Earlier today I posted on the edgeio blog the news that the transition of edgeio to its new owners – Looksmart and Vast.com – is complete from my point of view. I continue to believe that edge-published classifieds will one day be a large advertising opportunity, and sooner rather than later.
The edgeio web site will go silent for a while until Looksmart integrates it into their ad platform. Vast.com has already gone live with the real estate assets they acquired.
As for me. i am playing with a few things:
1. I have office space at 654 High in Palo Alto, through 31 August. If you have a pre-funded startup and want help, ding me. I can help.
3. I am working with my friend Jean-Marie Hullot again (he and I co-founded RealNames). He and his team in Paris (France) have been working in stealth on an awesome concept for 2 years. Later this year I will help bring it to market. Can’t say any more. but I am in Paris Mon-Thurs, and London Friday this week if anybody wants to get together. My cell is +1-650-704-2674.
It has been a great effort by the team at edgeio to get this launched. The company now has 6000 advertisers who will, by September, have 29 million classified ads in the system, and with the launch of “Classified Boards” in March recruited its first 1000 publishers. Now with “Transactional Classifieds” the number of publishers who can use edgeio will grow enormously. The vision of a Classified Ad Network for the Internet is one step closer.
As promised John Dowd – the product manager for edgeio marketplaces – opened up the beta of the Classified Boards product to the public today.TechCrunch France has already used the platform to launch Crunchboard France.
The announcement is here; Dan Farber has covered it here, and Robert Scoble has an exclusive video walkthrough on the Scobleshow.
I really believe John’s product will help create a classifieds ecosystem for the Internet in the same way Adsense created an advertising ecosystem. Now, just like newspapers and magazines, any web site can earn revenue by putting up a classifieds board and taking paid listings (free boards are also supported).
We pre-announced the product a couple of weeks ago and on Friday the first beta testers had a chance to try it out. More are following throughout the weekend. With any luck we will open it for a public beta on Tuesday.
The idea of allowing any web site to create a free classifieds board, and to take listings into it – either in return for a fee or for free – is core to the first marketplaces product – Classifieds Boards. Theoretically this should make it possible for web sites to do what newspapers and magazines have done for hundreds of years – make revenue from classified listings alongside their revenue for advertising.
I have just posted a full announcement on the edgeio blog that we are about to launch a commerce platform called edgeio marketplaces. You can read about it and join up for the beta at http://marketplaces.edgeio.com.
In a nutshell it is attempting to make the process of creating revenue carrying features as simple for a small web site as it currently is for the big guys.
The first product on the platform is “Listings Boards”. This will make it possible for any web site owner to create any kind of listings board and decide what to charge to list on the board. It will also allow multiple owners of such boards to build networks of their boards and offer them to a lister for a single price. affiliate programs will also be supported.
I can’t wait to start getting feedback from the community on the product. it has been a long time since the idea was developed and now its time to test it out in the real world.
1. The revenue growth that has characterized the Internet since 1994 will continue. But more and more of the revenue will be made in the foothills, not the mountains.
2. If the major destination sites want to participate in it they will need to find a way to be involved in the traffic that inhabits the foothills.
3. Widgets are a symptom of this need to embed yourself in the distributed traffic of the foothills.
4. Portals that try to widgetize the foothills will do less well than those who truly embrace distributed content, but better than those who ignore the trends.
5. Every pair of eyeballs in the foothills will have many competing advertisers looking to connect with them. Publishers will benefit from this.
6. Because of this competition the dollar value of the traffic that is in the foothills will be (already is) vastly more than a generic ad platform like Google Adsense or Yahooâ€™s Panama can realize. Techcrunch ($180,000 last month according to the SF Chronicle) is an example of how much more money a publisher who sells advertising and listings to target advertisers can make than when in the hands of an advertiser focused middleman like Google.
7. Publisher driven revenue models will increasingly replace middlemen. There will be no successful advertiser driven models in the foothills, only publisher centric models. Successful platform vendors will put the publisher at the center of the world in a sellers market for eyeballs. There will be more publishers able to make $180,000 a month.
8. Portals will need to evolve into platform companies in order to participate in a huge growth of Internet revenues. Service to publishers will be a huge part of this. Otherwise they will end up like Infospace, or maybe Infoseek. Relics of the past.
9. Search however will become more important as content becomes more distributed. Yet it will command less and less a proportion of the growing Internet traffic.
10. Smart companies will (a) help content find traffic by enabling its distribution. (b) help users find content that is widely dispersed by providing great search. (c) help the publishers in the rising foothills maximize the value of their publications.
Over at the edgeio blog I have posted the first insight into where we are going with edgeio search. It has been about 9 months since we launched edgeio.
We now have a dedicated search team and this is their first push. It is not yet perfect but it is a vast improvement on what was there before (also significantly better than Googlebase search – which is a primary comparison for us).
As the post says we have decided to go with the flow to some extent. Many listings based sites are uploading their listings to edgeio and we are providing search traffic back to them. We are being used as a listings search service by companies with listings and by users looking for listings. A “search engine for stuff” if you will.
Based on our experience there seems to be demand for a search engine that indexes actual items/services/offers/wants/needs. edgeio wants to become that. Try a google search for “Sony Vaio” and compare it to an edgeio search. We show “stuff” (Sony Vaio’s actually) and they show sites about stuff, but no “stuff”. That’s the opening we see. Clearly Googlebase is focused there also, but it is clear that the complexities of owning google.com and its algorithm clash with the need for Googlebase to have its data seen. edgeio actually does better on Google than Googlebase (see examples below).
Let me know what you think. Our first search algorithm is live on edgeio.com now. We have a lot more to do (we know) but its a good first step.
Oh and as promised here are some examples of edgeio’s Google performance. Basically, a secondary effect of the way edgeio is being used is that we have improved rank on google.com for searches that we have lots of listings for. The effect of this is that our listing partners get more traffic. As our listings grow, from thousands of publishers (currently about 6000) that trend should continue.
I may be biased but I think edgeio is one day going to be a great company 🙂
Well today we made a few announcements and several people have picked up on them.
Firstly, we have secured a Series A round of financing, led by Intel Capital. Secondly we have launched a Chinese language web site at mulu100.com. Thirdly we have completed the filing of our patent application, originally initiated in October 2005.
There is a lot more coming from us, and some of it quite soon. But this is a great day for me and my partners, Mike Arrington, Matt Kaufman and Vidar Hokstad, and for those who have joined us since we launched. Its also great for our angel investors, our customers and our partners.
Rob Hof has covered the news here.
And Venturebeat here
Greg Sterling here
Bob Wyman of Pubsub has posted a response to the Techdirt post about CraigsList and edgeio. I think Bob’s post is great. I’m almost embarrassed I didn’t say it myself. My only excuse is I was kind of taking the openness of edgeio as a given. But Bob is right. It needs spelling out.