Archive for the ‘Blogging’ Category

Zaptxt now sends alerts to Skype too

March 3, 2007

All feeds are not created equal. For the better ones you use Zaptxt and for the others you fall back to regular desktop or web readers. Zaptxt has been delivering posts and comments RSS in form of IM alerts to GTalk, MSN, Gizmo, LJ Talk, and Jabber supported clients for the past year. To add to this comprehensive delivery engine Zaptxt has also begun delivering RSS alerts to another very large community of users – Skype, a fast moving community who would just love this integration.

There are few other startups in this space but as compared to them Zaptxt’s strength lies in its ability to combine feeds and monitor the set of feeds for keywords or phrases. Also users who are just starting out in the RSS world and want to stick to their regular tools like IM and mobile phones, they can use the tag and search topic clouds for feed discovery and start getting alert for those feeds through instant messages and SMSes. Last year Zaptxt had also launched its publisher program that besides providing the ZapTXT widget for blog owners also provides analytics service. Publishers can get unique aggregated data searches performed on publisher content, delivery mechanisms used (denoting urgency), hit ratios that its users got against keywords, what posts had high comment monitoring. Another metric that you should analyze besides what FeedBurner is giving out.

Anothr(only Skype) and Feedcrier are couple of other services in the same space.

Links:
Zaptxt

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Joyent partners with Corel; Newsgator Desktop launched

February 27, 2007

Joyent has partnered with Corel to provide data backup service for Corel WordPerfect Lightning, a note taking software from Corel. Any user backing up his/her notes from Lightning onto Joyent will get 2 complimentary Joyent Connector accounts and 200MB of storage for free. As always, good and bad news accompanies any new partnership. Bad news – Corel Lightning UI totally sucks. At least I can’t see myself using it. If you compare it to Evernote or Microsoft’s OneNote, the software has lot of catching up to do. Good News – You get to try Joyent Connector for free for the first time. If you haven’t already tried Joyent, the product set includes web-based Mail, Calendar, Contact Management, Bookmarks, and obviously file storage applications.

Newsgator: The Colorado’s coolest startup has launched beta of its new product – Newsgator Desktop. As expected, any feed post you read from Desktop gets synced backed to your Newsgator account and will show up read everywhere including FeedDemon, Windows RSS Platform, and Newsgator Online. In my PoV, the application is targeted at users having maybe 20 or fewer feeds otherwise pop-up notifications loose their significance. Newsgator team does provide controls around this by adding support for choosing feeds for which you want the notifications to be displayed. So, in case you are not already using FD, Desktop can be good alternative to get tuned to RSS. Can we expect personalized push as the next move from Newsgator?

Outside.in – Local news aggregator gets funded

February 27, 2007

Union Square Ventures has invested in a 6 month old startup, Outside.in, a localized media content aggregation startup. Outside.in received $900K as part of the investment. Other investors who participated in the funding round includes Marc Andreessen, John Seely Brown, Esther Dyson, Village Ventures(firm of Tripod founder Bo Peabody), Milestone Venture Partners, and angel investors George Crowley, John Borthwick, and Richard Smith. Pretty long list, huh? As for the founding team of Outside.in, it includes Steven Berlin Johnson, co-creator online magazine FEED and the Webby-Award-winning community site, Plastic.com, and John Geraci who previously worked on Neighbornode, Pheeder and Foundcity.

Idea of Outside.in is to aggregate blogosphere and other media content around your neighborhoods. As an initial push in this direction, Outside.in launched their service today in 63 cities, and 3217 neighborhoods in the U.S. As a user you can bring in stories to Outside.in and associate them with a area. Or as a blog publisher, you can use the FeedBurner “geotag this post” flare to easily get the post tagged, which will than show the number of posts tagged for that location. From a reader perspective you can enter your city, neighborhood, or zip code to start exploring your local community

Craigslist and Topix Forums are some of the sites which has done exceedingly well in fostering localized discussions. But automation of this task to get content from blogosphere is a great idea. Issues can still arise from the incorrect geo-content associations, spam blogs rolling up geo-tagged pharma ads into Outside.in, and more of such types. Would be interesting to watch how Outside.in deals with the challenges of dynamic and expanding world of blogs.

Links:
Outside.in

Adobe MyFeedz drives personalized feeds; Needs more work though

February 23, 2007

Web-based personalize-able feed reader MyFeedz was released under Adobe Labs last week. MyFeedz was around in the market for while before being picked up by Adobe last year in August.

