Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Digg-In-A-Box? Automatic News Filtering And Aggregation? Newsmastering Engines Keep Growing: reBlogger Is Next

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While the Wall Street Journal ponders whether bloggers can really make money or not (just like asking in the '70s whether a DJ could make money), those truly interested in developing a more comprehensive picture of the effective opportunity available to them, should look a bit ahead, rather than staying fixated with what blogs so far have shown to be, represent and provide.

Blank that out.

M.C. Escher - Photo credit: José Martínez Arosa

Imagine bloggers diversifying themselves into many different types of news editors and reporters. Imagine those wanting to extract a professional reward out of this job to lean either toward extreme specialization, on topics and issues that few others cover, or on the exact opposite: becoming aggregators and filterers, newsmasters, of the myriad specialized news feeds belonging to a broader content category.

Just as we are starting to see the emergence of large new aggregators of content online moving their first pioneering steps, expect the same process to take place at a much more granular level for all of the news and information that is out there.

There is a huge, infinite market for quality, filtered information on specialized topics out there.


Because, everyone on the edge of using new media technologies today knows that the amount of information that is ALREADY coming our way now, it is just too much to handle. Tech Memeorandum, Digg, Personalized Google News, Start/Live are great, but they are only a small part of the solution.

We just need to scale up more. And that means doing ourselves the dirty work of filtering, selecting and aggregating the very best content out there on any specific imaginable topic. This is why, this is truly the job of the future, and watching only blogs, as they are today, maybe a too limiting view.

And when we say aggregate it should not mean just to aggregate blog posts, but also and evidently news, comments, video and audio clips, relevant products and services and relevant ads and commercial info on that very content theme.

And what tools do we have today to do this kind of work?

Few. In fact too few to really satisfy the soon to explode demand for these kind of publishing services that the content market will see.

And this is why I took the time to skype up Mark Wilson, CEO and founder of one of those very few, but also very promising companies already moving its early steps into this soon-to-be-blooming newsmastering industry.

reBlogger, a server-based software that Mark and his team have released over a year and half ago, is a newsmastering engine that allows the creation of highly thematic and relevant newsfeeds on just about any selected topics of interest. You feed the engine with enough news sources in the format of RSS/Atom feeds and then you specify the "themes" or topics you want to be output. reBlogger does the rest.

Not only.

As you can learn by reading through, Mark and his team are working right now on the upcoming release of a full "Digg-in-a-box" type of tool, which allow any online publisher to recreate the popular and highly effective Digg-functionality on their sites to create their vertical information portals fueled by their readers.
Here, for example, is a good example of what reBlogger could do, if you wanted to build a site about the upcoming World Soccer Cup in Germany.

But there are many others. It is in fact very interesting to hear some of this directly from the voice of one those who has been actually influenced by my own thinking in the development of such a technology.

I invite you therefore to listen or read through this good conversation with Mark Wilson which uncovers some of the true potential of newsmastering for both the small and large online publishers, and the potential for its use in many different areas.

Here is a fully downloadable .mp3 audio file of the interview, while you can select to stream immediately the audio of my interview with Mark Wilson by simply pressing the "Play" button on the audio toolbar here below (text transcript below).

Photo credit: Dan Gallie

Full text transcript of audio interview with reBlogger founder and CEO Mark Wilson

Robin Good: Hello everyone, here is Robin Good, live from Rome in Italy, and today I am connecting with a faraway country! The opposite side of the world, ten hours ahead of me or something like that. Hello, anybody else on the line?

Mark Wilson: [Laughs]. Hi Robin, it's Mark Wilson here.

Robin Good: Mark Wilson! Good evening to you I should say, and this is a very nice present you are giving to me, because I have been trying to get in touch with you for a long time. Where are you located, Mark?

Mark Wilson: Robin we're located in Canberra in Australia, and Canberra is the main capital of Australia. It's about 2 and a half hours south of Sydney.

Robin Good: Fantastic. I haven't had the opportunity to come and visit your fabulous country yet, but I am surely excited to be talking to you today because, Mark, you are the founder and CEO, brain, arms and legs of a company that's called...

