Final thoughts on Future of Web Apps

After two days of very intense conference we have tons of impressions – quite a bit to structure and summarize, but we will try. First of all, web 2.0 is still the new and cool thing. It’s very much about letting the users interact, letting the users be both consumers and producers and ‘harnessing the mass’. The last thing is saying that you should build products that becomes better as the number of users increases. Examples of this is wikis, digg and other collaborations. But as Edvin Aoki from AOL said, with building these communities comes great responsibility. As the users are more involved you have a greater responsibility to protect your users and keep what they consider as theirs safe.

Opening up your API is the next big thing, a thing that has actually already started to happen. API in this context is synonymous with letting other people jack into your service and use it as a component in their product. By doing this both parties win. A typical example is Google maps, which is used by a number of companies when map services are needed. The idea is that the whole can be larger than the individual parts. Still, as Stefan Magdalinski from Moo said, using API:s can be dangerous since it gives other people control over you. In their case their entire business is build around getting photos from flickr, which makes them very dependant on flickr.

Connected to the opening of the API:s we can conclude that proprietary is really on the way out. The future lies in collaborations, open source and standards. Even Microsoft now has embraced this in their future web projects, seems to be the message from Chris Willson at Microsoft.

Simplifying web development and not inventing the wheel over and over seems to be a trend. Many companies are offering solutions where they take care of the “heavy lifting” or “plumbing”. They provide simple to use API:s and all infrastructure needed to launch your project. This is all done on a pay per use basis. The idea is you can start small and cheep, and as you grow it will automatically scale (as does the cost). The second part of this trend is in the new generation of web creation tools. These are a merge between the old what you see is what you get editors and the kind of advanced programming possibilities needed in web 2.0. For us who have experience with using integrated program development environments, this looks a lot like a web version of what has been possible to for some time when developing applications.

An interesting thing that Matthew Ogle from last.fm spoke about is the use of attention data. This might be an upcoming trend. This is all about not asking the users to tell you what they think, but getting this information by tracking their behavior. As Matthew says, everything a user does gives them data. If she or he skips a track that says something, even if she or he does nothing at all that tells you interesting important things. Doing this, gathering usage information and then sending it back, has previously been called “spyware”. But when the users are aware of it, and use it because it’s in their own interest, then it’s “myware”, a term coined by last.fm.

The question of who user data belongs to was shortly discussed in a number of speeches. In general, if you want to be 2.0, you should let the user have control over his or her data, because it doesn’t belong to you. Trapping the user by not letting him export his profile or data seems to be very web 1.0, at least when listening to the visionaries.

A technology that we will most likely see a lot of in the future is OpenID. This is a collaborative effort to solve the “single sign in”-issue. According to Simon Willson the big players are now in on this, which means that this will be the future standard. It has the benefit of not being owned by any particular company and so the “who has power over my identity”-issue seems to be at least partly solved.

Our final impression of the conference is that it was well organized, and most of all it had a very good mix of topics. Not only bringing in the obvious, but also for instance letting a venture capitalist tell us about his view on things, was clearly raising the quality. Also a lot of work was done on creating opportunities for people to meet and make new connections. We also want to thank Ryan for letting us make a brief presentation of our thesis.

Second and final day of fowa

The second and final day of the conference offered many interesting speeches, both by new startups and the giants. Not only did the big ones speak, by accidentally meeting someone who knew someone we were given 2 minutes to present our thesis, the blogosphere screensaver. The response we got was very rewarding, everyone who has been speaking to us afterwards have been impressed. Over all a very good conference day where we got to speak to a lot of interesting people.

Mark Anders at Adobe
Mark gave a speech about Flex, with can be described as a combination of HTML and Flash. He meant that web browsers in general is not good for cool content, you need Flash for that.

Flex is a developer friendly way to create flash, it’s very visual and rapid when developing. It also gives much better performance than Flash (with AC 2.0 instead of 3.0 as in Flex). We were shown an example where the performance had increased with almost a factor 100.

More info at flex.org and about Apollo at adobe.com/go/Apollo.

Chris Willson at Microsoft

Chris gave us some history about Microsoft. The development of Ajax and about new stuff in IE7. IE7’s aim is to give an amazing user experience, with integrated RSS platform. It focuses on secure and trustworthy browsing. About security he pointed out:

  • Protect against webfraud.
  • Putting the user in control.
  • Advanced malware protection in Vista.

Khoi Vinh – NYTimes

Currently there are no tools for making real time design for specific news stories. Everything is template controlled. When tools are made that can do real time design this kind of publishing will be dramatically more mature.

 We are also moving away from the traditional narrative design which is all about how well you tell a story. We are moving into newscentric interactivity. NT will add more and more tools to help with making this happens.

 The issue of control: the designers have been given more and more control over the content, but the users sometimes want to control the design themselves. NT is losing control over how their data is presented.

 There is nothing like a free feature. All features have a hidden cost in additional code, testing, long-term support and feature noise. NT tries to think of their applications as machines: you wouldn’t add a crank to a machine just to see if it works.

