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My Web 2.0 Business Proposal

November 9, 2005

My Web 2.0 Business Proposal

Last night, at the Boston Web Innovators Meetup, there were two presentations of practically identical new URL-gathering sites, and I had fun muttering heckles from the peanut gallery.

So I propose a new service: You write me a sizable check, go through your presentation, then I and some of my friends mock you mercilessly. Why would I use your site? What’s different from del.icio.us/digg/slashdot? What will happen if trollers and spammers game your site? How do you hope to scale your categories when Yahoo couldn’t manage it ten years ago? Are you aware that company names that end in ‘ient’ and have swoosh logos were considered ridiculous and clueless five years ago? And stop fucking saying “blogosphere”. Seriously. You sound like a tit.

We won’t offer solutions—Just get our rants off our chest, to your face, in private, and at least give you some preparation for what will be said behind your backs next time you present.

Current working names: “Undue Diligence”, “Cantank ‘R’ Us” and “That smartass know-it-all prick. Dot com. Two point oh. On Rails. ient.” Get in touch. Our rates are very reasonable.


On Thursday, November 10, 2005, Ben Ruedlinger commented:

To preface my comment, I am one of the presenters from the meetup and the founder of Blogniscient.

Rod, I consider all of your questions fair, and I respect your right to voice your opinion. My main question would be, why did you not speak to me and ask me these questions at the Meetup? Were you afraid that I would say the word "blogosphere" again? Oh well, whatever the reason, I will respond here, on your turf.

Q: Why would I use your site?

A: Blogniscient provides categorized and ranked blog information to allow those people not familiar blogs to easily access much of the high quality information available within the tens of millions of blogs out there.

Q: What's different from del.icio.us/digg/slashdot?

A: del.icio.us and digg are both based on social bookmarking which means that all recommendations show up regardless of who makes them. Slashdot uses human moderators to choose top content. All three of the mentioned sites focus mostly on technology content. Blogniscient uses algorithms which capture how information flows across blogs as a function of time to determine top content. In addition, Blogniscient has a much broader list of categories (such as entertainment and politics).

Q: What will happen if trollers and spammers game your site?

A: We simply remove the offending site/domain from our index. This is not an issue for Blogniscient.

Q: How do you hope to scale your categories when Yahoo couldn't manage it ten years ago?

A: This is a very good question. We recognize that there are eventually scaling problems with directory/taxonomy structures as they get extremely large (i.e. successful). However, Yahoo's directory of web content was one of the things that allowed average people (i.e. non-technically savvy) to find information that was useful to them on the web. It is one of the innovations that helped bring internet connections into most American homes. Blogniscient aims to do the do for blogs what Yahoo did for the web. Do we think that a categorized, ranked blog directory is where progress will stop? Absolutely not. But we think it is a stepping stone to getting broader acceptance of blogs and we believe we will be able to evolve and innovate to provide new services to enrich people's experiences.

Q: Are you aware that company names that end in "ient" and have swoosh logos were considered ridiculous and clueless five years ago?

A: We thought about putting profanity in our logo, but felt that it wouldn't play well with the mainstream (and it was done five years ago as well i.e. <a href="http://www.FuckedCompany.com">http://www.FuckedCompany.com</a> ).

Q: And stop fucking saying "blogosphere".

A: Well that wasn't really a question but I'll comment anyway. We apologize if our word choice doesn't please you. We'll be sure to alert BusinessWeek ( <a href="http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_43/b3956060.htm">http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_43/b3956060.htm</a> ), The Wall Street Journal ( <a href="http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB111685593903640572.html?mod=2_1125_1">http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB111685593903640572.html?mod=2_1125_1</a> ), and Wired ( <a href="http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,67138,00.html">http://www.wired.com/news/print/0,1294,67138,00.html</a> ) that anyone using the word "blogosphere" shall be subjected to name calling by Rod (Damn, I just said it again).

Ben Ruedlinger, PhD,
President, Blogniscient, Inc.

P.S. I'm not carriage return challenged, your comments just don't allow them.

On Thursday, November 10, 2005, Rod Begbie commented:

Ben, I apologise for not speaking to you personally. And hey, at least you didn't take 100 words to describe the concept of "tagging" to the assembled.

(Aside: Despite my intentions, I spoke to only about two people the whole night, due to running into a former co-worker and shooting the shit with him for three hours -- I was close enough to read Aaron Swartz's Sidekick, but didn't get a chance to find out what his wholly intriguing startup is all about!)

Anyways, rather than reading my post as an attack, why not take it as some constructive criticism? Next time you do your spiel, try pre-emptively answering those questions. You'll appear smarter for having thought of them. And I wasn't the first person to mutter "I hate that word" upon hearing you say "blogosphere", so just be aware that it rankles some, and use it less.

You're welcome.


On Thursday, November 10, 2005, Ben Ruedlinger commented:

Rod, I definitely take your comments as constructive criticism. In terms of my talk, I was allocated 5 minutes to introduce Blogniscient and give a demo. Often in those situations, more questions are raised than answered. I will try to work some of your suggestions in next time I present. As far as my response to your post, it wasn't that I took offense to anything you said (you have to have a pretty thick skin in this biz). I was only trying to respond following the snarky tone of your post.

Oh yeah, and thanks :)

Ben Ruedlinger, PhD
President, Blogniscient, Inc.

On Friday, November 11, 2005, Dad commented:

Did you actually invent "Cantank R Us"? I like it.

On Friday, November 11, 2005, Rod Begbie commented:

I was quite proud of that one too! I even went off and registered cantank-r-us.com on the off-chance I find a use for it!

On Friday, November 11, 2005, Peter Caputa commented:

Thanks for sharing your incite full ness.

Pete Caputa B.S.
President, WhizSpark.

About This Site

This is an archive of groovmother.com, the old blog run by Rod Begbie — A Scottish geek who lives in San Francisco, CA.

I'm the co-founder of Sōsh, your handy-dandy guide for things to do in San Francisco this weekend.