Widgets are great but consume bandwidth resources and will typically slow down its hosts. A management system is needed to effectively allocate resource and make the user experience better.
Beyond this, the ideal system should also make the installation of widgets an effortless tasks. Facebook has achieved this but only within its own network. Independent sites and blogs still have to cut down numerous steps before getting the widgets to work.
So, the next question is then what happens with all these unbundled services? What kind of innovative applications can we built that are light-weight, open, and rely on these basic social network 'infrastructure' providers? In the next few posts, I will dig deeper to see what kind of startup opportunities exist when we apply these unbundled social network services to different areas like ecommerce, travel, finance, media et al.
Saw this great post at BuzzMachine. It talked about one push button for users to create distributed reporting in any forms. The example given was a push button to report on how ISPs treated the data packets. I can imagine there are many other ways to exploit this and create interesting applications.
I particularly liked this idea: We could all log out calls to customer service of certain companies — what gets fixed and what doesn’t and how long it takes. How about a Skype widget that allow users to record and publish the response of various call centres? Others users can then listen to these responses and rate the quality of the response. A leaderboard can be created to show the lowest rated company. This could be fun :)
Virtual fashion is gaining ground (LINK). However, virtual fashion is still treated very much like real time fashion: static. There is a lot of potential to make virtual fashion more dynamic by, for example, integrating clothing colours with information feeds such as stock market info, weather et al. Imagine your avatar wearing a piece of virtual colour that alerts you as your portfolio of stock declines in value via changes in colour!
What I am proposing here is a microplatform where users can create dynamic virtual fashion items using simple integration with information feeds. Users will have option in terms of i) The manner which their fashion items can evolve i.e. colours, patterns, size et al ii) The source of information feeds
The platform will be open where users can contribute different manners of evolution as well as different information source.
In a way, this becomes another form of information visualisation in a virtual space.
Redeye VC has a great post on opportunities in news feeds.
(i) Feed aggregation 2.0: collect the thousands of feed emails, and determine which require action, which are important, and provide the user with a level of abstraction that currently is not there
Cross this idea with Bubblegeneration's ideas on dumb vs smart aggregator and I can see how wide the gap for smart startups to exploit
(ii) Streaming personal feeds into companies: The idea here is to use a consumer's offsite activities to enhance a company such as Amazon's recommendation system. The huge opportunity here, as articulated by Redeye is : for the company (or companies) that can turn the data into actionable, useful information.
As methods of communications expands (see post by AVC), it implies a need for a service to assist companies in their outreach. This service needs to ensure that invites or advertisement be optimsied across different messaging formats. The service will also need to collect metrics such as view rates, respond rates, forwarding rates et al to allow companies to evaluate the usefulness of each messaging system.
Buzz Machine had an excellent post. One of the big ideas mentioned by the post is cross site data metrics that allows advertisers to better target their ads. An opportunity is to use an open source approach to create this.
Current widgets are rather static. MyBlogLog is an exception but it has limited functionality beyond showing recent visitors to a site. Can we combine the dynamic quality of MyBlogLog with the content focus of widgets like Last.fm, Visual Bookshelf et al? Imagine a visual bookshelf that dynamic changes the type of books displayed, depending on the readers' reading habits.
Such a system is almost like another form of the Facebook beacon, but one that is not confined within a closed system. For this to work, we need to maybe co-relate the identity systems of different applications. Once we do that, there are many fun things we can do.
One such widget I would want is sort of like a media widget that sits in your blog. There will be different tabs like music, books, events, games, video et al. Depending on the tab that is chosen, the look of the widget will change such as bookshelf for books, a radio for music et al. The content in these widgets will be determine by the visitors' consumption. So, if your recent visitors are fans of rock music, your widget will display rock music.
The system I described is also a form of social advertising where the interaction itself is the advertisement. If the blog readers or owner see something they like on this blog widget and click through to purchase the items, the blog owner gets a cut of the affiliate fees.
Create a feature-as-company where its main product would be to create virtual gifts for social sites. Similar to how HotorNot uses virtual flowers, we can provide such applications for other social networks that do not have either the capabilities or the budget to develop it themselves.
As virtual worlds proliferate like blogs, I see a need for an advertising market where brands can sponsor virtual items. The benefits to the advertisers is that through these virtual items, they can collect preferences of their users, which can then be translated to real world items.
For such a market to work, we need markets where publishers or developers of virtual worlds are willing to open up their virtual item inventory spaces. Currently, all such worlds are closed and it is difficult for any third party to supply services into them. The arrival of 'open source' world making, given tools like what Metaplace is providing, can help to alleviate this problem.
We also need data metrics on interaction or prosumption to tell advertisers about how their virtual goods are being used. What colour is most preferred? What designs are favoured by girls? How many blue colour tshirts are paired with camouflage Bermudas? All these data gives advertisers valuable information on consumer preferences and fully exploits the cheap interaction that is now possible on the net.
Introduce a micro platform that allows advertisers, consumers, brands and website owners to create their own 2d mobile bar code. The more fun we make this platform, the greater the chance of adoption.
These barcodes will form the content which advertisers can tap on. In other words, we can combine the mirco platform with an advertising market that allows advertisers to bid for barcodes of which to place their URLs.
Besides this HUGE market, the set of accompanying services that can be created such as : i) clickable type of services for small businesses ii) efficient frontier type of services i.e. using financial modeling to assist companies to decide on keywords to bid on and the optimal amount to bid--based on countless variables, from past click-through performance to the number of rival bidders, while taking account of constant fluctuations in auction prices et al iii) measurement and analytic services
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