 Finally we got some good advice on how to make design like the NY Times does it. Some core points were:

  • Options are obstructions. Things are only in the settings page if they couldn’t be reasonably solved within the interface.
  • Keep you navigation within reason. You don’t have to be able to go anywhere from everywhere.
  • Test like you mean it. Don’t let your boss do the testing, let your users do.
  • Different textual clues to input fields make people write different things.
  • Let things be what they are. Let tabs be tabs, button be buttons, links be links etc.
  • Design with a maximum of elegance through a minimum of ornaments.

Simon Willson on OpenID
Simon gave a speech about the hazel with different usernames and password at different sites and how OpenID will solve this.

OpenID is decentralized and you pick who should manage your user information. This ensures that no single company will have full control over your identity.

OpenID is convenient to use because your id is a url, which makes it easy to remember and share. It also helps with filling in webforms with information that has been uploaded when you created your OpenID. You can also create personas to avoid having to create accounts everywhere. These personas are linked to your ID.

This system is built on trust between people. When you move in to a new webpage that requires OpenID it will find another webpage where you have already confirmed your identity. That webpage will then tell the other webpage that you are who you say you are, if you let it. It is much like friends introducing each others, but way more technologically advanced.Â

It is important to remember that as just as with other identities on the Internet your identity is not stronger than the way it was create. That is, having an OpenID does not prove that you are who you claim you are in the real world.

 So what sucks?

  • Phishing. If you have your identity stolen it’s worse when it’s the key to a number of places.
  • What happen if my provider goes down? This should be done by allowing multiple providers.
  • Privacy! You might not want to use the same identity at all times. This is solved just as it has always been in e-mail: by having more than one.
  • Difficult to explain. It took a little over half an hour to explain to a number of hard core geeks.

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 Jonathan Rochelle – Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Jonathan told us about how Google docs and spreadsheet was and is developed. We have taken down his main points for you.

 Why?

  • Do yourself content creation is growing.
  • Accepted/familiar interface of spreadsheets and documents.
  • Accessibility from anywhere (with internet connection).
  • Easy-to-use collaboration was something that a lot of people would like.
  • Do-it-yourself community creation.

 Key features:

  • Collaboration (real time).
  • Online storage.
  • Publishing (make data available for other people).
  • API for development of specific-use apps (makes it adaptable for others specific needs).
  • Over all: be Easy To Use.

 General architecture

  • Server side calculation engine – lighten the client.
  • Ajax.
  • Collaboration layer.
  • Storage layer.
  • Infrastructure & shared services.

 Decisions

  • Who is our initial user? People who already know spreadsheet? In this case yes, they were the first target.
  • What are the must have version 1 features?
  • Collaboration features (rich conflict resolution or simple “trust me” collaboration? Simple trust me was enough since people in general were working with people they know.
  • Integration choices (which Google products, when?)
  • Technical decisions:
    • Storage services… which fits best?
    • Stateful vs stateless (needed both in the end).
    • “Homing” – how to split the load.

 Lessons learned

  • Have user interface help … and get it early.
  • Test new ideas early.
  • Use test harnesses, automation and benchmarks – early.
  • Speed is critical (the speed when using the application).
  • The needs of the many outweighs the needs of the few … or the one.
  • Sometimes insight does NOT come from the user. The users didn’t know they wanted real time collaboration until the feature was there.
  • User data is sacred (don’t ever give the user a reason not to trust your product).
  • Provide a very specific value that users can describe. Not just “this is cool” but “I can increase productivity by 80% by using this”.
  • Focus on features which align with your product’s value.
  • Talk to users.
  • The team is the most important thing.

 If you want to read more visit these resources:

Google docs & spreadsheets http://docs.google.com
Google API:s http://code.google.com
Spreadsheets API http://code.google.com/apis/spreadsheets/overview.html

The Virtual Office
This was a talk about experiences of having a company that does not have a physical office. His company has four employees and he gave some information on what tools they are using.

 The benefits of doing like this is a significant saving of cost, time on travel and an increase in flexibility. The disadvantage is that this is not for everyone, it takes discipline working when not having an office to go to.

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Bruno Figueiredo – Yetta
Bruno was talking about the importance of making sure people get exactly the information they need – developers should not have to read through a 600 pages manual for a two week development project.

We should ditch extensive documentation and instead start using a methodology, and focus on “the user experience of the documentation”.

To join the discussion on the subject send an e-mail to patterns@ixda.org.

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CrowdStorm
What will succeed and what will not in 2007?

It’s hard to say, but here are seven criteria to consider:

  1. Don’t roll out another Me 2.0 App
  2. Simplicity is key
  3. Don’t sell technology – sell user empowerment
  4. The Selfish Individual before the Social Good
  5. Don’t try a play f the big boys can copy you
  6. Entering the mainstream
  7. Ability to generate a big loyal following

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Daniel Appelquist – Vodafone

First Daniel gives us some idea about the market for mobile web: there are way more mobiles (1200 millions) than pc:s that are webcapable. Next he tells us about the work in the W3 group to make standards and best practice for the mobile web. Two important, but possibly obvious things to consider when developing for mobile, is that you should remember the user is on the move and that the same URI should give a coherent experience over all platforms.

