Graphing Social: Aps, widgets and viral: panel moderated by Rafe Needleman

What company and how do you help?

  • Widgetbox helps people discover widgets, write widgets.
  • Clearspring, web syndication service. We’re developer focused. Our offering is allowing you to run your existing widget on facebook.
  • Newsgator: we have widget deliver too, you can place your widget everywhere.  Allows our news providers to deviler massive amount of content

is it too late to get in facebook

  • gator: you can make mistakes now without damaging your brand because everyone is learning
  • box: a good reason to do it now is facebook is making all the competitive  social networks will have to open up as well, so now is a good time to learn for tomorrow
  •  spring: this facebook platform release is part of a much larger phenomenon when others release, you need to be able to take advantage. Learn the lessons now.

rafe: I was hopign folks woudl say hold off because htere is no business there

  • spring: you aren’t going to make or lose a lot of money doign the expiramentation now. For certain key categories of aps, tehre is a first mover advatage. I know O’Reilly extremely long tail, but key verticles have not been captured yet

Rafe: exmaples?

  • spinrg: our friends at rockyou took slidshow to facebook. But personalization is cluttered, but what is the dominate fantasy application? fantasy is one of the largest high engagement
  • gator: to say there is no business there is the wrong way to think aobu tit, rahter it’s a way to reach peole, extend the brand. CNN, CBS, discovery… their is a business there for them, they dont’ have to run an ad the widget is the ad.
  • box: Ap as Ad is a good point, but also for the long tail ap developer we help them get ads and tap into a network they couldn’t get, and there is an opportunity for direct promotion.

Rafe: diff between canabiliation and cross-promotion (web/facebook)

  • gator: people are surrounding themselves with media, and it doens’t matter where they are. facebook as a true application platform, you as a software publisher how do those oppurtunities rpresent themselves, and if facebook si better than microsoft live, then develop on facebook.

Rafe: but the elephant in the room is what will facebook do next?
gator: you cna’t know what google, microsoft or any will do?
Rafe: but you know what Google’s business is
spring: I think there will be some push and pull as facebook learns what their value is. We don’t know if they’ll let us further into the profile…

Audeince: (missed)
Box: I htink that with the ohter platforms, even if facebook is the your main platform you need to be ready for the others
spring: if you are a small business, you have ot choose and if its a sustainable business then it works. But I dont’ say the futures all on facebook. You can’t bet your business on a platform, you have to plan for the dominate platofrm but be ready for change.
rafe: it would be hard ot change platforms
gator: depends on how deeply the graph is embedded in your ap. a widget si not a problem, but greater engagement means deeper ties. when we built one, it took 4 weeks, it had some social features, it had some uptake, then evaluated and decided to scrap to build a new one ot better understand what’s needed. the UI is constrained by space, doesn’t have the same richness. it’s a planning and technical challenge.
spring: I consider myspace and facebook the superpowers, and it’s their responsibility to the developers

Q: what does it take to take a widget, why widgets? (indistinct)
box: widgets are all about self expression, and it has to be easy to get, customize, put on your page.
spring: people tend ot crank everything they have into a widget, make it a banner ad and it doens’t work. for widget has virality make sure the user can customize it. some widgets like sports don’t need it but most all work bettter with customization, even as small as color.
gator: ratings, forwarding is important to virality. Also, widget must be trackable, so you can measure its reach. lastly it has to be visually appealing. text widgets don’t do well.
Rafe recapps: simple, clear, easy, customizable, trackable.

Q: what are standards in tracking/what companies are doing a good job?
gator: all the web anaylics guys are now including widet distribution
box: we do a lot of that, including viral metrics. standards- haven’t seen them yet, but commonality is coming. such as platform orgination,
spring: because we are dev oriented, we measure. placements, virality tracking, instances, interaction. also operational, for people who want to tune real time, you need extra tracking. widgetmarketing and web metrics association working on standards.
gator: we track wher eyou got it, becuase it’s important ot learn the supernodes

Q:widgets distribution companies are a stopgap while no platform emerges
gator: we’re not a stopgap, there won’t be any one platform. my yahoo eclipses facebook in active users. there are going to be many platforms for some time.
box: there are so many major destination points, so there is value as these emerge ways ot reach the users. compatibility, portabilty.
Rafe: one things you can’t port is the social graph
Box: I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens.
Sping: it’s possible but not permitted by TOS, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
gator: it’s really open vs closed. they are in an advatageous position by beign open. they might be willin to go farther.
Q: how do you see TOS changign and evolving with innovation oppurtunities
spring: rock you, slide have built their business on the idea that social aggregators are open. youTube has violating the terms of service every day, myspace users have changed that TOS, as a developer you should push the TOS, respect but push.
gator: I worry TOS can be an excuse, did myspace use TOS to shave off a million in valuation on photobucket?

 
 

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