Archive for November, 2006

Oprius Launches Widgets

Tuesday, November 14th, 2006

DISCLOSURE: I am a consultant for Oprius and helped with the widget strategy. But I’m not getting paid to post this. Nonetheless, they are a bunch of cool guys and I recommend checking out their software. Then again, I’m extremely biased ;)   

Local software firm Oprius has announced the launch of their first web widget. Expect Oprius logomore customizable widgets to come.

This embeddable widget will allow network marketers, bloggers, or anyone with a website to acquire valuable contact information from willing parties. Currently, there is very little available on the web in terms on an embeddable lead generation/capturing tool. Therefore, this widget should be able to provide value and fill a void.

The widget itself contains a group of simple field boxes. They include name, company, contact information, and any additional comments. In addition, some level of aesthetic customization is allowed.

This lead generation tool will serve as a valuable network-building asset for business contacts and potential clients. Once a user has inputted their info, an approval process is initiated in the publisher’s Oprius account. The contact information can then be accepted or deleted.

The process of actually embedding the widget is extremely easy:

  1. Copy a chunk of HTML code
  2. Locate your website’s HTML source
  3. Paste the code in the appropriate area

It’s that simple. Seriously.

To learn more about this embeddable tool, visit Oprius’ web widgets page.


It’s Like… Shopping

Monday, November 13th, 2006

Visual search start-up Riya has just launched a revolutionary new service at logo new offering can only be described as visual search meets shopping. leverages Riya’s core recognition technology and combines it with a shopping experience. The result is not only is it super cool, but also very useful.

Using this image search technology, users can search with text or image queries - a new concept on the web. The algorithm breaks images down using 10,000 variables to find similar images. Pretty amazing stuff.

Search using text, browse by item, or click on a celebrity photo to begin your search. Then, narrow down your choices by using the slide bars to determine your desired color, shape, pattern, and even price. In addition, you can browse by brand, site, type, style, and size. Here is a link to some trendy white shoes I was looking at. I started with a pair of brown dress shoes, then narrowed down my search by color and type.

The search box also provides intelligent results. If you type in ‘men’s casual’, a page full of men’s casual shoes will be returned, and so on.

I strongly suggest everyone try out this service - even if you do not plan on using it.

A couple of interesting notes:

  • Revenue is generated via affiliate programs.
  • Currently, only jewelry, watches, shoes, and clothing are available for purchase. Others items will be added in the future.
  • An image uploader will be launched soon. This will allow users to upload their own images or any web image to find similar results and items.
  • As a promotion, the company is offering free shipping for the first 10,000 customers.

Expect big things from and Riya. Their exceptional recognition technology will pave the way for some cool applications and practical uses. Very rarely does super cool meet super useful, but I think meets this criteria.

Soothing Relief from ReviewMe

Friday, November 10th, 2006

As many readers know, I am a huge hater of PayPerPost. I disagree with their business model in every way, shape, and form. But relief has come - in the form of ReviewMe. This new start-up promises to take care of all of the short-comings of PayperPost. Thank god.

ReviewMe just launched yesterday. The service pays bloggers to post about a company’s ReviewMe logoproduct or service. ReviewMe is backed by recently acquired Text Link Ads. Now let’s cut the crap and get to the point. Why is ReviewMe better than PayPerPost? Three reasons:

  • Most importantly, you MUST provide disclosure with every post. This ensures readers know that the blogger is being paid to post about a certain product or service. Once again, I reiterate that I am okay with being paid to blog, but I think disclosure is absolutely 100% essential.
  • Secondly, PayPerPost offers a single fee per post. This doesn’t make sense whatsoever. If am an A-list blogger with 200,000 visits a day, I’d expect to be paid more for a post than Joe Average with 5 visits a week. ReviewMe uses an algorithm based on stats from Alexa, Technorati, and other sources to determine the price per post on a specific blog. Much more sophisticated and intelligent.
  • Finally, posts do NOT have to be positive. If a blogger reviews a product or service and finds it hard to use or useless altogether, they can post negatively about the good or service without fear of backlash from the company. Once again, this maintains a level of trust and transparency in the blogosphere.

Interesting points to note: A company spokesperson was quoted as saying, ”We are planning on burying PayPerPost.” In addition, the company is giving away $25,000 for bloggers who write about the service (ReviewMe itself).  

I hope that any blogger who signed up for PayPerPost re-establishes their values and switches over to ReviewMe.

