Loic le Meur, Seesmic: Micro-Vlogging, Beyond The Concept

Seesmic

It is undeniable: the booming trends on the Web are micro-blogging and video. Therefore, how can you doubt that a micro-vlogging formula will tear the roof off? Seesmic, the company started by French entrepreneur Loic Le Meur, aims to fill this spot in the online video space.

Seesmic

The idea for Seesmic is fairly simple: It replicates the experience of comment threads common to all blogs: People can post video comments and reply directly to each other. Uploading a video to the Web is a lengthy process, but with Seesmic, it is a click away, which makes video commenting a breeze.

The concept is very novel and still looking to gain significant traction. Everything is done to make this happen though: Beyond a video social network, Seesmic is a video comment technology provider. It offers a freely accessible read/write API (from what I understood), which is already being used by more than a dozen technology partners. If you always wanted your visitors to communicate through video on your site, well now you can enable this. According to Loic Le Meur, the API is a no-brainer.

thwirlThe Seesmic team went a step further in the social media game. In April of last year (2008), the company acquired the Twitter desktop client Thwirl, by far the most popular Twitter app on the market at the time. The team worked hard on the development of this Adobe Air app, and turned it into a real social media companion by enabling posting to Seesmic, Friendfeed (I don’t remember if you could already do this before the acquisition), laconi.ca, identi.ca, and more recently, through a partnership with ping.fm, they added at least twenty other social networks to the list (the dev team is also playing around with the newly released Facebook status API for 2-way communications with the Facebook platform).

I told Loic I would be a more avid user of Seesmic if I could record comments from my phone. He told me that

  1. iPhone/G1 don’t record video yet (good point!), and
  2. they are working on a Thwirl iPhone app.

All of a sudden, it made more sense why Seesmic acquired Thwirl, because at first it wasn’t clear to me why a video company would bother to spend time and money on a Twitter client.

The limit of the Seesmic concept is people’s natural shyness. For example, Seesmic’s most noticeable publishing partner is Techcrunch: I find it very intimidating to drop a video comment on a site that attracts several millions known-to-be-bitchy visitors a month, and I am not the only one. The Seesmic team is well-aware of people’s shyness, and Loic told me they are working on developing more private video environments. I guess that it would be easier for me to leave a video comment to my Facebook friends for example.

Seesmic already secured two rounds of funding ($12 million), which gives the company leeway to explore a few ideas before finding the winning combination.

Facebook Status’ API Cannot Crush Twitter Because They Do Not Compete

So Facebook just announced they were making statuses available through a new API. Allfacebook broke the news with an article titled Facebook Opens Status API, Say Goodbye to Twitter. It is hard to argue that Facebook is not enabling a Twitter-like experience to its users through this API (which was almost already the case before opening up the API). However, there is NO WAY that Facebook opening up statuses means Twitter is dead.

It’s the network!

Facebook provides a well-connected, spam-free social environment. Because friendship approvals are mutual, it generates trust and transparency. Facebook’s social graphs strongly resemble the offline reality.

Twitter is a hyper-connected, self-serve social network. Shrunk messages make room for more voices, profiles are more thematic than personal, and social ties do not have to be mutual.

In other words, I connect with my family and liked acquaintances on Facebook to keep in touch with them. On the other end, I connect with interesting folks on Twitter to share good tips, news or opinions on anything new tech.

Tweeting with my family would not make sense, and sharing what I share on Facebook with my Twitter friends would not make sense either. Even if I can create groups of friends on Facebook (thus create a Twitter group for example), I don’t see how I could make sense out of blending the two social platforms.

The Twitter execs team wouldn’t have rejected Facebook’s purchase offer if all it takes to destroy them is a status API.

RateItAll Launches V3: Consumer Reviews And Beyond

On the Web, reviews are the voices of the consumers. Despite a multi-million dollars advertising campaign, if a product is not well-acclaimed on consumer-opinions Websites, sales will never tear the roof off. It’s the democratic aspect of the Web.