Mark Wilson: The company is called Web Services Marketplace.

Robin Good: But the product that a lot of people before me have found out and told me, "Robin, you'd better go and check it out", it's called...

Mark Wilson: ReBlogger.

Robin Good: ReBlogger. Like re-make, re-mix, re-syndicate, re-select, re-publish... ReBlogger.

Mark Wilson: Yes.

Robin Good: Alright and people can find everything about this on the web, at some URL?

Mark Wilson: Well, we are busy building and we're building it as a sample site, but I guess the best place to go is to my blog, which is:

Robin Good: Fantastic. Well, I really have to ask you a set of rapid-fire questions about ReBlogger, so that it will make it easy for me and for everybody listening and reading through this... what ReBlogger really is. Please give me a 30 seconds introduction for non technical people about what ReBlogger really is.

Mark Wilson: ReBlogger collects and aggregates and sorts and indexes blog posts from around the web. It sorts and indexes them based on your interests or the interests of your customers.

Robin Good: So it is a tool that allows me to pull together RSS feeds and Atom feeds from different sources that I select or that you select?

Mark Wilson: It will select from sources that you provide and we're building tools to help you find more sources. You select them, and then you create keywords. You identify search terms, and so the output filters the off-topic information - in other words, information that you have no interest in - and it collects just the information that you actually want to republish.

Robin Good: So, it is a content aggregator that utilizes RSS feeds to bring to me content on selected topics that I have chosen, and would allow me - if I understand correctly - to republish selected items from this ocean of content coming to me with my own selection of which one, and my own possibility to comment, and add some further text or annotations to it.

Mark Wilson: We haven't extended it so that you can add your own comments to it. If there is a demand for that we definitely can add that in, because it's very, very easy for us to do that. What it does - at this point in its lifetime - is that if you have a technology oriented site like the one we ran - we'll collect there all the BizTalk blogs, and we'll organize thousands of posts into narrower themes. ReBlogger creates themes very, very easily, and it does this automatically, so once you set it up it just runs in the background month after month and it doesn't really need any attention.

Robin Good: But that's wonderful, because as you probably know I have been writing and talking about something that is just plainly like what you have described and I have humbly labeled "newsmastering", which is exactly that very ability.

Mark Wilson: Absolutely.

Photo credit: Mary Dalton

Robin Good: It is fantastic to know that there is another contender out there that is trying to provide this type of service in an easy to use fashion. How did you overcome the key challenges of doing this? And, before I tell you what I think those are, why don't you tell me what you've found those to be?

Mark Wilson: Well, would you mind if I just say that your is the first site that I went to and you introduced the word "newsmastering" to me, and it really encouraged me to carry on with the vision that we had begun with about a year and a half ago, 18 months ago? So thank you, Robin, for your site and your content and the encouragement that I took from it. I just wanted to say that.

Robin Good: I'm happy; I'm very rewarded by that. And let me hear your answer on the obstacles that creating a newsmaster feed really creates for an engineer like you.

Mark Wilson: There are several different problems. One of the problems is the non standard nature of RSS and Atom. Atom is much more stable. RDF is also a bit of a mess. Really, RSS feeds are, you know, 0.9, they don't have dates or time formats. A lot of people didn't have them, so they sometimes come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and they're quite difficult to work with, so we've had to put a lot of effort into hardening our software so that we can anticipate and cope with difficulties which we haven't encountered before.

Robin Good: Good.

Mark Wilson: So that was a technology problem. Another problem is to anticipate what people need, because one of the huge differences between our software, and really any other newsmastering product after that I know of, is that for most of these products you have to go to their website, and you have to build your "lens" on their website. Whereas, our software actually says you can install this on your website or on your intranet or install it for your marketing people or whatever. So we've had to build software which runs in different environments and caters to different needs. As you know, there's a very wide variety of needs out there: some people need search engine optimization and other people have no interest in that at all.

