Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rabble Email

We sent out our first newsletter today to people who signed up on our web and wap site. You can take a look here.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Cyworld US Launching Next Week?

I have been receiving a number of hits to my blog with people searching for Cyworld US. A quick review of the site I mentioned before reveals the following on the about us page. If this is right Cyworld US is coming on April 2. This is terribly close to April fools day so I could be wrong, but I didn't make the site, they did. :-)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Second Life Thoughts

Since SXSW, I have spent a decent chunk of time trying to grok Second Life. If it weren't for Eric, I am not sure I would have spent the time I have so far and therefore wouldn't have come to the understanding that I now have.

When I first signed up for Second Life my initial reactions were as follows:

1. The registration was way too long and detailed.
2. They want my cell phone number? What are you kidding? Why would I want to give you that?
3. It's a downloadable? No, I don't trust downloadable's anymore. Is Wild Tangent hidden in there like AIM or any of the other scary things that people like to payload in their software these days.
4. This is so UNBELIEVABLY laggy.

I was underwhelmed until I caught up with Eric at SXSW. After hearing him go on at length about how cool it was I was committed to giving it another try. I also sat in on the Linden Labs panel at SXSW that was interesting but very un-attended from my perspective given the current hype quotient.

After SXSW Eric gave me some guidance, showed me his island, etc. and I began to have the Aha moments that I was missing. I quickly found myself very excited by the potential of what is contained within the platform and structure of Second Life. I think I was/am most impressed by the blending of reality and virtual world. I found myself watching video clips of things that I could easily see on the web but had never bothered to but because it was in Second Life I was glued to it. You could quickly see the inter-relation of RSS, podcasting, videoblogging etc.

Simply put, I am blown away by Second Life. It is an amazing framework for the blending of cyber and real that was contained within Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash. It is the Metaverse. There is an amazing kernel of something profound and powerful that clearly has big impact potential. I am not sure that a wandering user will just happen in and get in the groove without the mentorship of a more seasoned user like Eric. But if someone is willing to take the time and come up to speed, it is something that you become a disciple of. I found myself talking excitedly about it to some of the super geeks who work with me/hang out with us.

The down side is that it is a time sink, which is something that I don't have much of currently. Back in my high school days of Dungeon Masterdom, I would have dropped everything and would have become a Second Life addict. Alas that is not in the cards for me. Maybe one of these nights when everyone else is asleep I can start to put the pieces in place to begin building my underwater house. Maybe. I signed up for a year so there will certainly be at the minimum some very fascinated lurking for months to come. It will be interesting to watch it unfold.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Rabble on MetroPCS

Today we announced the availability of Rabble on MetroPCS in a press release here.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Quien es mas macho? Om Malik or Brad Fitzpatrick?

The week before last I received a Plaxo email about John Chaffee that led to this post that was picked up by a number of people, most prominently at first by Om Malik. Being the C-list blogger that I am, I saw an incredible surge in traffic which is illustrated on the graphic on the left. I don't recall the exact number but I think I must have made at least $.50 in Google Ad Words that day.

In addition to pick up by Om, there were links from Moconews and a number of other sites. It really was quite impressive for me to watch given that my normal daily traffic is 50-100 visitors a day.

What I didn't expect was the second spike you see on this chart. Sometime on Monday Brad Fitzpatrick, the founder of Live Journal linked to the post and up went the traffic again. If I were to factor out the extra pick up from Moco and others, Brad stood toe to toe with Om Malik. I personally have to say that this was not really a surprise to me, but when you think about it a bit, it is sort of amazing. These two subgroups of readers have very little overlap from what I can tell but have relatively comparable audiences in terms of size. The difference to me is that Brad's audience is spread throughout the country where Om's is more concentrated in urban areas that have strong technology links.

This all sort of takes me back to a post I wrote here about the lack of mobile coverage by the Web 2.0 press. A lot of my sentiment is less about the fact that mobile is a ghetto because 30+ years olds don't get texting but that the youth market isn't taken seriously by the technology crowd in general.

Fortunately there are some signs of increased awareness of what's going on. Robert Scoble posted this article about the secrets behind Myspace's success after chatting with the CTO of Myspace. Also Danah Boyd continues to churn out insightful pieces regarding the youth market and social networking in pieces like this one from earlier this week.

It seems to me that the awareness of the scope and size of what the "kids" are doing is starting to sink in. I have heard derisive comments about Live Journal and Xanga not being serious blogging but I think what John and Brad have built are extremely amazing and are truly a cultural phenomena not unlike what we hear that is beyond the Myspace hype and in my opinion is as much or more important than how cool the new version of Word Press is.

