Woomu: Another video sharing site, with some twists

Woomu is a new video sharing site with a couple of interesting twists. The biggest difference between woomu and other video sharing sites such as YouTube is that woomu is simply an aggregator, rather than a video hosting service. While this approach provides relative freedom from pesky copyright troubles like the ones YouTube has faced recently, I’m inclined to think that it may stifle other advantages such as easy sharing.

Like Digg, Newsvine, and other community-driven content sites, woomu also allows users to vote on individual videos, determining which files appear on the homepage of the site. The woomu twist is that besides voting files up to the homepage, users can also vote an individual file down. This two-way-street approach is one that other community-driven sites have stayed away from for the most part, choosing instead to go with a weighted voting system that favors reporting bad links over straight down votes. woomu puts the yea vs. nay on an even keel- but will it work?

woomu logo
Dave McAdam, co-founder of woomu, took some time to answer some questions about the new service via email. In the interview, Dave talks about the difference between woomu and other video sites, how the service fits in with the emerging distributed content model, and what the name means. The entire interview appears after the break.

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edgeio: Classifieds, and a hope for distributed community

You may think the previous post on my blog, in which I listed a propane fireplace for sale, was a little bit strange. In fact, there’s another reason for it besides my desire to sell the fireplace (after all, I’ve already paid to post it for sale elsewhere). The ad was also my first test of the new distributed classifieds service edgeio.

Edgeio

Edgeio is still in beta, so you’ll need a password to check out the site. But without visiting it, you’ll have to trust me when I say that it’s not only a great new web-based classifieds service, it’s also a promosing hope for the future of distributed content and community on the web.

So that’s what makes edgeio so exciting, but what makes it tick? Simple. Instead of the ebay model, where you create a separate account, a separate identity, and sell your listings on their site, in their market, edgeio makes all of the web a market. Rather than posting an ad for sale on edgeio, you write a blog post listing your item, service, or job opening. Tag it with “listing” and other keywords, and edgeio reads your RSS feed and automatically lists your item. In my first test today, my listing- including the image I posted on it- appeared on edgeio within a few minutes.

After it appears, you can enhance your listing with graphics, keywords, by claiming it. The point is that while edgeio is a convenient place to search for and view items in context, the actual item itself is generated from within your own central place on the web.

Behind the simplicity of this difference lurks another tremendous benefit: identity.

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coComment: Free invites available

In case you missed it, the good folks at coComment stopped by my comments section the other day in response to my review of the service. They were kind enough to post three invite codes to beta test their new service. I’m re-publishing them here for all to see.

If you use one of these codes, please leave a comment here so I can update this post when all 3 codes are taken.

Thanks!

coComment invites codes- visit http://cocomment.com to use them:

1848-9898-3693
6373-5033-3319
9201-1893-4171

I know I don’t have to say this, but please consider your fellow human and only take one of these codes if you plan to try the service. Thanks!

coComment wants to help you save and track your comments

coComment is a new service that’s been generating some healthy buzz in blogosphere over the past week. It started with Robert Scoble’s post last Saturday night and continued throughout the week as various bloggers weighed in.

If you haven’t heard, coComment sounds like quite a nifty new service…and it is. It’s a site that will help you keep track of all the comments you leave out there in blog-land.

Thanks to coComment’s Merlin, I was invited to beta test the service.

The idea behind coComment is simple, as as I’ve been commenting more lately, it’s something I was wishing before even before I knew it existed. Here’s the gist: coComment will save and contexualize all of the comments you leave out there on the web in one handy place for you.

The big question many people are wondering is, how do they do it? Well, it’s not fancy, but it does work…for the most part. How it works is you visit a site like normal. You type your comment as normal. Then, when you’ve finished typing- but before you click the ‘publish’ button- you click the coComment bookmark saved in your browser’s bookmarks toolbar. That step tells coComment to scrape the page, read your comment, and store it in your account at coComment’s site.

That’s a bit of a clunky process- I wish it didn’t allow for so much human error- but it’s simple, and it doesn’t require something far uglier like making you visit a separate site to leave comments.

Once your comment is saved, coComment does the rest. My favorite feature so far is the way the coComment site saves not only my comment, but the ones before and after it also, creating a contexual thread for me to view my comment within. If you leave multiple comments at multiple sites, you can already see the value of a site that collects all those streams into once place for you. I’m also a fan of the RSS feed they give me. Any service launching this year that doesn’t give me an RSS feed of my data, if it’s even remotely relevant, is not something I’d consider using. There’s just too much stuff out there to try things that I don’t think could become eventually uselful, and any service not offering RSS is ever going to fall into that category.