Robin Good: Yes. But then, that signifies that your product is a server based piece of software that an online publisher can take and install on his or her webserver, is that correct?

Mark Wilson: That's exactly right.

Robin Good: And it works on which kind of servers?

Mark Wilson: It's Windows. It's .NET 1.1 and 2.0.

Robin Good: So for example, I couldn't take advantage of your tool right now because I'm totally sold to Unix/Linux type of servers with Apache and so. Would I be excluded completely?

Mark Wilson: Well in our current version, you would be excluded from installing the product. The version of ReBlogger that is coming up it's more of an enterprise solution: so, if somebody else, or if I set it up on my server, you, Robin, could come to my server and create what other people call a "lens" or a feed or whatever. But yes if you wanted to install our software on your Unix server, unfortunately, you can't. I wish you could, but you can't.

Robin Good: But it would be nice if you would set up a few Windows servers around the world and offer us to take advantage of them because that's really what we would be paying for anyhow, whether it is on my IP provider in Pittsburgh or on yours, it's the same thing.

Mark Wilson: Yes, yes.

Photo credit: Rene Schwietzke

Robin Good: Besides the advantages of having it installed on my server, there are also the negative disadvantages. For instance, that I have to pay for the server or the bandwidth which in those cases - somehow I don't pay directly for - by sharing my intelligence work with those providers as you correctly noted. So at that point, since I have to pay my provider, couldn't I be paying you? Is that a possibility in the future?

Mark Wilson: [Laughs]. That's a great idea. We do partner with BitShop as a company, and the CEO there, his name is Steve Radich, and he has agreed to host people who need hosting for our product. So, yes, you could definitely do that Robin.

Robin Good: Good. And so for those instead that have not yet gotten the gist of this, what are some of the typical applications... you've mentioned different areas in which it can be used and I know there are infinite possibilities, but some of the most notable, successful applications, including your tentative showcase of a website to cover the upcoming world soccer championship in Germany this coming June. Can you give us a little panoramic overview of what one could do, noting that many of the listeners have probably no idea what newsmastering exactly is? I want to get the plain, pragmatic description of the opportunities that could benefit them.

Mark Wilson: Okay, I think that there are infinite numbers of people, and infinite numbers of needs. The world is changing to a place where what you do with information is more valuable that anything else. So newsmastering means really, if we invert the word, we could say: "Hard to master the news that is coming your way".

Another way of saying that, is that if you have a river of news passing past you, it's an enormous river like the Amazon, and it's growing all the time every 5 months, as the number of blogs doubles. We right now have 33 million blogs and in 5 months we'll have 66 million blogs and 50.000 posts per hour at the moment, and that's going to double too; so there's a massive amount of information flowing past people, and companies live on information.

Microsoft is a knowledge company, IBM is a knowledge company. Individuals have a huge interest, everybody has an interest and that's why we've focused on the upcoming football World Cup. What ReBlogger does very well is to collect information for people and then republish it inside themes.

So let's take the World Cup topic: if you want to follow the stars, we have a theme that just covers the stars. If you want to follow the scores that just only covers the scores so it depends on what you're looking for. Now, that's a very valuable tool, anything that can structure data, understand the data, extract it, which leads us onto topics like microcontent and structured blogging, which is quite interesting.

Those are very interesting and useful topics but what ReBlogger does is that because it can parse the information so successfully it's able to create these themes.

Now your question was "Who would find this interesting?"

Well for one thing, a marketing company would want to look at what are people saying about competitor products. They would also say "What are people saying about our products?". For example, the Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft, he has a problem at the moment: he's got 27.000 employees and I don't know what percentage of them blog, but the OPML file for Microsoft is HUGE. So they have an enormous number of people blogging. Now the CTO of Microsoft cannot possibly read all of those blogs everyday, so he needs something which is smart enough to capture into themes, perhaps positive comments or negative comments, and in this way he could follow what is happening in terms of the bloggers inside the company. Somebody else, like Bill Gates, might want to track graphically, with a graph, the growing number of interest in Ajax; he might want to track what people are saying about, or Microsoft Office, the Windows version vs. the web version. If you've got a script being used on any day you'd find a 100 different opinions, and there is somebody out there who wants to track those opinions, and watch them rise or fall.