So Om, nothing personal, but I'd take a Brad link over yours just about any day. :-)


It's kind of funny that I am going to hang out with Michael today. He happens to work across the street from us but for whatever reeason we dont get to hang out as often as I would like. Prolly that whole startup thing. Anyways he pinged me over the weekend to swing by today to talk about music and stuff so I am looking forward to catching up. I wake up this morning and what do I see but some posts about ajaxWrite. Finally. Back in October I was hanging out with Michael and he showed me the prototype of this. I was blown away. I told him that I thought the other stuff he was working on was cool, but that this was the super revolutionary idea. At least in my opinion. I would recommend that you check it out. I wrote this post using ajaxWrite and it really is super cool.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Scraping, APIs and the monetization of Web 2.0

I realize that this title broke a previous oath not to say Web 2.0 but I couldn't help myself as I think that one of the issues that not enough people have focused on is the light discussion of monetizing Web 2.0 thus far.

Over the weekend, while crawling through my various feeds and readings I came across a couple of things that brought me back to a topic I have been thinking a lot about. First Debi posted an article about people re-purposing the feeds of other bloggers into their own product without their knowledge. Second I came across these guys who claim that they have integration with Myspace. How did I miss THAT story? :-) Both of these things made me think a bit about how content and information flows from web to mobile, web to web, and mobile to mobile.

I don't have much to say about the issue that Debi raises other than I think that the content creators should have a say in what happens to their content. Enough said. By the way the same goes from record labels and artists. :-)

On the second one I had to check out the Myspace integration to understand what was meant by integration. I signed up. During the registration process I was prompted by the opportunity to sign in with my Myspace account (complete with logo etc.) which I didn’t do, but I am left to assume that this then allows me to import my account profile settings into the new application. Ok, that’s what they meant by integration. When we refer to integration we mean that we have a deal with a company or we use open APIs or some other method. I know that in the past there have been questions regarding the legality of screen scraping and technically it is the least effective way to accomplish what you are trying to do. I would suspect that there are certainly some business issues associated with taking that approach (use of logos, how you represent the relationship with said company, copyright etc.) Frankly it’s not my concern as it is not how we choose to integrate with 3rd parties.

So aside from scraping, what is a company to do if they want to cross the mobile to web or web to web divide? Generally you can use the API’s that are open to developers, like the Blogger API in Google’s case or you have to structure some kind of commercial arrangement with a company. As a company you need to be aware of what the policies are that different companies have with respect to APIs. In general, most of the companies that we interact with don’t allow public access to their APIs. This is a good thing in that there is no ambiguity for the path we have to follow. We have to initiate contact and make a convincing business case for why we should be able to establish a bi-directional relationship with those companies. We usually try to do that by sharing money that our subscribers pay to access our community.

On the open API front, you have to realize that whatever you do from an API perspective, that the other party has disclaimed any support and can do whatever they want with respect to changing their API’s etc. We originally implemented our Live Journal integration using XML-RPC and after a brief conversation migrated our implementation over to Atom. Supporting open APIs is a choice that we hope to enable with Rabble as we move down the road and our APIs become more mature. Making our APIs available to 3rd parties and also allowing people to monetize that integration is something that we think is important in the future of mobile.

The problem category I have observed is when you allow access to API’s but preclude commercial use. The most obvious example of that is Flickr. Flickr will let you mash up, mix, create clients and go crazy for non-commercial purposes. Given what I have seen with Shozu and many other companies, I take non-commercial to mean that they aren’t charging customers. We actually do charge customers. All of our customers pay for Rabble. Because of that we went directly to Flickr and have been trying for many months now to get something in place that ranges from simply letting our users use Rabble to post to Flickr, to actually being one of the drop down options on the Flickr website (you have to ask right?).

I will continue to bug the business development guy at Flickr but I think an important question that should be asked is, what are the plans for the Yahoo API business? I am not aware of any commercial deals with any of their companies with respect to commercial use of their APIs. I hope I am wrong but if I am not, we are witnessing the aggregation of a number of businesses that have been touting the “small pieces loosely joined” concept on the one hand while not really fostering the development of businesses that have revenue on the other. Can anyone point me to some deals that exist? Stewart?

