A few short weeks from now – in early February – edgeio will launch a comprehensive commerce platform for your blog or web site. We are calling it edgeio marketplaces. At the same time, we will be launching a beta of the first product built on that platform – Listings Boards.
marketplaces – What it is?
In a nutshell, edgeio marketplaces provides a number of services that can be used to create commerce applications. The key services are:
1. Content creation services.
2. Content management services.
3. Content distribution and sharing services.
4. Marketplace association and collaboration services.
5. Billing and revenue sharing services.
6. Reporting services.
This list may be a little abstract to conjure up the full implications of the platform but together they make it possible to implement certain forms of commerce in the webosphere/blogosphere, for free, and with ease, that were previously expensive and difficult.
Our first marketplaces product
Built on the marketplaces platform, Listings Boards is going to be its first product offering. We have seen a proliferation of jobs boards emerge on the web during the past six months. TechCrunch has one, GigaOm has one, ReadWriteWeb has one as do many others. Speaking with those who built these boards it was clear that it took great effort on the part of the publishers to pull the required resources together to launch those boards, sometimes their own effort and sometimes that of 3rd parties. It also costs significant amounts of money to build and maintain them. Listings Boards will be an easy and free way for any web site owner to create a listings board on their site, and if they wish, to make money by taking payment in return for accepting listings onto their board.
Listings Boards – Key Features
Here are the key features of our Listings Board product:
1. Create any type of listings board (homes for sale; jobs offered; cars for sale; general classifieds; events; indeed anything).
2. Decide whether to charge a fee to list on your board and how much.
3. Design the look and feel of your board.
4. Decide whether to allow affiliates to sell into your board, and if so how much (%) to share with them of the fees collected.
5. Decide whether to add other boards to your sales interface, allowing a network of similar boards to be formed. Listings Board owners can freely associate with each other to create networks, and can share revenues between themselves. edgeio keeps track of who owes whom what, and makes the relevant payments.
6. All boards will be able to create widgets to place on their home page or elsewhere. They will also be able to distribute those widgets amongst friends.
7. All listings will automatically be placed on the boards requested and will also be submitted to the edgeio.com search engine for free.
Why start with listings boards?
Two reasons, one tactical one strategic.
The tactical reason is that these boards are appearing spontaneously and are doing quite well as they address the needs of the lister to target a specific audience that reads a vertical, sometimes even niche publication. Not unlike the magazine world, where there are now many titles focused on ever more specific content, the web has produced its own targeted content as writers emerge focusing on areas of intense interest to themselves and their readers. By making it easy for these writer/publishers to create listings boards, we help give them the tools that previously only the big players could afford. There is clearly a ready audience for the service.
The strategic reason is all about what I described in an earlier post as the â€œemergence of the foothillsâ€œ. There are now thousands of publishers around the world who have built significant audiences for their writing, podcasting or vlogging. An increasing proportion of internet traffic is visiting these foothill publishers. Yet these publishers – who are highly competent and fiercely independent – are often forced to rely on generic advertising platforms for revenue. The more farsighted have gone beyond that and have taken control of their advertising space, and with great impact on their revenues. We want to help generalize that, and make it possible for all publishers to do the same. The marketplaces platform is where edgeio will develop products and services to do just that. To reinforce the control over revenues that leading publishers are now seeking. By giving them the tools to allow their imaginations and business instincts to be realized.
February is not very far away. And edgeio has traditionally not pre-announced products. However in this case we need beta partners for our listings boards product and we want to introduce the marketplaces platform to an external audience. So we are pre-announcing the platform, and the product today in order to get the first publishers to help us test and stabilize the system, seed the networks, and provide feedback prior to launch. We will maintain the beta status of the product as long as we need to after launch also. You can go to http://marketplaces.edgeio.com and sign up for the beta today. John Dowd, product manager of marketplaces, will be in touch asap.
What is our model for this business?
We are providing the marketplaces platform and the listings board products for free. We do not intend to charge startup or hosting fees. So our model will be to take 20% of all money that flows through each product as our fee. In the case of listings boards, if the board is a free board, and makes no revenue, it will be free. If it is a paid listings board, we will take 20%.
Iâ€™m pretty excited to be able to follow up the â€œMountains and Foothillsâ€ post from last year with something practical we are doing to help the new and growing publishers develop unique models for making revenue from their projects. Listings Boards is just the beginning of several social commerce products we have planned this year. Let us know what you think.