on the user experience. This is the reason you see no ads - ever. The company supports its operations by charging business below-market rates for help wanted ads in San Francisco, New York City and Los Angeles, as well as for broker apartment listings in New York City. Amazing. Click here to see just how effective and inexpensive those ads are.

Craigslist is definitely a web 2.0 winner and has shown the world what a little philanthropic project can turn into with a little luck. Thanks for everything Craig Newmark. You’re a brilliant man and you’ve made the world a better (and more useful) place to live.

October 10, 2006

b5 Alive … And Well

Filed under: blogs, strategy — Aidan @ 10:26 pm

Congrats to the team at b5media.

They recently completed a $2 millions US round of financing headed by Brightspark Ventures and JLA Ventures. The company, headed by Jeremy Wright, Darren Rowse, Duncan Riley, and Shai Coggins have added Rick Segal to the team as chairman.

Both Darren and Duncan are Aussies, while Jeremy is a small town Canadian boy. I’ve had the pleasure of chatting with these three guys and they are top-notch fellows. Shai is also from Australia, but I haven’t had the pleasure of chatting with her yet. Maybe one day. Nonetheless, I wish this Aussie-Canadian quartet all the best.

Hopefully the money can help the company expand their top quality network and allow more bloggers to express their thoughts, insight, and opinions to the world - well, and make some cash while they’re at it. I just think that a blog network such as this is a win-win situation for both sides and you’d be foolish to think otherwise.

b5 media is a blog network by bloggers from around the world, who cover a variety of topics. I strongly suggest everyone check them out. Plus, they’re cool guys. Really.

It’s Official - Google Buys YouTube

Filed under: video, strategy, acquisitions — Aidan @ 1:28 am

Within hours of my previous post, it was official Google bought YouTube. The price tag - $1.65 billion in Google stock. This price was nearly equal to all of Google’s previous acquisitions combined.

Apparently, Yahoo was deep in talks with YouTube as well, right until the bitter end. However, YouTube elected to accept Google’s offer. Chad Hurley, CEO of YouTube, believes that Google has the resources and engineering team to help the video start-up realize its goal of providing the highest quality video experience on the net.

I think it’s a good fit, but I look forward to the upcoming discussions in the blogosphere.

October 9, 2006

GooTube? Or Yougle? Google to buy YouTube?

Filed under: video, strategy, acquisitions — Aidan @ 1:18 pm

Call it what you want to call it, Google is deep in talks to acquire the biggest Internet success story in previous years - YouTube.

Both TechCrunch and Mashable report that an acquisition announcement may come as earlier as today. The blogging community has been swirling with rumours over the past YouTube logofew days and it appears as though those rumours were accurate. This mega-deal would spark much discussion over the upcoming weeks and months. The Internet’s biggest powerhouse buys the net’s most successful/controversial new entrant in recent times? It would be very interesting to watch how Google would handle the copyright issues and whether or not they get sued right from the get-go. In addition, there are also the bandwidth concerns, but I think Google Google logowould have a much better, more cost-effective way of dealing with these.

I think this would be a great move for the YouTube founders. As for Google, if they can deal with the copyright issues in an appropriate manner, then I say go for it. Although I’m not a huge proponent of consolidation on the Internet, I believe that this deal is a good fit for both sides. Good luck to both Google and YouTube, and I look forward to seeing what comes of this deal - should it happen. 

I have a funny feeling that Chad Hurley reads my blog. After all, he would be taking my advice from a few weeks ago ;)

Full coverage from the New York Times here.

October 6, 2006

AJAX - Not a Cleaning Agent

Filed under: AJAX, trends — Aidan @ 11:34 am

Time for a grammar lesson. In the new web, techies are very familiar with the term ‘AJAX’. It is synonymous with web 2.0. However, non-techies may need a short lesson on the topic.

What AJAX isn’t:

  • A Greek heroAJAX logo
  • An automobile
  • A small city in Ontario, Canada
  • A household cleaner
  • A Dutch football club

What AJAX is:

An abbreviated form of the term ‘Asynchronous JAvaScript and XML’. Wikipedia defines AJAX as:

“a web development technique for creating interactive web applications. The intent is to make web pages feel more responsive by exchanging small amounts of data with the server behind the scenes, so that the entire web page does not have to be reloaded each time the user makes a change. This is meant to increase the web page’s interactivity, speed, and usability.”

Simply put, you can drag, click, and perform actions on a page without having to refresh it.

Major PROs of AJAX

  1. Bandwidth utilization
  2. Interactivity

Major CONs of AJAX

  1. Usability
  2. Response-time concerns

 The most widely noted example of an AJAX-based web application is Google Maps. Using this application, you can bring up a particular map, then proceed to drag and zoom without having to refresh the page. Another example is Snipshot, an online photo editing tool. Without having to refresh the page, you can rotate, crop, and adjust colour settings of a particular photo.

One big drawback of AJAX is lack of functionality for advertisers. Because the page does not reload and the user may spend several minutes on that page, a website’s overall number of page views will decrease dramatically with the installation of AJAX. This problem will need to be addressed in the near future, otherwise potential suitors will shy away from its functionality. 

The term itself was coined back in February 2005 by Jesse James Garrett, information architect and founder of Adaptive Path. It appeared in his article AJAX: A New Approach to Web Applications.

If you can successfully add AJAX to your business plan, you will have better chance of roping in VC money. Couple that with tagging and RSS, and it’s a sure thing. God bless buzzwords.

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