The DealMap Launches, Aggregates "Deals" Atoms

The DealMap logo

I’m late covering the launch of The Dealmap, a site that aggregates local deals from companies like Restaurant.com, Foursquare and others and enable consumers to search for them locally (and see them visually on a map).

dealmap_screenshot_front_page_nyc

Highlights from their release:

  • More than 300,000 local deals aggregated (US and UK, although I did find some in Montreal, Canada)
  • Daily deal alerts (e-mail and Twitter)
  • Gaming elements (badges, leaderboard, etc.)
  • Publicly available APIs for its unique local deal data
  • iPhone application soon to be released

The Dealmap is owned and operated by Center’d Corporation.

What it means: I like this new product because I think it illustrates perfectly the fact that every new business ecosystem creates third party opportunities. In this case, we’re starting to see a profusion of daily deals and rebate/coupon sites. Each of these daily deals is in fact a business model “atom” (read my other posts on atomization). Companies like Groupon have atomized their business models and many others are doing the same thing. Products like The DealMap aggregates these atoms to create a new way of discovering content, while spreading the original business model.

Are Newspapers Outsourcing Core Features to Foursquare?

Megan Garber from the Nieman Journalism Lab explains in details how the Wall Street Journal uses Foursquare to offer geo-localized news:

[The Wall Street Journal] has also been making regular use of the Tips function of Foursquare, which allows users to send short, location based updates — including links — to their followers. The posts range from the food-recommendation stuff that’s a common component of Tips (“@Tournesol: The distinctively French brunches here feature croques madames and monsieurs and steak frites. After dining, check out the Manhattan skyline in Gantry State Park”) to more serious, newsy fare

via Location, location, etc: What does the WSJ’s Foursquare check-in say about the future of location in news? » Nieman Journalism Lab.

What it means: That’s a very nice implementation of geolocalized content within Foursquare. You can see more examples in the article. After reading it, something was bothering me (the same way the Facebook “Like” button bugged me) and I finally figured it out. I left the following comment in the Nieman blog: “what Foursquare is doing, newspapers could do themselves. It’s all about structured data. Most newspaper organizations have structured their content on topics/keywords/subjects but they forgot to structure it on geographical information (places, businesses, points-of-interest, neighborhoods, etc.). As soon as you have this 3D view of your content (vertical + local), you can syndicate it in a multitude of ways.”

We live in a fragmented/atomized Web now. We have atomized content, business models, functionalities, APIs. The smart internet companies are atomizing both content AND features/functionalities.  They become both media companies and technology providers. Their end goal is becoming a media. They use their technology to reach their end goal. That’s a very smart strategy. As a potential partner of these smart internet startups, you need to ask yourself if these functionalities are core business to you or not. If they are, DO NOT OUTSOURCE THEM to another media company! Do partner for content distribution though.

The Web is becoming more and more local. Newspapers should own the expertise of geo-localizing their content, displaying it that way within their mobile apps (or Web site) and then syndicating it to partners like Foursquare. It’s core business.

Facebook Launches Like Button for the Web: Why It Might Not Be For Your Site

This morning at the F8 conference, Facebook announced the launch of a distributed or deportalized “Like” functionality. Techcrunch explains how it works:

The Like button works exactly like it does on Facebook (and other sites like FriendFeed): it allows users to show their approval of any piece of content on these sites with one click. You can also include a little note saying why you like the item. (…) These likes are then transported back to Facebook and integrated into users’ profiles. Notably, if you like a movie on IMDb, it will be pushed into your favorite movies area on your Facebook profile.

I’ve tried it on IMDB, the movie database site, where I “liked” the Peter Sellers’ movie The Party. If you’re my friend on Facebook, you will see on the right-hand side of the page the fact that I “like” the movie and my Facebook avatar. You can click on the Like button to signal you like the movie.

Facebook Like IMDB

The action is then broadcast to the Facebook newsfeed, where your friends can click back and see the information on the IMDB site. Please note that you can’t “like” or “comment” on that activity inside Facebook, only on IMDB.

