First listings from China

First Chinese Listing on edgeio

The first edgeio listing from China was posted today.

Here is a link to it:

First edgeio listing from China

Original Post

Pretty soon there were several more:


Anima Causa “适形椅”

This is really exciting for us. edgeio was built to provide for bottoms up publishing from every town and city on the earth. To have achieved 12,000 listings in 10 days, and to have listings from 1600 cities feels great. To see Chinese listings is awesome.

I also posted a fuller look at “instant listings” on my personal blog.

edgeio product plans discussed

edgeio has a number of product releases due to happen over the next 2 weeks or so. As we discussed in a couple of places, edgeio was launched with a set of features specifically designed for bloggers who are familiar with tagging, and with ping servers. Some have said (correctly) that this is too narrow an audience for a listings network. We think that the amount of discussion about edgeio has justified our early focus on this audience, but we are almost ready to roll out features for bloggers who are less familiar with the technology, and also for non-bloggers. CrunchNotes points to a podcast where Brian Oberkirck interviews Mike Arrington and they discuss some of these plans. They also discuss spam control. The podcast is here.

Feelings about edgeio expressed…

There’s been quite a discussion about edgeio over the last few days since we launched, with lots of great posts on both sides of the aisle:

The Good:

Jeremy Zawodny writes “I really, really, really believe that few companies have begun to grasp how this new reality changes the landscape they’re used to controlling. I saw Edgeio as one of the first companies to get this.

Jeff Jarvis says “This is just a start but it is a proof of concept of a new world. I’ve been waiting for someone to do this.”

The Bad:

Joe Hunkins thinks edgeio will ultimately fail. “So how can this fail? Easy. People don’t see the small fees at EBAY as a barrier to listing. It’s the technology that is the barrier and unless Edgeio can build a MUCH better than current site that consolidates *existing* listings into a free format I don’t see this lasting more than a year or so. I actually hope I’m wrong, because Mashups like Edgeio are a nice innovative way to restructure the web.”

In a beautifully written piece, Nick Carr says “Edgeio, the much-hyped Web 2.0 tag-sale site, has only been live for a few hours, but it’s already wearing a corpselike look.” He also calls TechCrunch a “Web 2.0 brothel”.

And finally, Techdirt says “The concept is interesting, and it could have some potential over time if a big enough community can be built up and additional services/features are added. However, initially… what problem is it solving?”

The Just Plain Cool:

Dan Farber has a terrific idea: Create a Mashup of Ether and Edgeio. Ether provides the infrastructure to allow people to charge for their phone time, Edgeio provides the promotion. Great idea. “Here’s the mashup: post listings for services delivered over the phone on your blog, Edgeio aggregates them. On blog pages and Edgeio listing pages, Ether’s phone service and pay-per-call time billing service is embedded. More frictionless commerce…”

While we love praise, we also recognize the value in criticism and appreciate the time people are taking to write their thoughts down.

One issue that is brought up a lot is around spam. We’ve created an open system to aggregate edge content and that creates certain…incentives…for people to spam the edgeio service. We think we can control the problem, although we understand it will be a constant battle.

Another issue is whether edgeio will be usable by people who don’t understand RSS, tagging and other blogging-centric protocols. Yes, we agree. We are purposefully reaching out right now to people who do understand what these things are, and will be releasing new tools and products in the next month to help those that don’t want to deal with these protocols to still have a rich interaction with edgeio.

Matt Kaufman, who is Director of Product at edgeio, discusses both issues in detail here.

Where do we go from here?

About a year ago, Keith and Mike introduced me to the idea building a classified listings system around content generated by edge publishers. I had worked with Mike and Keith at RealNames and was intrigued by the idea of giving individuals and businesses the opportunity to list content using their own websites rather than ceding control to a centralized service. So, we began working on edgeio and my job became taking the initial ideas and turning them into concrete plans for a service. Since those initial conversations, we have put a lot of work into building the first release and crafting plans for the future.

In-between chasing down the inevitable bugs following a 1.0 release, I’ve read a lot of great posts about edgeio and it seems that most of them have to do with two key questions.

• How will edgeio handle spam?
• Is edgeio only for bloggers?

Spam is a very real issue that we have been thinking about since day one and our approach to spam is twofold. First, we want to leverage the edgeio community as much as possible to identify posts and publishers that are likely to be spam or otherwise inappropriate. We have seen this work well in other environments and hope we can create the same sense of community in edgeio. To facilitate this, expect to see more in the area of reputation including authentication of publisher’s identity, commenting on publishers and posts, and automated removal of suspect items from anonymous users.

Communities alone, however, cannot stop spam so our second approach to spam is more heavy handed. We intend to leverage filters similar to the Akismet approach, implicit white lists comprised of authenticated edgeio members, and blacklists to handle publishers who continuously abuse the system. We do not claim to have a bullet proof system and there will certainly be issues with spam in our future. We can only promise that we are continuously monitoring the data and doing our best to adapt to the influx of data.

The initial release of edgeio is obviously tailored to publishers who are familiar with the ins and outs of tagging and ping servers. After writing the FAQ, I realize that publishing content is not necessarily for the novice; however, we wanted to give publishers full control over their listings. So, going forward we are committed to extending the concept of using tags and other inline markup to control every facet of how an item is rendered and distributed through the edgeio network. With the exception of claiming your weblog, visiting edgeio will be an option for edge publishers, not a requirement.

At edgeio we do realize, however, that not everyone is familiar with tagging and ping servers. For this reason, in the coming weeks we will introduce tools that allow publishers to add their content to edgeio without anything more than an RSS / ATOM feed from their website. You will have to come to edgeio to make this happen, but we promise the process will be simple and pitfall free.