Robin Good: Yes.

Mark Wilson: So that's what ReBlogger does, it collects data for different needs. Different people have different needs. Marketing people have needs. Employers have needs. I have a need to listen in on the blogs of the people that I employ. So that's a very simple thing that ReBlogger could do for somebody. And hobby sites need something like ReBlogger, because if you're in sports, you want to republish the conversations of people who are blogging about sports. As you said, there's an infinite number of uses for a product like ReBlogger.

Robin Good: And ReBlogger can take into its aggregation engine and database all kinds of feeds, not just blog feeds, is that true?

Mark Wilson: It will take, RSS, Atom. Any version of RSS, any version of Atom, and RDF as well.

Robin Good: Good. And what about the ability, the uncanny ability that you have been describing of creating these precise themes? Most of the tools that are out there and try to do this, they have a series of problems when they try to do this. Nonetheless they're able to create customized super feeds that aggregate a lot of content on a specific topic, there is inevitably a number of major issues that come up. One is the issue of duplicate posts, from different people replicating the same content or just about; also, there is the issue of something completely irrelevant which comes in for many different reasons and unless you're there manually looking at the feed selecting what yes and what not, it will inevitably come into your output. So, how did you overcome these problems?

Mark Wilson: ReBlogger is an interesting product. We developed it a year and a half ago so we have been using it ourselves, no, it's almost two years now we've been using it ourselves and you're absolutely right, there are these problems, and we overcame them. You just need a smarter algorithm basically. You just need a smarter programmer. [Laughs.] As I said we run, we also run and at these two websites, we collect enormous numbers of posts and they shouldn't look anything alike because the one is focused on SEO, PageRank, updates, Google indexes, Yahoo! indexes, and really, when I read the Yahoo index, I don't want to see things about Google, and I don't want to see duplicates, and I don't want to see noise and rubbish. I don't want to see advertising, you know, there are all kinds of things that I don't want to see. So over two years, we just carried on refining ReBlogger.

ReBlogger is already in it's third version and it's just coming to the market now, so it's a very mature product, it's dealt with the duplicate issues, that's just really an algorithm problem where you search within the same time period for the same title but on different topics on different blogs. You know, the same post, basically but across different blogs. But you can't search over the entire database because you could have 100.000 posts, or Technorati's got uncountable posts. But fortunately, people tend to repost the same topic within a day or within 3 days. So we said: if we find the same topic within 14 days, we will only keep the first one on the assumption that the first one is the original. We did the same thing on, because they were focusing on XML, XSLT, we were focusing on BizTalk and the different adapters within BizTalk and those kind of things, So yeah, when I look at these things for my own needs, I don't want to see off topic posts, and I don't want to see short posts, so we discard posts that are less than a certain number of characters and we of course have made that administrator definable. So, the administrator says, don't show me anything below 200 characters or 10 characters, so it's very customizable.

Robin Good: And what is the business model that you provide in this software to final customers?

Mark Wilson: They simply purchase it on a per domain license. So if you buy it for, then you pay a one time license and that is yours to use forever, and our hope is that our next version will be so fantastic that you'll upgrade again and then you'll upgrade again. Yes, if you buy a license it's forever, you can use ReBlogger on your domain.

Robin Good: How much does it cost?

Mark Wilson: $900, US.

Robin Good: Yes, what do the customers say about that price?

Mark Wilson: [Laughs.] Yes, it depends on what their need is. A hobby website would not pay $900. A corporate company would happily pay $10.000, because it provides to a corporate company like Microsoft the ability to track MiniMicrosoft, you've probably been to MiniMicrosoft, have you, Robin?

Robin Good: Yeah.

Mark Wilson: On MiniMicrosoft at Blogger the guy has a lot of things to say, and people around him have a lot of things to say and someone in Microsoft goes to that blog every day and tries to work out... this a disaster for public relations or is this valuable?