Activity Stream Facebook Like

The new “Like” button is part of a new suite of social functions available for third party Websites. That suite called Open Graph includes the Facebook login (formerly Facebook connect), social plugins and a toolbar.

What it means: Wow. What a sexy concept. It’s easy to implement, it’s easy for consumers to use and it promotes your site within Facebook. Sounds like it’s a no-brainer. Everyone should implement it, no?

Let’s think about it for a second before moving too fast.

The future of the Web will be all about “structured data” and “social”. It will be about analyzing human interactions and surfacing relevant content in a sea of information/noise. If you want to build value in the future, you need to make sure you’re able to extract the social interaction data and analyze trends. That’s what Facebook is doing. They’ve managed to build a great identity system and are now building a a graph of people’s interest using external content and traffic. Facebook is building the ultimate social utility.

Will you be able to capture trends and surface relevant content if you “outsource” some of your basic social functions to Facebook? I’m not sure. You need to be able to tie social actions to your core structured data. I still believe it’s critical to use the Facebook identity system (log-in and social graph) but be careful of other social plugins. You might be giving away the future of your business to the social network giant. And by the way, you can probably create your own “Like” button that broadcasts to Facebook using the Facebook login…

In the local space, Yelp has just implemented the whole social kit from Facebook but note how they’re using the “like” button: “A use-case that we’re all excited about: perhaps you see a 3-star business and you’re unsure of whether you want to try it. But you see that several of your friends have “liked” it so you give it a shot and it’s really a 4-star business in your book. So now you can write a review telling people how great it is! “. They’re using the Facebook Like button as a backup system to their own rating system. They’re not surrendering their main social functions to Facebook. They understand their core business and are leveraging Facebook’s identity system and social graph. That’s smart. Make sure you’re as smart as Yelp when you start implementing these new tools.

Update: ReadWriteWeb has some concerns has well and write “At first blush, it’s hard from a user’s perspective to find anything to criticize Facebook for in today’s announcements. Those criticisms will no doubt start to form once people wrap their heads around all the particulars. On principal, though, there’s going to be so much more Facebook around the internet that it feels like a real cause for concern. Centralization is a dangerous thing and Facebook is a young company that’s proven willing to break its contract with users in the past”

Marissa Mayer On Recent Google Innovations and Newspapers

In the most-awaited session of the afternoon of Day 1 at LeWeb, Michael Arrington (from TechCrunch) sat down with Marissa Mayer, Vice President, Search Products and User Experience at Google to discuss a series of hot topics like recent Google innovations, mobile and the newspaper industry.

Marissa Mayer Google Michael Arrington Techcrunch LeWeb Paris December 2009 - 1

On recent innovations:

  • Mayer says Google is focused on future of search and they expect different modality of search, not just through keywords. That’s why they launched Google Goggles this week which is basically image recognition (you take a picture and Google tells you what it is). See this example. They also expanded voice search to Japanese and added the “What’s nearby” mobile functionality. Mayer thinks that people will eventually talk to their phone or take a picture to make a search. They also added real-time results (from Twitter, blogs, Facebook, MySpace, etc.) to regular search results, which drastically increases the relevancy of Google search results.
  • On Google Chrome, she mentioned the release of Chrome Extensions which allows anyone to add functionalities via plugins in the Chrome browser (like Firefox). She said there are “tens of millions of Chrome users”.
  • On Google Wave, Arrington stated “there’s something there” but wondered if we needed more “training”. I think most people are unsure of the value of Wave today and that’s why the Techcrunch founder asked the question.

On mobile searches:

  • Mayer says they’ve grown tremendously on smart phones. Asked by Arrington if their total share of mobile searches over total searches was in the 1 to 5% range, she answered “slightly higher than that”.

