Archive for April, 2007

Web 2.0 Start-Up Roundup

Thursday, April 5th, 2007

I would like to profile a few interesting web 2.0 start-ups I have come across over the past month or so (in no particular order):

ZipLocal (

ZipLocal is a new hyper-local search directory, focused initially on the Greater Toronto Area and Montreal with future plans to expand to 45 metropolitan markets across Canada. The service aims to be a user-powered next-generation local directory that will provide a rich, self-defined experience. Essentially, the site provides directory-based listings, plus rich community-level search. The data itself is being pulled from existing directory databases. Expect new features, such as tagging, to be added in the coming months.

CrispyBlogPosts (

CrispyBlogPosts is essentially a social bookmarking site strictly for blog posts. The site allows you to share, rate and discover the best blog posts on the net. You can also submit a blog post, create a new channel, and view popular content. Kudos for the clean, slick interface.


VBS TV is a new broadband television network (IPTV), creatively directed by Spike Jonze. The site streams free VICE-produced content that is updated daily. The service claims to use an advanced video player technology to optimize the viewing experience. Content covered on the site ranges from heavy domestic and international news, to underground cultural coverage, to music, and more. All content is available on-demand and enabled for sharing and embedding.

AutoRoll (

AutoRoll is a widget that showcases the blogroll of your readers. In essence, it displays links to blogs your readers are visiting the most often. The service traces the number of visits of each unique reader on each blog that has installed AutoRoll. The more often a reader visits a specific blog, the greater his affinity is with this blog. The benefit to the publisher is highly qualified incoming traffic from other blogs, as well as a useful, pertinent blogroll. 

SeekSift (

SeekSift is a simple way to personalize and track syndicated web content. The service only tracks up-to-date information on local events, travel deals, job listings, and your blogs (to name a few). Content can be accessed via an RSS, e-mail, or both. The service is free.

Clipperz (

Clipperz is an easy way to store and manage your passwords and credentials online. But it is more than a password manager. Not only does it simplify the sign-in process across numerous sites by remembering your user names and passwords, but it also protects confidential and private information. The service is free and completely anonymous (no e-mail is required).

When Will Yahoo Achieve a PageRank of 10?

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007

Yahoo logoWhen you think of the top Internet brands, Yahoo is almost certainly one of the first to pop into your mind. After all, this search engine giant has withstood the test of time and prospered. Furthermore, it is ranked #1 in the world by Alexa in terms of traffic. So why hasn’t this web goliath been able to achieve a Google PageRank of 10 yet?

Now, I love conspiracy theories. And although I do not believe this is a conspiracy, let’s explore the possibility that Google is blocking Yahoo from achieving a PageRank 10. What does Google have to gain from this potential move? Perhaps, more credibility as a search engine and the perception of a more useful search tool (based on the number of back-links). Nah, I don’t buy this…

So let’s move on… Why do Macromedia, Adobe, and Real all have PageRank 10, but not Yahoo? I pondered this question for a long time. Then it hit me - plug-ins. A lot of website link to these three giants for plug-in downloads and updates (i.e. Macromedia Flash, Adobe Acrobat, and Real Player). The story behind Google’s PageRank of 10 is also similar. A lot of website publishers embed the Google search tool within their site. For this reason, back-links are extensive. Yahoo is not known for this.

Yahoo needs to create some amazingly revolutionary widget so that everyone embeds it on their site and Yahoo can finally reach this final platform. JUST KIDDING. To be honest, PageRank doesn’t mean a whole lot. It is a subjective number created by Google that many swear by. Others yawn at its presence. My guess is that Yahoo will hit this mark soon enough. Moreover, I don’t think anyone has paid this much attention to such a small thing as I. But that’s just me.

What’s really interesting is the PageRank scale itself. Though most people assume it ranges from 1 to 10, I’ve heard that it may extend beyond the upper limit. However, due to its logarithmic nature, no site has come close to achieving the next level as of yet. But who knows? Maybe Google will get to 11 before Yahoo gets to 10.

Every time I visit the Yahoo homepage, I check my Alexa toolbar. Maybe one day that infamous rectangle will be full of green…

Note: Hopefully my Yahoo links above will push it over the top… unlikely.

Internet Brands as Verbs

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

You know your Internet brand has made it big when:

  • Your user base is in the millions.
  • Revenue (and profits) are not only present, but also quite large.
  • Your company brand name becomes a household VERB.

Who are some companies that have managed to pull off this feat:

  • Google logoGoogle (i.e. Why don’t you just google “doggy raincoats” to find the nearest dealer?)
  • Digg (i.e. I just dugg that article on gorilla mating habits.)
  • Skype (i.e. I’ll skype you after I get back from my yoga class.)

Honourable mention goes out to:

  • Twitter (i.e. I am going to twitter that thought.)
  • MSN (i.e. Just MSN me later when you get home from your banjo lesson.)

As an avid Internet user, I use these terms/brands synonymously. But every once in awhile, I come across someone who doesn’t understand what I am talking about. They are unaware of the brand. This is usually a striking moment for me - perhaps a wake-up call - as I consider these terms as part of my daily lingo.

Though naive and assuming, the ability to incorporate these ‘branded verbs’ into our dialect goes a long way in terms of increased productivity and effectiveness. No further explanations are needed. For example, a large percentage of Internet users use Google or know of the brand. So, to save time and hassle, we say, “Why don’t you google this?” rather than, “Why don’t you go to, type in ‘Asian singing snake’, and hit enter?”.

Likewise, I can tell someone to ‘skype me’, rather than log on to Skype and start a voice conversation.

These Internet-branded speech shortcuts are not likely to be a fad. My guess is that they will continue to pop up as the Internet produces more household names and services. Another thing to keep in mind is that some Internet brands will never become a verb - either because their name is too long, has too many syllables, or is just plain hard to pronounce, OR because they are not known for one specific function or use (i.e. portals).

Interestingly enough, once a brand reaches this ultimate platform of fame, it tries to protect against it. When brands become verbs, most companies try to protect their valuable trademark and brand equity. Allowing your trademarked name to be used as a word not only erodes brand value, but also corporate credibility. This pitfall has occurred to many offline brands over the years including Xerox, Rollerblade, Kleenex, and Band-Aid.  

Essentially, when your brand goes mainstream, people will speak casually about your company. Protective measures must be taken. An eroding brand may be right around the corner. There is a very fine line.

Please be sure to mention any other Internet companies that I may have missed (and I know there are some out there.)