From what little testing I’ve done so far, I think the biggest drawback is that currently, coComment only works with a finite set of websites, mostly many of the top blogging platforms (WordPress, MovableType, etc.), along with some other notable non-blog sites such as Flickr and MySpace. This is a clear limitation on the service, as there are countless other places I’d potentially comment. As with its human-generated comment tracking method, here the service needs to expand not by adding more places, but by devising some method to cover any instance where commenting might happen. Not sure if that’s possible or not, but as the web itself gets bloggier, they might want to look into it.

In this early stage, I’m giving coComment a B. It’s getting crowded out there in social software land- I wonder if a service that does something as granular as tracking comments has enough relevancy to stick.

Newsvine invites available

I have twenty invites to give away to check out Newsvine, the new community-organized news site which just opened up to public beta. If you’d like one, just let me know via email at jgc-at-jasonclarke.org.

I’ve been using the site for a few weeks. I’ll post some thoughts here when I get a chance. My quick reaction is, I like it, though its early, and I’m hoping it continues to improve (and expecting it will).

Update: I should be clear that I’m offering these invites to friends and online associates whom I know and trust. That’s a request made by Newsvine on its “invite friends” page, in place, according to their reasoning, to keep the site’s community spam free. So if you know me, and you’d like to try Newsvine, let me know.

WordPress hosted blog service goes public

WordPress.com, the hosted blog service developed by the WordPress team (the gears running this site), is now out of private beta and is public.

I’ve been using the service for about two weeks now (but I’ve only posted to once so far, to my detriment). My reaction is split down the middle, as I stated in my lone post at jasonclarke.wordpress.com:

1. The blogging interface in hosted WordPress is vastly improved, while looking quite similar (and that’s outstanding from a usability standpoint). Especially appreciated are two key features: the “add category” functionality and the “upload/add images” function.

2. Alternately, two major drawbacks made the WordPress hosted service largely undesirable for me. One was the inability to edit your templates- even font faces and sizes were blocked. The other was the inability to map a domain to the service.

Unfortunately, neither of my major cons have been addressed with the WordPress public launch. But I know that offering customziable templates has to be on their horizon; it’s only a matter of time. One major advtange of the service that I failed to mention in my initial review: the comment spam blocking seems to be around 1 million times better than it is for me on my installed version of WordPress.

More on Measure Map: a useless, but fun, feature request

My review of Measure Map generated two comments. One was by Jeffrey Veen, a partner in Adaptive Path, the consulting firm that built and is launching Measure Map. Rather than reply to Jeff’s comment with my own comment (which would bury the conversation down a layer) or reply to him with an email (which would take the conversation of the public eye), I’m going to respond right here in this post.

Jeff writes:

ď[T]here is one feature notably absent from Measure Map that Iíve missed already: the ability to see a list of users browsing your site right now.Ē

Thanks for the great review, Jason. Iím curious about the feature you describe above, however. Could you say more about it? What would you want to see – a list of IP addresses? And what would that information help you do?

Thanks for taking the time to comment, Jeff! To answer the question, first let me throw a caveat: as I said in my review, I’m talking about a pretty non-essential feature here- a bit of fun is the key. But since Measure Map’s big advantage is that its interface is far superior, why not throw in some fun features to further elighten the user, right?

So my answer. If I were to add a “current visitors” metric to Measure Map as it is now, I’d probably place it directly above the four main graphic headers on the account overvie page. Without hogging too much of that important screen space, I’d suggest:

A smallish, wide but not too tall horizontal graphic indicating, in linear fashion, each current user according to how long they’ve been on the site. This graphic, taken from a stats program I’ve used before called LiveStats, shows what I mean:

Below that graphic, It would also be neat to see a list of the top 5-10 users currently browsing the site, with at the least, the user’s hostname and time spent on the site. Above both the graphic and this list would be a big Measure Map-esque heading: “24 users are browsing your site right now.” And then perhaps below that (instead of the standard “That’s x more than the average day.”), something like: “Current users have spent an average of 24 minutes on your site.”

That’s today’s Measure Map minute. Thanks again to Jeff Veen for responding to my initial review.

Some first impressions on Measure Map

Measure Map is a new blog stats (really, analytics) tool developed by usability consulting firm Adaptive Path and currently in private alpha mode for the time being. (Whoah- will alpha become the new beta?)

By entering you email address at the service’s homepage, measuremap.com, you’ll be added to the waiting list to receive an invitation to test out the service. I’ve been lucky enought to receive an invitation, and today I finally opened the email and signed up for the service to track this blog.

My first impressions, after using it for just a few hours, are that it is quite usable and very attractive. Unfortunately, this blog generates such little traffic that I don’t quite have the data set I’d like (or is really necessary) for a proper experimentation. Nonetheless, I can comment on the interface, as sparsely full of data as it is, and what I’ve seen so far I really like.

First, the signup process. Read More