After trying it out for around 30 mins, MyFeedz has got me thinking where exactly it fits into the RSS world. One thing for sure, it is not targeted at power users like me who have 1000+ feeds and need to go through lot of stuff very quickly. What MyFeedz is good at is using community to drive fresh content in case you don’t have plans to build your own feed list or are just starting out. You can startoff with the personalization mode by selecting tags important to you. Next time you load the home page, MyFeedz automatically brings up the top stories from blogosphere related to your tags. Sounds like a good plan, but a lot depends on how good the personalization engine is and which news items ends up at the top. Consider the case for the tag “widget”. Comparing the results at MyFeedz and Google Blog Search, I felt that MyFeedz results struggled in terms of relevancy as compared to Google. Maybe it is due to lesser number of feeds that are aggregated by MyFeedz(51k) or it might be relevancy engine itself. You can still limit the results to your own feeds or sort by date to get the fresh content on the top but for those things you are better off using Google Blog Search.

One of the things that MyFeedz does better is that it detects stories that link or refer to other stories, and which are simply copies of others. This is a major pain with Google Blog Search or Technorati or even in feed readers. Also tagging of articles, and ability to remove irrelevant articles from list work towards building more personalized list. On the whole, being able to get the relevancy formula right to reduce information overload matters the most. TouchstoneLive is another startup located downunder looking to solve this problem.

Links:
MyFeedz

 

Newsgator sells off Marsedit

February 22, 2007

Newsgator has sold its Mac based blog publishing tool Marsedit to Red-sweater Software, a Massachusetts based developer of applications for Macintosh. Brent Simmons, product developer at Newsgator, had been leading the development efforts for NetNewsWire, which is a Mac based feed reader from Newsgator, and Marsedit simultaneously. As NetNewsWire is going through major development activity, Brent wants to stick to supporting only one core product at a time. So out comes the decision from Newsgator to ship off Marsedit’s future development and support work to Daniel Jalkut at Red-sweater. Daniel is a prolific Mac based applications developer and had worked at Apple till 2002 before starting Mac consulting services.

As for future plans, Daniel thinks Marsedit “current functionality is only the tip of the iceberg” and has “some important changes planned from the get-go”. On the whole this is a great news for Mac users but a big-blow for windows users who can forget about Marsedit’s Windows porting and have to stick back with Live Writer, which hasn’t seen any new activity for some time now, or Performancing, which has gone through self inflicted blows to finally get renamed as ScribeFire.

Links:
Marsedit

Vox on mobile; Metro on Google Maps; NetNewsWire V3;

February 20, 2007

Vox/Xanga/LJ on mobile: UK based users of LiveJournal, Xanga, and Vox will be able to access these social networking and blogging services from their mobile phones. This service will be available to Hutchison 3G users which had entered into partnership with Intercasting, which allows mobile networks to aggregate social networking functionality through its Anthem Social Networking Service Gateway (SNS-G). [via]

Google Maps: Google Maps has added support for showing subway stops and building outline for major metropolitan areas including NYC, San Francisco, and London. However these changes have yet to be rolled onto the Google Maps on mobile where it can be better put to use.

NetNewsWire: Newsgators’s NetNewsWire team has launched the pre-beta(>alpha) release of its v3.0 client. The new release for the Mac based feed reader includes interface makeover, full screen mode, Spotlight searching, many other features. Since I am on windows can’t really say where it stands wrt the FeedDemon.

MyBlogLog spam; Fring & MSN get talking; Netvibes gets mobile; Ricall updates

February 9, 2007


MyBlogLog
spam profile spread: Few days back I had read about spam profiles showing up in the MyBlogLog. Today, VC Andrew Luter posted snapshot of spam profiles showing up in the widget on his blog. Looks like the bad-bad spam world has just starting hitting MyBlogLog. Hope they have remedies in place before they are gone like Snap.

 

  Fring does MSN integration: I think this startup is 24-7 on caffeine. Haven’t come across any mVoIP startup doing weekly release cycle like Fring. Coming to today’s release, Fring is now integrated with Microsoft network enabling users to make/receive calls to/from their MSN buddies. Initial hiccups aside, I expect this integration to be humming around fine pretty soon. Personally, I am beginning to hate these 2 years contracts more and more as each feature release comes from Fring, and I find myself stuck with an unsupported BB.