Marissa Mayer Google Michael Arrington Techcrunch LeWeb Paris December 2009 - 2

On newspapers:

  • Arrington started by saying we all understand the dire situation of print media and mentioned Eric Schmidt recent vision piece in the Wall Street Journal. He then asked Mayer: “What’s your vision?”. The VP from Google answered with a question: “how do you get users more engaged with news online?” She continued by stating that if we could build a news site from scratch today, it would probably look very different than what we have today. She then mentioned The Living Stories experiment they’re doing with the New York Times and the Washington Post. “What if the story was alive? Not just the print version posted online.” She added that the Web “puts pressure on the atomic unit of consumption. The article is the atomic unit.” She then suggested we could aggregate all news story on the same topic on one page, like Wikipedia, to help with discovery in Google.
  • She closed that topic by suggesting “personalized stream of news”, probably on your mobile phone, would be interesting. The stream would be filtered according to your social circle, location, the news brands you like, the writers you like, and the important news you should know about (she called them “veggies”).
  • Asked if newspapers will move fast enough, she thought so and mentioned the New York Times and Washington Post are very progressive partners and very interested on how they can reinvent themselves.
  • On Murdoch, Mayer mentioned the partnership with MySpace. Asked if she thought News Corp would pull their content from Google, she answered “I hope not” as it would impact comprehensiveness of their results set. She added “we have to respect the content owners. We would respect his will.”
  • Finally, Arrington asked if Google would consider paying for content, Marissa Mayer proposed that they already have programs for content monetization through Google Adsense and their display ads network.

See more on Techcrunch.

Of Hub and Spokes: Why The Next Great Media Company Won't Have a Web Site

Conceivably the next great media company will be all spokes and no hub. It will exist as a constellation of connected apps and widgets that live inside other sites and offer a full experience plus access to your social graph and robust community features.

via The Next Great Media Company Won’t Have a Web Site – The Steve Rubel Lifestream.

What it means: Brilliant quote from Steve Rubel. He hits that one right out of the park.  He understands that content and features want to be atomized (or de-portalized) and that has a major impact on the way media companies operate online.  This is the main reason why we built our Praized platform on a hub & spoke API model, where activities are happening at the edge and aggregated at the hub level. And when you add the social graph on top of those spokes, you get local verticals + friends, probably the most relevant experience possible.

Of Hub and Spokes: Why The Next Great Media Company Won't Have a Web Site

Conceivably the next great media company will be all spokes and no hub. It will exist as a constellation of connected apps and widgets that live inside other sites and offer a full experience plus access to your social graph and robust community features.

via The Next Great Media Company Won’t Have a Web Site – The Steve Rubel Lifestream.

What it means: Brilliant quote from Steve Rubel. He hits that one right out of the park.  He understands that content and features want to be atomized (or de-portalized) and that has a major impact on the way media companies operate online.  This is the main reason why we built our Praized platform on a hub & spoke API model, where activities are happening at the edge and aggregated at the hub level. And when you add the social graph on top of those spokes, you get local verticals + friends, probably the most relevant experience possible.

Real-Time Search = Instant Replay

I was watching the US Open Federer-Djokovic match on TV yesterday when, towards the end, Federer made an amazing, between-the-leg, return to score a point. I immediately tweetedWhat a hit by Federer!!!”. I then stopped everything I was doing to watch a couple of instant replay on CBS, the network that broadcasting the game in North America. I was floored, what a shot. Federer went on to win the game.

Turns out I wasn’t satisfied with the two instant replays the network had provided me. I wanted to see more of it! Five minutes after the game, I searched for the word “Federer” on Twitter. Somebody had already uploaded the whole scene to YouTube in HD quality! I could watch it, pause it, analyze the shot the way I wanted to. I then tweeted back
the YouTube URL for all my friends to see.

What it means: a critical mass of people were watching the game. Someone took the time to “atomize” a portion of the broadcast (the amazing shot) and uploaded it on YouTube (the support). The “news” was then “announced” on Twitter (the discovery tool). Why isn’t this happening on CBS.com?