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Miscellaneous Rabble Stuff

Did I mention that SXSW was fun? Eric wrote a nice piece on us in his blog here. Debi wrote up a roundup of Mobile Social Media that overviews some of the things going on and included a mention of us here. Finally, Carlo from Mobhappy asks the question of whether or not people who are used to social networking being free will be up for paying on mobile here. Be sure to read the comments as Shawn had a good response. I always find it surprising to hear people who are from mobile who should know better raise the question of free versus paid when discussing the internet vs. mobile. Internet music = free. Music on mobile ala ringtones, a giant business. Wireless infrastructure, unlike all the serious connectivity of the Internet is at least for now a scarce resource when you contemplate what would happen if we were all sharing videos and music on our cell phones. For now at least things passing over carrier/operator networks will come at some cost.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

'LE' Naming Trends for Tech Companies

Ben points to a post by Red Eye VC that suggests that the 'ster' trend in company names seems to have been surpassed by the use of the ending 'le' in company names which is sneakily like Google. Rabble of course ends in 'le'. Although I'd like to say we were way ahead of the curve on this new naming trend, the dirty little secret is that our first choice (which in retrospect was an inferior choice to Rabble) was Rover. I had actually arranged for the purchase of the domain from the owner. After a complete scouring of trademarks we determined that the Rover trademark was going to be a sinkhole of money to establish/defend/create. Several weeks later Shawn had the flash of inspiration that took us down the path of Rabble.

More Danah Boyd Goodness

I want to meet Danah. How do I make that happen? Here is her recent presentation link from Etech. Is anyone else convering communities like this right now?

Two Days In Texas

I woke up this morning in the Driskill slightly dehydrated. I was off schedule a bit yesterday and didn't drink enough water. I have a mellow day today and then I head back to San Diego on an evening flight.

It has been a great conference. I promised Jessica that next year we would come to SXSW and make a vacation out of it.

Our panel yesterday was opposite the Craig Newmark keynote but we still managed to get a pretty decent size audience. I really enjoyed meeting my fellow panelists and got to spend some time with Marc Brown from Buzznet. Surprisingly David Snyder from Opera told me that they had moved their US operations to San Diego, which I think is very cool. San Diego is quietly amassing a lot of great companies big and small.

In the early evening I headed up to north Austin to speak at the Mobile Monday meeting of the Austin chapter. There were a lot of presenters all around LBS. I was especially impressed by what the Bones in Motion guys have done/are doing. The highlight for me though was to get to chat at length with the founder of Mobile Monday who's name currently escapes me. I swore I had his business card. We got to chat earlier in the day a bit and then after the meeting I drove him and a guy from Motricity back to the main part of town.

I caught up with Dave and Dave from Eyespot and Damian from Vmix. We went over to the Lifehacker party and hung out for the duration. I spent a lot of time chatting with Eric Rice about Rabble, who, after lampooning me about having a locked down website, downloaded Rabble and had an aha moment I think. I then spent time lampooning Second Life which thus far has completely escaped me but after a pretty long conversation I think I will give it another go. Eric how do I get to your island?

Somewhere out there is a picture of me in a Rabble shirt with a Mexican wrestling mask on. I love Mexican wrestling. Also the Eyespot link has some videos of me. Gulp.

Dave and I then headed off with the guys from That Petrol Emotion to the party where Charlie Sexton was playing. I lasted about 15 minutes before it was time to crash. A good time was had by all.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Hanging with Eyespot

Got into Austin a little late in the day. Dave Todd and Dave Dudas from Eyespot are here unveiling their product at SXSW. We hit a couple of parties last night before wrapping up an early evening. Check out Eyespot, its pretty cool. Dave Todd is a former co-conspirator on Low Def with me and a number of guys from are involved.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Flying to Texas

Off to SXSW today. Should be a good time. I am carrying a handful of Rabble Tshirts. If you want one drop me an email and we can hang out.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Six Apart Acquires SplashBlog?

I got an email earlier today via Plaxo telling me that John Chaffe from SplashData makers of Splash Blog was the new director of mobile at Six Apart. I thought, hmm, that's curious, I don't recall any news about Splash Blog recently. So I cruised over the the About Us page on Splash Data and noticed that John, who I believe was the CEO isn't on the list. I then clicked on the Splash Blog page and saw this and the mysterious Six Apart logo on the right side. Must be a recent unannounced acquisition by Six Apart.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Rabble On Reuters

Reuters followed up our press release with this article here.

Rabble On Cingular Press Release

We publicly announced the availability of Rabble on Cingular Wireless on this press release here.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cyworld Glimpse

A little bird today told me that you can get to the US version of Cyworld at . That page didn't work. It didn't even let me sign up for the beta. Talk about building suspense. That seemed kind of strange so I looked up the page source and discovered that if you click on this link that you get at least a small glimpse. Hey how do I get a beta account? Somebody?