Sometime later, edgeio will introduce tools for publishers who do not have their own RSS / ATOM enabled website. This way, we will offer a range of solutions meeting the needs of everyone from experienced publishers to people without their own website. It will take some time to get there, but watch for updates on a regular basis. The edgeio team believes in rapid iterations that take into account customer feedback.

If you have comments about the design, missing features, etc. feel free to comment here or contact us at feedback@edgeio.com. As the volume of comments increases, you may find that we direct you back to this blog for more lengthy answers to common questions.

edgeio has gone live

Just a heads up to those of you who have been helping us during the preview phase of edgeio.

Tonight (Sunday 26 Febrary 2006) at midnight Pacific time we removed the password from edgeio and it is available, worldwide, for all users.

Om Malik was the first to post about this.

If you were part of the preview, many thanks for your help. No doubt we will learn a lot more as the publisher and user numbers grow. We’re all as grateful to you as we could be. Oh, and we are as excited as hell :-).

Mike is in the air on his way back from vacation. Nice big surprise when he lands 🙂

We’ll post more later.

Edgeio is Hiring!

Great feedback on edgeio is pouring in and we are doing our best to build a team that can quickly react to your suggestions and the inevitable bugs :). That means growing the team and our next priority hire is an experienced systems engineer who can help us scale the service. If you, or someone you know, are a good fit please send your resume to jobs@edgeio.com.

Linux / MySQL Systems Engineer and Administrator

Required Skills:

• 3-4 years experience running large scale web and database applications
• Thorough understanding of how to architect a system for scalability and reliability
• Experience administering and deploying redundant MySQL databases
• Understanding of basic network security principles
• Ability to build and operate real-time application monitoring tools

Job Description:

• Define policies and procedures for deploying software to the production environment
• Update and deploy software to production and development environments
• Implement monitoring system to guarantee uptime and performance requirements
• Troubleshoot and rapidly resolve issues in the production system

More Bloggers Discuss Edgeio

There’s more discussion on edgeio today, including great posts by Phil Sim, Pete Cashmore, David Parmet, Alex Moskalyuk, Michael Wales, TheLastPodcast, Russel Reno, SuperAff, Brian Oberkirtch, LikeItMatters and Luca Mearelli.

Thank you to everyone who’s taken the time to say what they like and dislike about our idea. Either way, we appreciate your time and feedback.

There are three key things people bring up when questioning whether or not edgeio will be successful.

1. Will bloggers want to post classified listings on blogs?

2. How to deal with the inevitable spam onslaught?

3. Assuming 1 & 2 are overcome, what stops everyone from entering the market?

I’ll be posting our thoughts on these questions as we march toward launch.

Some Early Buzz on Edgeio

Rob Hof had a look at edgeio earlier this week at a SDForum Search SIG event in Silicon Valley, and wrote a bit about it on his Business Week blog:

Clearly, Edgeio has more to tell, but what Teare did tell during the startup’s first-ever public demo no doubt will get the attention of current powerhouses in Web commerce and classified ads, such as eBay and Craigslist.

Bear with me, since the demo was pretty quick and I’m not sure I caught everything exactly right. But essentially, Edgeio is doing just what its tagline says: gathering “listings from the edge”–classified-ad listings in blogs, and even online product content in newspapers and Web stores, and creating a new metasite that organizes those items for potential buyers.

The way Edgeio works is that bloggers would post items they want to sell right on their blogs, tagging them with the word “listing” (and eventually other descriptive tags). Then, Edgeio will pluck them as it constantly crawls millions of blogs looking for the “listing” tag and index them on Edgeio.com.

Thanks Rob!

Other bloggers picked up on the thread and wrote as well. Lots of the comments were positive, but some pointed out some of the challenges we are going to face (more on that in future posts). Here are a few (please leave a comment if we missed you and I will add a link):

Stowe Boyd

Dave Winer

Mathew Ingram

Robert Scoble

Frank Gruber

Dan Farber

Syndicator Blog

Tracy Sheridan

Kurt Schrader

Scott Lake

Marc Meyer

The Beginning

Edgeio is all about edge publishing. It is our belief that services that try to restrict how users create and consume information cannot ultimately be successful. Users own their data, and services exist not to silo that data, but rather to add value to it. That is what Edgeio is setting out to do.

We will be focusing on classified listings of any type to start.

Blogs and other websites syndicating their content through RSS are an ideal place to post classified listings. Not only is the publisher in complete control of the content (what to include, when to change or update it, when to delete it and how to synidcate it for other services), but the website itself gives valuable context to readers of the listing. Unlike anonymous listing services, listings on blogs controlled by the publisher give readers an idea of who they are dealing with. That additional information is an important factor for readers in deciding if and how to interact with the publisher.

Very few blogs publish classified listings today. Most blogs have a relatively small group of readers, including friends and family, and are not able to effectively reach the larger audience needed to effectively market their listings.

That’s where edgeio comes in. We will find edge published listings if they include the category or tag “listing” within the post or content. The listings will be indexed through the blog’s RSS feed and aggregated with other “listings from the edge”. Users of the edgeio service will be able to search through listings and communicate directly with the publisher. Edgeio will also make aggregated listings available though a web service to other Internet sites and services that would like to include edge listings.

We will never attempt to silo or control publisher data, or restrict the ways that listings can be used by others.

The founders and early employees of edgeio include Keith Teare, Michael Arrington, Vidar Hokstadt, Matt Kaufman and Fred Oliveira.

Edgeio will be launching in the next few weeks. If you would like to be notified of the preview launch, please submit your email address on the main edgeio website.