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.

Developers and edgeio

A nice thing to see on day one. Developers figuring out cool things to do with edgeio. I spotted this post:

Use ZapTXT with Edgeio
The much anticipated Edgeio launched today. It’s an interesting service that allows anyone to publish content through their site.

The site constantly monitors RSS enabled sites and publishes posts with the “listing” tag. The posts are then organized by tags using the Edgeio taxonomy. The idea for sellers is that they can reach a broader audience without any additional effort. For buyers, the draw is that they can find items for sale regardless of geographic location and without checking multiple sites. According to Edgeio, they currently monitor 28,954,323 websites.

Sound interesting? I think it’s a great idea, but again, I don’t want to have to sift through any more data. This is where ZapTXT comes in. You can enter RSS for any Edgeio category and your keywords and get notified whenever there is a new post. And, of course, with ZapTXT Mobile Widget you’ll have access to your Edgeio alerts from your mobile phone. If Edgeio turns out to be as powerful as the hype says it’s going to be, ZapTXT is the perfect companion to harness all that data.

posted by eduard at 8:53 AM

You can go there directly to download it. It’s here!

I also noticed Jerome’s Keywords can be made to work with edgeio.

As far as developers are concerned there is a ton of information in the edgeio FAQ. A lot of publishers have asked about submitting feeds with geography information in the posts, or with time sensitive information like expiry time. It’s all here.

Finally, some people have asked about using PayPal on edgeio listings. It’s really as easy as including a PayPal “buy now” button on your blog post. When edgeio indexes your post we will include the button in edgeio. Hopefully Google Payments will be able to work in the future also.

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 Invitation Codes

We have started to send invitation codes to people who have requested notification of the service launch on edgeio.com. If you’ve entered your email address, an invitation code will probably be coming soon.

Reviews are starting to come in:

Tom Raftery

AMCP Tech Blog

White African

Update (From Keith Teare)

There are so many posts now that it is pretty hard to list them all. So here are 2 links that should help you scoop up pretty much all of them:

Memeorandum Thread of Jeff Jarvis’ post (Hey Jeff, you forgot about me – Keith 🙂 )
Technorati search on “edgeio”

Feel free to leave a comment or a trackback under here if you have a post.

Dan Farber Talks About Edgeio

ZDNet Editor In Chief Dan Farber saw a demo of edgeio at the Naked Conversations TechCrunch party on Friday night, and wrote some very nice things about the product.

From “TechCrunch leads Silicon Valley Web renaissance“:

Besides the shmoozing, I was given a personal tour of Edgeio, the startup founded by TechCrunch Mike and Keith Teare (at left below). It was written up recently by Rob Hof and has been hyped in the blogosphere, but my tour–led by Matt Kaufman (right), Edgeio product manager, and Vidar Hokstad, director of engineering–of the beta site left me with the impression that they have come up with a simple and elegant twist on the listings/classified business. The service aggregates listings from RSS-based Web pages–post listings on your blog and Edgeio indexes and organizes them on its site.

Edgeio is targeting early adopters out of the gate, bloggers who have some familiarity with ping servers, claiming blogs, RSS and tagging, Kaufman told me. Users who register can also add more metadata to their listings and the company is building tagging plug-ins/widgets for adding more structure (Edgeio will support structured blogging standards as they emerge). Later on Edgeio will provide some tools and Web forms to help less sophisticated users take advantage of the system, Kaufman said. Edgeio doesn’t plan to participate in transactions, Kaufman said, and will generate revenue via contextual ads, listing enhancement (bolding) fees and paid placement (a publisher/lister pays 25 cents to stay at the top of the heap) and auctions in the future as the service ramps up the number of listings.

Keith and Mike plan to launch the service at PC Forum next month. Will Edgeio be one of the Web 2.0 survivors? That’s difficult to say, but at least Edgeio has a simple and clear proposition, which is far more than many of the Web 2.0 companies still fumbling for a definition, differentiation and a business model.

Bonus Link: Check out Tom Raftery’s edgeio review here.

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.