And get this, ReviewMe didn’t even pay me to review them. Maybe one day when my power goes out and I’m stuck eating Kraft Dinner in the dark…

AOL in the News, Two-Fold

Thursday, November 9th, 2006

In a seemingly low-key announcement, AOL yesterday acquired news search company AOL logoRelegence. The news search engine is based in New York and focuses on financial news and information.

Exact financial terms of the deals were not disclosed, although reports indicate the deal was somewhere in the range of $55-65 million.

John Battelle’s blog (link above) describes Relegence as follows:

“Relegence, a subscription-based service, aims to deliver relevant information to users’ desktops as soon as it’s published, regardless of the medium used. The notification and delivery technology draws from such sources as local and international newswires, television and cable networks, regulatory filings, Internet bulletin boards and Web sites and is designed to be integrated with internal streaming content.”

Relegence was founded in 1999 and initially funded by 1980’s junk bond king Michael Milken. Customers of the company include large financial institutions such as Merrill-Lynch, Fidelity, and Credit-Suisse, as well as large financial newspapers such as Bloomberg and Reuters.

In my opinion, AOL does not have a very robust financial offering to begin. I think the acquisition is an attempt to improve the experience and add valuable financial data and news into the mix. Yahoo! Finance has done an extremely good job at creating a useful financial portal experience. AOL would like to capture some of this market share. Even Google wanted a piece of Yahoo’s pie when it launched the much-anticipated but disappointing Google Finance.

This latest AOL acquisition doesn’t seem to work for me for one specific reason. Previously, Relegence has been mainly focused on institutional/corporate clients (B2B). AOL is largely a consumer-facing brand (B2C). There is a lack of congruency with this fit. My guess is that AOL will continue to satisfy corporate customers, but move to a more consumer-friendly offering to drive traffic and increase user base.

I have never been a fan of AOL, nor its acquisition strategy. Nearly all take-overs have flopped, gone on to do nothing, or proved to be overvalued business models. Who really uses ICQ or Netscape?

But yet, I have hope. Well, not really.

Congrats to the Relegence team.

Blogging about Blogs and Bloggers

Wednesday, November 8th, 2006

If you’ve read MappingTheWeb for any period of time, you will have noticed that I reference a few individual blogs more than all other sources combined. These include TechCrunch, Mashable, and GigaOM. These A-list blogs are considered among the top web 2.0 blogs on the entire web. They all offer different views, perspectives, and niches. I highly recommend all readers subscribe to these blogs. Though they’re not quite as interesting as MappingTheWeb, they’re definitely full of quality content. Ok, ok… they’re much better… for now.

TechCrunch is the token web 2.0 blog. The blog has more RSS subscribers than any TechCrunch logoother on the net (approximately 136,000 as of this posting). And remember, RSS hasn’t even caught on yet, or gone mainstream. This stat doesn’t count people who simply visit the site on a regular basis or have it bookmarked.

The blog focuses on web 2.0 start-ups and product launches. It has proven to be a very lucrative niche for its creator Michael Arrington. TechCrunch is only a year and a half old, but has already pioneered a new form of PR and publicity on the net. Arrington is considered by many to be the king of the blog world. His combination of smart decision-making and excellent execution, with a touch of luck and good timing, has catapulted nothing to something in a short period of time. Reports claim that the blog makes over $120,000 a month in advertising, a far cry from the meager $0.50 a month most bloggers scrounge from Google AdSense.

Disclosure: MappingTheWeb makes no money. Period. Don’t laugh. I hear you laughing.

Mashable was launched by Pete Cashmore in late 2005. I really love this blog because of its niche. The blog focuses on ’social networking 2.0′. Companies profiled and featured include YouTube, MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and Xanga. I reference the site a lot as I always have opinions and commentary with respect to these social web 2.0 start-ups. I will continue to read the blog regularly and watch it grow in popularity. Already it has blossomed to the mid 2,000’s on Alexa. Very, very respectable for any blog.

Last but not least, we have GigaOM. This blog focuses more on broadband and wireless. It was launched by Om Malik, a former editor at Business 2.0. Though he still writes a periodic column, he quit his main post to pursue his blog ambitions. He raised a round of financing and launched a network of related blogs and sites. I really appreciate the depth and insight of all posts. They are genuinely interesting and informative. Currently, its Alexa rank is hovering around 3,000. Pretty darn good, Om.

Oh… did I mention TechCrunch has an Alexa rank of around 500? Eat your heart out Mike Arrington. Just kidding. Please don’t hate me.