Netvibes
goes mobile: Netvibes has become the first homepage service to get a mobile face. You can now get all your favorite modules right on your mobile WAP browser. Load Netvibes2Go by browsing to http://m.netvibes.com and access all your modules anytime. Modules get loaded left-to-right and top-to-bottom and RSS click-throughs still keep you on Netvibes.

 
Ricall Launches site updates: Ricall, the UK based Benchmark funded music search and licensing company, has launched significant updates to its site. With over 3 million tracks to search from, Ricall now enables direct connection between music buyers (ad agencies/broadcasters/film & TV companies/…..) and music sellers (labels/artists/writers….). Ricall has also made available the advanced music search engine to all registered users. As I have written before, the search engine takes into account 140 attributes to enable search according to Mood, Activity, Demographic, Tempo, Lyric, Instrument, Chart and Sound to come back with perfect usable results.

Judge admonishes FCC attorney: This happened today at the D.C. Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals where FCC was trying to defend Universal Service Fund charge for VoIP companies. According to news report from WSJ, at one point Judge Harry T. Edwards told FCC attorney James Carr- “what you’re saying is nonsense.” Even the VoIP lobbying group was not spared. Get the juicy details at WSJ.

 

Wambo launches Chat-box widget for Blogs and more

February 6, 2007

I have been tracking Wambo for past couple of months and have been impressed with their confidence to carry on in the one of the toughest area to grow- client based Instant Messenger. In case you haven’t heard about Wambo, its IM client can connect you to GTalk, Yahoo, AIM, and MSN networks all in one place for free(unlike Trillian). Wambo has also built a group messaging feature with complete message history that enables to you to carry on discussions whenever you log back into your account. In addition to these features, Wambo claims that its speedbooster technology allows photo and video files transfers at a rate10-100x times faster than any other comparable client.

The new feature released by Wambo today would definitely spread the word around faster for them. Wambo’s new chat-box widget enables people to IM you without you having to add them to your contacts list. You can embed the code in your blog or MySpace or Facebook or use it in your email signature to get chatting anonymously. Since clicking on the widget or link brings up a Wambo chat widow, people on the other don’t have to install Wambo client. As for privacy, you can give out your actual username or use one of the anonymous URL generated by Wambo.

I think Wambo chatbox is a much better option compared to MeeboMe widget which also serves a similar purpose. All the messages at Wambo get delivered to you in the plain old IM message popup way, while at Meebo new messages sometimes go unnoticed or you might unexpectedly get logged off and miss messages.

Lets chat on Wambo!

Links:
Wambo

Hillary’s Ad ball rolling in blogosphere!

January 24, 2007

Hard work done by blogging community is showing great results. Latest news – Hillary Clinton is going in for advertising on some of the top political blogs. Checkout her ads running through BlogAds on Taegan Goddard’s PoliticalWire. Just for comparison, no such ads are running on NYTimes! Cheaper and targeted advertising avenues seem to winning the new media ad-share war.

Links:
Taegan Goddard’s PoliticalWire

Feedblitz Analytics now tracks In-Post links

January 23, 2007

Till now blog publishers could access the stats only for what the users click on the website. Content publishers could either use freebies like Google Analytics or FeedBurner Analytics or CrazyEgg, to get stats for their blogs for cheap, or get additional stats for RSS feeds from FeedBurner. However detailed stats of click-throughs from RSS readers or RSS-Email newsletters were not available. Not anymore. With the launch of “Automatic In-Post Link Tracking” feature by Feedblitz, publishers should be able to get insight into this very important missing metric for their newsletters. In case you don’t know about Feedblitz, it is a Boston, Massachusetts based startup that converts Blog/RSS feed to email based newsletters.

Once publishers enable the link tracking feature from their Feedblitz Syndication Setup menu, the service will automatically start tracking user clicks on internal links and add it to your link tracking database. If as a publisher you are interested in the same link occurring across multiple posts, Feedblitz will aggregate all the click-throughs for that link. Stats provided as part of this service will vary according to the plan you are subscribed for. Standard users will have access to aggregate scores while premium users can drill down and see which user clicked on a particular link. Definitely a great feature that can tilt the balance in case you considering one of premium plans at Feedblitz.

Links:
Feedblitz