Rabble in an MSNBC story

Rabble and Shawn were mentioned in an MSNBC story about the growth of moblogs here.

Strange Myspace Link from School Districts

My referals over the last several months have included the following link :

All the sites where they are coming from happen to be school districts. I wonder if it is some kind of filtering mechanism. Anyone else seeing this?

Myspace on the Daily Show

I am a loser because I don't watch the Daily Show. Debi sent me a link to the Myspace Parody on the Daily Show that you can see here. It is hilarious. And I am slightly embarrased to say that I am actually a fan of Emo rock.

Monday, March 06, 2006

My Congressman is going to jail

I happen to live in the district previously represented by Randy "Duke" Cunningham. On Friday he was sentenced to over 8 years in jail. I want to print up a t-shirt that reads:

"My congressman took $2.5 million in bribes, and all he got was 8 1/2 years."

Scoble and Debi on Myspace

There is an interesting conversation between Scoble from Microsoft and Debi/Mobile Jones that you can find here. I would recommend that you take a peek at the comments, which made me chuckle. Myspace has become a marketplace for a big chunk of kids. It's certainly not about the traffic (although they do serve something like 12% of the ads on the Internet.) it's more about it becoming a place where the youth of today hang out. See Dana Boyd.

The conversation in general reminded me of an encounter I had last summer. I walked into the office of the head of a hot indie label that has had a lot of past and current success. He looked up over a stack of CDs and papers and asked me "What's Up?"

I held up my phone and said, "Want to see my toy?"

He said sure. I walked through a quick demo of Rabble and showed him some of the other labels that are live. At then end he said, "I am not really into technology, but that's f'ing cool. Let's do it."

No Powerpoint. No khaki pants and blue shirt. Just an appreciation of what each of us do. I think that the discussion above is saying a lot of the same thing but in a less direct way. Technology is hard and technologists do amazing things to solve technical problems. Convincing a base of youth consumers to adopt your product, that's extremely hard to do as well. The key point with consumers though is to make sure that you are listening. As I said before in this post, I don't think that many in Silicon Valley are listening.

Friday, March 03, 2006


Yesterday someone sent me an email with a business overview and asked me for some feedback. I don't want to say anything about them or their idea as I don't really think I have any valuable perspective on what they are doing. Suffice to say they did one thing that I cringed at. I cant say the word they used but for examples sake lets just say they said that it's like Cat 2.0. Cringe. I know that I have used Mobile 2.0. I know in our company we talk about Phone Call 2.0 and it really means something to us. You can't sneeze without reading, hearing or saying Web 2.0. I think people mean the Read/Write web when they use that phrase, or at least that's what I think about. Mobile 2.0 to us means going beyond the first wave of mobile applications (SMS, MMS, Ringtones etc.)

At any rate, I am going on a 30 day fast from the use of 2.0 in anything I write, say, read or do, unless it is in a sales pitch.

Pandora &

I have had several people ping me about Pandora and . CNN just did a feature on the Next Net 25 or something like that. In there they included and I just don't get it. Pandora is pretty damn cool. I have been using it on and off for the last month and have to say that I have been impressed. I have been creating channels based on some obscure bands, hardcore bands, and bands I am into right now while I am trying to find similar ones. Examples would include Swans, Let's Active, Guadacanal Diary, Wall of Voodoo, Circle Jerks and The Mars Volta. I have heard some complaints that the sample size is fairly small so some more mainstream requests have been a mixed bag for some friends. On some of this more obscure stuff I have to say I have been really pleased.

So far they don't have a bunch of that ".0" stuff but I am sure they will do some cool things with it later. It will be interesting to see where they go with this when they try to make money. is going to require some more time for me because it isn't as easy as Pandora and I am still not sure what I am supposed to do.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

TVT Records on Rabble

TVT Records, home of the Ying Yang Twins, Lil John and the Eastside Boyz, and Pitbull, rolled out on Rabble last week. Rabble users can see up coming show dates, venues and news and pictures from all their bands. Check it out.

Intercasting in Billboard

I haven't subscribed to Billboard for a while. (Sorry)

Anthony Bruno today in the Music and Money section in an article entitled "INTERNET INVESTMENTS ON THE RISE . . . AGAIN" mentioned our company Intercasting. Research analyst Rajeev Chand referenced us as a company with great potential in the mobile blogging space. The quote was,"There is a next wave of applications that are emerging," he says. "We continue to see strong interest in the mobile industry."

That sounds kind of nice. Sorry for the lack of a link. If you are a Billboard subscriber you can pull it up though.