Well that person really needs ReBlogger because they can install it on their own personal machine, and track not just MiniMicrosoft... and whenever they're ready, they can just add more and more and more blogs and they can begin to build a picture of what the world thinks of Microsoft. So, for them it's worth $10.000.

One of the things that I like to do is to play chess. Well, if I set up a hobby website and I'm not earning any money off it, I wouldn't want to pay $900. So, yeah, what do people think of the pricing? Some people think it's cheap, and some people say it's too expensive.

Robin Good: Yeah, and the ones that think it's cheap, you're losing $9.100 or so on them, while the ones that think it's too expensive, you're not making any money off...

Mark Wilson: [Laughs]. This is true.

Photo credit: Rich Beauchesne

Robin Good: Just to be nice with you. If what you said was true why didn't you choose a much higher price and be more coherent with your marketing and sales strategy? Because having 20 of those clients is much better than having many of the small ones who are also much more prone to create little tiny problems and ask lots of questions and not be technologically prepared?

Mark Wilson: [Laughs].

Robin Good: And on the other hand, the big customers seeing such a low price may be discouraged into thinking this is a toy thing.

Mark Wilson: Now, you're absolutely correct, you are quite correct about that. What I have tried to do is to set up a go forward strategy, where the next version, which is under development on, that version is actually a tool which is much, much more powerful than ReBlogger.

If you think of all these Ajax driven websites like, the next version of ReBlogger is more like that. You can actually look at or, or or, which is actually a very good website. And all of these things, all of these mean tracking websites, they have several things, like wonderful Ajax, or the ability to vote up or perhaps vote down and the ability to group posts, etcetera.

Our next version of ReBlogger is actually much more powerful than what I just described to you.

What I have described previously in this interview is what we already have for sale. Now the next version that is coming out will allow massive interaction between customers. In other words, between visitors to the website. It will allow voting, it will allow everything. It is basically Digg in a box. The proposition to a customer is this: "Would you like to have a Digg website? If you do, buy this... install it". So that appeals to a completely different market than a hobby website so the price will be higher. And thereafter, I plan to again extend the engine further out and provide graphing...

I have this sneaking suspicion that on Microsoft blogs, or let's take IBM for a change: IBM has 87.000 employees I think it is, and they have a stated internal policy of IBM wants every single employee to blog. That is a massive amount of information that IBM is going to have to manage. So we will provide a product for their intranet to actually tell them who's blogging. Who's getting visitors? Who's getting inbound links? Where are people going? What blog is exciting? I'm not really so much worried about what blog is exciting, I'm more interested in what are people looking at? What are people interested in? What are people starting to request? Because right now a company is blogging.

That's wonderful but there's a massive, massive amount of information out there and I don't think companies are able to track or analyze that information. We've got ReBlogger right now which is for sale, which I've described in a fair amount of details, and there's the mean, "Do you want a Digg website? If you do, buy our product, install it, hey! You've got a Digg website!" And then we'll just continue to upgrade it, and then anyone who uses our software gets a better website every time they upgrade. So it's really a commoditization of the Web 2.0 industry. Until now everyone's been building their own one, and we've taken a look at it and said, why should they all build their own one? We'll just build one and make it a really easy installer, and sell it and they don't have to build their own one, they can actually just use ours. So it's commoditization of Web 2.0. And hen comes the corporate one, which will be even more expensive which will show graphing, like, if you're interested I'll give you a further route idea. Would you like to hear it Robin?

Robin Good: Sure.

Mark Wilson: Well my idea is this, let's say that you're doing market research and you're trying to figure out what your competitor's doing. So for example let's say Microsoft is trying to understand what any competitor is doing, if you were to collect all their blogs, and you were to analyze them for upcoming say Microsoft wanted to follow the performance of a product such as Flex, a new product from Macromedia. Now, I'm just guessing this, but because companies try to encourage employees to blog in advance of a product coming up, I'm willing to bet that if you mapped out the number of posts in a particular team, say the Flex team, there would be a spike in the number of posts while they're developing their new version, and then there would be a spike just before launch the new version. So I'm guessing we haven't built the software to test this, but I'm guessing that if we mapped against product launches, and if we mapped the number of posts that that team, if we could figure out who was on that team, if we could map the two we would see a correlation. So, it's a possibility for market research all sorts of things. But you're right, companies will pay a lot more, and we will provide much smarter software for them, and they will pay more.