Consumer reviews’ Websites have empowered the consumer in many ways: it catapulted businesses into an era of transparency and attention to customers’ satisfaction. On the other hand, consumer reviews Websites have never truly empowered the reviewers that provide the juice to their Websites: reviews belong to the site’s owners, no internal structure makes it easy for reviewers to meet one another, and no consumer reviews Website opens up its database to third-party developers.

RateItAll launches its V3 version of RateItAll today. RateItAll first launched its service in 1999, and after almost 10 years of community development, the startup got funds to power a fresh new start.

In a few words (in order not to repeat what the video already mentions), V3 has 5 main new components:

  1. A fresh new design.
  2. The site is now a hybrid between Facebook and Delicious, allowing you to follow people, new category items, and keywords. All the items appear on your user’s homepage.
  3. Creating a new review became even simpler and more accessible.
  4. The social gaming dimension that matches users’ tastes together is more prominent with the new design.
  5. A full read/write API is now accessible for third-party developers. Developers can pull any item they wish from the RateItAll’s database, and the rev share model can also transit through the RIA’s programmable infrastructure. Developers can also use the API to power their own custom-built review widgets (even though it’s a little heavy on the javascript so far).

By being innovative, RateItAll gets back in the competition of consumer reviews providers. Other service providers should find an obvious interest in powering their Websites with the RateItAll technology: fully-customizable content, two-way information infrastructure, revenue plan, widgets, and a vibrant community on RateItAll that’s been crunching reviews for the past ten years.

Interview 2.0 – APIs Are In Business – Oren Michels, CEO Of Mashery

mashery

If you have heard of Mashery recently, that was probably because of the Business of APIs Conference that was organized by Mashery. Or maybe you have heard of Mashery when Netflix launched their API back in late September. Or when MTV Networks did 20 days before Netflix.

Mashery is a startup ahead of the curve, one that spotted at an early stage the need for content producers to outsource their business development efforts to third-party developers. Virtually any company can build its own API in-house, but the challenge doesn’t only reside in creating an input/output interface. A successful API has tools that facilitate relationships with developers. A successful API has flexible parameters and detailed metrics on the activities of the programmable interface. A successful API is also one that is in sync with its company’s business model.

Mashery is THE company to go to for such a system infrastructure. From consulting to development, and even partnerships with communities of third-party developers, Mashery has become the one-stop shop for building your API. Oren Michels is the Founder and CEO of the company. Before Mashery, Oren Michels was Vice-President of business development at Feedster, where he negotiated partnerships with AOL, Real Networks and Mitsui, and oversaw the company’s activities in China.

Oren Michels perfectly explains how he got started with Mashery in the video, which must be done loading by now. Thanks for reading, and thank you Oren for taking a few minutes to talk to HyveUp.

A Quick Overview Of APIs Today

API chart pie nov 08

Today, I am meeting Oren Michels, the Founder and CEO of Mashery. Mashery is the leading provider of API management services.

Ebay was the first company to launch an API back in 2001. Since then, the adoption growth has been pretty slow, until social networks like Facebook and Twitter started to play the open data game. The release of the Google Maps API also catapulted a number of new mashup projects.

To prepare the interview with Oren, I have studied Mashery’s background a little bit (the job of a reporter). My researches started with Sexywidget‘s insightful review of last week’s API conference. The blog’s author Lawrence Coburn details the 6 different existing business model that can be applied with an API. A click away from this article, on ZDnet, Dion Hinchcliffe offers a complete understanding of the evolution of APIs, and explains why it has become essential for any web-based company to consider building an API.

new web distribution models

Yet another click away, John Musser of ProgrammableWeb celebrates the 1,000th API of ProgrammableWeb’s API list. Since ProgrammableWeb tracks all those different APIs, it is able to deliver serious metrics on APIs’ usage:

API chart pie nov 08

Finally, the team from Social Web TV brings us this punchy little video (at the top of this article), where John McCrea invites Clay Loveless, Mashery’s chief architect, to participate to the show:

The Web is going Social, and the Social Web is going open, I see Mashery’s fitting in as a logical service layer to that…