New blog (finally) @ Webalytics.com

August 26, 2008

This was intended as a temporary placeholder, and this is the last post on this blog.

From now on, the official Webalytics blog will be at http://www.webalytics.com/blog/.

Thanks!

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Ning’s Pyrrhic Victory over Widget Laboratory

August 25, 2008

Whether they’re right or wrong, I’m a bit surprised Ning thought throwing WidgetLaboratory off their site was a good business decision… especially if they’re serious about being in the platform-business.

Here’s why:

The 2 main risks in build a business on someone else’s platform are:

  • every platform’s TOS is written in such a way that they can throw off whomever, whenever; and
  • there’s no guarantee of the longterm viability of the platform.

Not much you – as a developer – can do about the platform’s viability, but at least regarding the TOS, the developer usually has 2 potential leverage points in his favor:

  1. the platform wants to attract further development, so it doesn’t want to be seen as having an “itchy trigger finger”;
  2. the developer may get big enough and integrate so thoroughly that removing the developer from the platform would be problematic and cause harm to the platform’s userbase.

But what happened here is that Ning simultaneously destroyed both leverage points for WidgetLaboratories… AND FOR ALL FUTURE DEVELOPERS.

They demonstrated that they DO have an itchy trigger finger and that they ARE willing to throw their biggest developer under a bus, even if it means doing considerable harm to their users.

In this environment, who is going to invest development resources in the post-WL Ning? First of all, you’re going to have small-time developers who have nothing to lose, but who will not contribute anything very meaningful. Secondly, you’re going to have… Ning.

If they want cutting-edge widgets and innovative functionality now, they’re pretty much going to have to do it themselves. And that’s not really why you build a platform in the first place.

Hey social networks, stop sending out emails in other people’s names!

August 18, 2008

Great. I just sent a confidential email to Reunion.com… by mistake.

Now it wasn’t extremely sensitive, but it was private business correspondence between my business partner and myself, and I certainly didn’t intend for it to be read by others.

Here’s how it happened:

Social networks routinely send out updates and invitations from other users. For example, Reunion.com emails you when someone searches for your email address on their site. The incoming email looks like this:

Reunion.com email

Maybe a bit spammy, but no big deal, right? Well here’s the problem: they send the email out in the name of the person who did the search!

In other words, the incoming email’s display name will be “Edward Anderson” or whatever, BUT the reply-to address will actually be something like verify@relay05.reunion.com.

That’s such a bad idea, because the next time you go to send Edward Anderson an email, you start typing E-D-W-… and on many email apps (Outlook, eg) auto-complete will take over and spell out the full name for you.

But guess what? Even though it says “Edward Anderson” in the “To” line, you’re actually going to send that (possibly-confidential) email to verify@relay05.reunion.com now.

I would be very interested to know how many emails they receive that are intended for others. Maybe I’m the only idiot who’s ever done it… but I doubt it.

Top 10 reasons I should be Jason Calacanis’ guest at Techcrunch50

August 16, 2008

I was too late for Jason Calacanis’ previous contest for a free ticket to Techcrunch50 (“Which angel/expert/etc. would you most like to meet at Techcrunch50?“).

Luckily, Jason’s hosting another contest and the criteria this time is the blog post(s) with the best “Top 10 Reasons Why I Should Get a Free Ticket to Techcrunch50“.

I know Jason rewards creativity and hard work, so I’ve decided to combine BOTH contests into one.

Below are the Top 10 reasons I desperately want to go to Techcrunch50… AND the first letter of each word also spells out the people/companies I’d most like to meet at Techcrunch50.

Here Goes:

  1. Twitter Enthusiast & Co-Host Calacanis = Really Useful Networking Contact (Hopefully).
  2. “Mccabe” + Arrington Host Amazing Launch Opportunities!
  3. Online Mavens? Most Aren’t Living In Kentucky!
  4. Ascendant Nerds, Demos Ready… Everyone Else Sitting & Evaluating Noteworthiness.
  5. Skype-Chief’s Opinion Bullish? Lucky Entrepreneur If Zennstrom’s Excitement Resonates!
  6. Geeks Observing Other Geeks’ Latest Efforts!
  7. Mmmm… Yummy! Startup Presentations + A Competitive Environment!
  8. Just One Idea + Investors = Tremendous Opportunity!
  9. Take Wayne! I’ll Twitter The Experience Religiously.
  10. Scoble + Everybody Else?! Seriously, May I Come?

Private Alpha Invites

February 19, 2008

blog_alpha_2.gif

Webalytics.com is almost working, and I’m thrilled at the prospect of actually moving from vaporware to crapware. But that’s where you come in. To take us from crapware to “merely buggy”, we need (private) alpha testers, and are now accepting invitation requests.

If you wish to participate, please write to webalytics at g mail dot you-know-what, and swear that you a) will provide semi-useful feedback, and b) won’t upload screenshots to flickr.

Thanks!