Robin Good: Okay, but I have a number of questions now. First of all, when is this "Digg in a box" coming up?

Mark Wilson: [Laughs]. Hopefully very soon. As with ReBlogger, we're going to use it ourselves as much as we can so...

Robin Good: One month, two months, three months?

Mark Wilson: Okay let's say two months, and then I'm hoping for one month. But let's say two months.

Robin Good: Okay, two months and a half. And Digg, many people don't know what is. What Mark was referring to was one of those types of sites that have been emerging like mushrooms lately, which allow users to contribute links to news or items that other users can vote up or down; so that if you go to any of these sites,, for example, you can see even animated on your screen, a live stream of news that has been selected from users and you can see those news in terms of popularity, in terms of recency, or according to different categorical themes so that you can find the latest according to the readers, not according to some elected mainstream media out there. So that is a revolutionary approach that is having a lot of following, and building a Digg in a box for everyone and publishers to use is a fantastic idea, but I would like to go back to the issue of pricing and ask... If we want and I think for a company like you who doesn't sound like a 50 100 people company yet - the need for mindshare, because your idea is so much ahead of time still as the market for these types of providers is really small. The competition isn't really that big.

There are a lot of different components to do this but those that have assembled the tools that can do the whole job, like you did, are very, very few. Less than the fingers of one hand. So, if that is the case, wouldn't a company like yours want to get a much greater mindshare in the fastest time possible? Because, if you do have some competitive edge over your competitors, how are people going to find out, unless you allow them to?

So my humble challenge is this philosophical question... Wouldn't it be better to allow a much wider penetration of your tool to small and micropublishers as well, taking into consideration that many of them will fail, get bored, will not get the drift, will not use it. But the few that will might produce such interesting implementations that they will become your own best marketers for the mid-sized to enterprise market to which you're going to sell the fantastic more advanced tools with the key features that we probably don't need, but which they would pay anything for. Wouldn't that be an opportunity?

Mark Wilson: That would definately be an opportunity, and believe me, because we're a small company I have a soft heart for small companies. I want to see a product that will benefit everyone, so I'm not looking to build a product and make millions off anybody we just, we really enjoy what we do, and we're kind of good at it too. [Laughs]. So, yes, you're quite right, I do often think about bringing out something which has a lower price, but having said that I've been running this internet business ever since I wrote a book on XML programming in 1999. It was published in 2000. I've built up to where it's 15.000 unique visitors, and that's not RSS feeds, and that's not Google or any other search engine. has 15.000 daily visitors that are coming there just for XML content. And what I've seen in that time is that lowering the price of products, because I've sold other products online, lowering the price does not increase the number of sales.

So, while I agree with your logic, it would be fantastic to get larger mindshare.

We do have a significant problem that when I approach people and say "You know, you really do need this." And they go, they ask questions that indicate to me that they don't understand what I'm offering, because as you said, we have the first mover advantage but it's not really an advantage, it's a disadvantage.

We have a first mover problem in that we're doing things that people like Microsoft and IBM definitely want our software they just don't know it. [Laughs]. So we have this problem and lowering the price doesn't resolve that problem.

What I have decided to do in order to get mindshare, we are going to launch innovations. One of them I could demonstrate to you right now. It's something which, honestly, I've never heard it talked about before and I can show it to you on the internet, and we can attempt to describe it in this conversation.

The concept is just so unique and in my opinion so exciting. I'd really like to hear your opinion Robin.

