Value for the Few

Mukund Mohan had a great post hitting on the comment by Jason Calacanis:

“An absolute idiot with 10-20M users can make a ton of money. So, get to tens of millions of users and forget about money.”

Mukund points out that while Linked In has the 10 million users Jason mentions, but it provides very little value to most of the members. I’d even go one further in saying that many of us see it as a total drag.

I get a ton of updates, link requests etc. mainly from people I haven’t worked with in years, knew peripherally, or flat out wouldn’t consider working with ever again. In other words, I have very low grade contacts coming in through LinkedIn, yet I still have to deal with the incoming message traffic. Do I link to this one, etc. Why? Mainly out of fear that at some point I’ll look like a snob if I stop.

The best way to describe the feeling I get is to liken it to the jet fighter pilot from the Korean War. In the rush to the jet age, the techies tried to cram every possible device into the cockpit for him to use. The pilots quickly found that the best thing was go get up in the air and turn most of the blackboxes off, simply because they were a distraction from the main mission – not getting shot out of the sky and ending up digging a flaming crater in the ground.

But apparently Calacanis was really talking about Twitter – the darling of the tech set. Another on of those services that serves as proof of your “I get it” status. I’ve railed on it for over a year: I don’t want everyone in the world following my every move…

The truth may be that I just don’t get it. But the nice thing is that I don’t have to. There are enough means to communicate and to “join the discussion” out there that I’m free to choose the ones that work for me. And I have enough chatter in my life that I don’t need to add to the signal to noise ration by having you send up constant updates on what you’re doing every minute. Granted, I wish you well in it, but I don’t need to know that you’re getting your back waxed, or eating a Knish or any of that.

David Churbuck posted his stats for the past month on Twitter. I can’t help but think that most of the communication going on is marketeer to marketeer – not a whole lot of direct customer contact is going on there.

As Sgt. Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts, M’am.”

(Update: after pounding on Twitter, I decided to actually give it a try. You can see my tweets in the sidebar. I’m mncahill – follow me and I will lead you to banality…welcome to my life…)

Another Post on the NameMedia Launches

Tom Willmot of EdgeDesigns, one of our team lead developers posts on the launches of www.hotcars.com and www.dreamwheels.com last week. He succinctly sums up the niche social networks for those not familiar:

A niche social network is simply a social network aimed squarely at a niche interest, be it wine or geeks. You take the classic social network components: user profiles, friends lists, user messaging, forums and groups; and then you tailor the experience towards your intended niche. Throw in expert articles, regularly updated content and a strong multimedia element and there you have it.

Read it all here.

(Note: I am a senior developer with NameMedia, and worked on these projects)

Launches this week…

I’ve had a couple sites go live this week – first, some niche websites with NameMedia, Hotcars.com and Dreamwheels.com as well as Cats.com (I didn’t work as much on that one, it was in the hands of the talented Matt Busby and David Rodal).  These come on the tails of the launches on March 1 of Biking.com, Cycling.com, Boating.com, Yachting.com and Mommy.com.  I was lucky enough to work with Eugene Bernstein, Tom Willmot, Joe Hoyle, Peter Kuhn and Neema Dhakal on these sites, with designs by Dave Dellovo and Erik Stern.  A tremendous team!

The important thing to note on all of these sites is the application of so many facets of Web 2.0 to niche sites.  These are tightly woven niche communities that include all the things you’d expect, like friends lists, groups, internal messaging, blogs, forums, comments, and so very much more.  But it’s not a cookie cutter approach – we’ve looked at the communities we’re serving and attempted to provide the features that particular group needs.  On Mommy.com, there is an online baby book.  Or on Cats.com, we’ve come up with a means of dealing with the big internet question: how do I tell an expert from a loud mouthed rookie online, since the value of their advice is so vastly different.

On Hotcars.com and Dreamwheels you’ll see a major change to the forums setup.  It’s fully integrated with the rest of the system, and we’ve added features like the ability to link to youtube videos, etc.

There’s a lot more to come here, but for now, I think we’ve made a great start.

Additionally, I was able to launch PowerUpGeneratorService.com which has been on hold for several months (this one is not a NameMedia project).  It has an integrated project/product gallery and a homepage that is rotating between their major service/product offerings.  If you need a generator, no matter the size, PowerUpGeneratorService.com is the place for you!