Again, the concept is so unique and it should create a lot of buzz on the Internet, and well, it would actually be launched right here on your website, which is exciting, I think. When we launch this it should create mindshare for us. So, you're absolutely right, mindshare is critical to our success, but I have discovered that lowering the price doesn't resolve the problem. If nobody knows we're here, lowering the price does not increase the number of people who know we're here they still won't know we're here.

We have to get into the blogs and launch really, really, really great ideas so that people begin to talk about them and say: "What is this company doing? They're doing something really different, really new..." And people begin to talk.

Robin Good: I fully respect your take on this but I would have no hesitation in taking up a challenge with you that if you would let us take up your tool, make it available on serious servers that are not just Bill Gates' ones and forget about the price for distributing the tool and make it available for people who can exemplify its applications, you would have the best investment of your marketing and sales budget that you would never have had.

Probably you would find an equilibrium on how you would limit these ones to dent into your real market, but if you can see this suggestion that I made as a marketing strategy and not as a sales strategy, you probably would appreciate the benefit it could bring, because I think your ideal newsmasters are going to pop up here and there, everywhere. In these small to medium-sized online publishing businesses... inside university libraries, inside all the places where people are mashing-up, testing, exploring, experimenting... And that doesn't happen so frequently inside the enterprise; they are always coming late after they've seen that "something" and say: "Oh look at that! We should do it do it too." But where do they go today to see some of that happening?

If a tool that costs $900 is available to so few entities today that only the ones that get to be able to talk to you find out about reBlogger... So I am fully open and respectful because you certainly are not doing this, and I believe you in the interest of making more money yourself, but because you think it is the best way to sustain your company, and I respect that... But, I would like, and this is what I'm going to write next to this interview, that not only this service soon becomes available as a hosted solution that is prepackaged as well as a solution that can be installed on non-Windows servers, but that there is also an option of an advertised-based, lower-priced, less featured version that you can use as a marketing tool, because that is a win-win situation.

We test and experiment and market for you, and you get the benefit of doing this without spending on traditional advertising while getting, I bet, a lot of mindshare for this if it's properly planned.

Mark Wilson: I think you're right Robin. I actually do think you're right. I have a few concerns like the support problems, which you said earlier, if there's a massive uptake we could be snowed under with...

Robin Good: Don't give it!

Mark Wilson: Oh I see! [Laughs]. Okay

Robin Good: I'm a representative for this group. Don't give it to us!

Mark Wilson: I see. Okay.

Robin Good: Give it to us and say, "Look, you want it for free, you don't get any support. You want support? Give me the $900, or the $350". I mean, yes, scale us down in different levels, so that the experimenters, those brave ones that go and test those things out and make new things as soon as you give them the ability to, they will take you up. But the moment that I discover I can't run you on my server and you cost me $900, so you know, I'll just go somewhere else. Why spend my time with you?

Mark Wilson: This is true; we really do have that problem. We really do. I think people get interested and then they say, "Uh, you're only on Windows... so that's a bit of a problem for us." It is a problem, you are right. I promise you that I will definitely think very seriously about this.

Robin Good: I'm open to a grassroots contribution to your company to enable the development of a UNIX-based solution that we pay for in exchange for a free version after. [Laughs].

Mark Wilson: Well if you're keen to do that, we can definitely talk. That would be fantastic.

Robin Good: Yeah! Let's talk about it later on. Well the time has been running out like a missile today because of so many interesting things. Unfortunately I have to rush out and go and do my training at the park. Unfortunately? I mean happily! Finally, I can go! [Laughs]. And so, I would like to thank you very much for this great information. I would like seriously, really, very honestly to help test out your tool and to make some good use of it. Not just as a demo, but if I could make it run and make money for me and for you I would be happy too, because I think there is a cultural, social, informational need for it.

Mark Wilson: There is.

Robin Good: We've got to enable people to do this; this ocean of stuff is already overwhelming me.

Want to get an idea of how reBlogger works?
Check out this set of short screencasts explaining the different components of the reBlogger sytem.

More info about reBlogger product, features, license and pricing.

[ Read more ]
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posted by Robin Good on Wednesday, April 19 2006, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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