 More reading:

www.w3.org/2004/CDF/ (standardization).
www.vodafonebetavine.net (for individuals and small companies to upload your betas

or download and try others).
www.torgo.com/blog (Dans blog).
www.w3.org/Mobile/Planet (Planet Mobile Web).

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Rasmus Lerdorf – Creator of PHP
Rasmus gave a speak on various bits of pieces of things of interest. We list some of his main themes:

 Why do people contribute in these projects?

  • Self-interest – I want to use this.
  • Self-expression – look, I can do this.
  • Hormones – I get a nice fuzzy feeling of belonging by helping out.
  • Improve the World – I enable non programmers to take their idea and put it on the web.

 Next something about how to form a good group: “It’s not what people think about you, but rather what they think about themselves”. A lot of people feel like they own php. Important to think about how people feel about themselves when they are in your project.

 Some factors to make a webpage successful:

  • Performance is important. If your site can’t handle the load you will fail. Your site has to be fast. To help with this you can use the fairly advanced tool KCachegrind to analyse where your resources are used in your webserver.
  • You can never click a link and be sure unless you can understand everything in the url, otherwise you might have code injection. This makes the Internet quite useless, but that’s the way it is. A partial solution is in php 5.5. It is equipped with a filter function to only let exactly the right kind of data through. This kind of strict filtering ensures nothing slips through that is not supported.

 Some final thoughts:

  • Avoid participation gimmicks. There should be a real interest of participating, award schemes do not work.
  • Get their feeling of being part of the team going.
  • Solve one problem.
  • Clean and intuitive user interface.
  • API:s is the future.
  • Make it work.

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Tariq Krim – Netvibes

Netvibes is today releasing a universal widget API. If you build a Netvibe widget it will be available on all other widget platforms, by running through a virtual machine, very much like Java. The JavaScript runtime environment will be open source so anyone can make the widgets work on their platform.

A preview will be available next week on their developer network: http://eco.netvibes.com/uwa

Richard Moross & Stefan Magdalinski – MOO

These guys was talking about how you take a product that is very non-web2.0 and turn it into a success. They are selling business cards over the web.

 Their first challenge was to be different enough to be worth talking about and hire the right people. As they say, “if you look in the usual places you get the usual people”. Moo’s business cards has an odd size, can be made with different photos on each and has a great quality. Their employees are all hired through personal connections.

 The right partnership was also important. From the very beginning this company teamed up with flickr, making it very easy to find photos for you business cards.

 Finally 8 points of things they learnt:

  1. We run our business on outboard brains. You don’t need to hire for everything.
  2. No beta, no gamma, just permanently 1.0. Continuous improvement.
  3. Code (not too) recklessly but watch closely and fix fast. If there’s an error every developer gets an e-mail =)
  4. APIs are cool, but dangerous. This because you are letting other people have control over you.
  5. Don’t internationali{sz}e. From the beginning did not try to make the website in many different languages. Instead used clear explaining pictures and as little and simple English as possible.
  6. Do internationalize. Ship to all over the world. Support Unicode properly.
  7. Give more by giving less. How much flexibility to give the users? Don’t build the Ajax Photoshop. Don’t give the users chance to create really ugly cards.
  8. Our biggest problem: how to sell a 2.01D (not 3D) product online. You can’t properly see and feel the cards.

The solution to technical problems is often human.

Brice Le Blévennec – contactoffice.com

This company has designed a collaboration and messenging web application. Brian says it is built with state of the art tools and is more web 2.0 than similar applications. This mainly because it integrates with a lot of other stuff. A beta can be found at  http://beta.contactoffice.com

First day at Future of Web Apps

Todays conference

Here are some summaries about todays sessions. They are in no way complete, but describe what we thought was most interesting.

Mike Arrington – TechCrunch

Mike Arrington was speaking about how to be a successful entrepreneur. He also pointed out that what he said is not the universal truth, and that good entrepreneurs ignore advice and do as they like anyway.
Mike raises the question whether we are getting into a new it-bubble? He says no, because the people who are investing now are more professional, this time its Google and similar investing and not old grandma investing in Nasdaq because someone said she should. Also companies now fail earlier if they fail, not as in the bubble when they could keep on for far too long.
He gave some points about what to focus on:

  1. Have a good idea
    1. Invent a market
    2. Destroy a market
    3. Remove friction
  2. Have a business plan
  3. Have a revenue model
    Make sure you have a plan to get money at some time.
  4. Build it cheap, test the waters
  5. Avoid high burn rate

Mike especially pressed his point about avoiding a high burn rate. This is getting a lot of investment money and then changing the way you spend your money. Keep on living like you did the first six months and your money will last far longer.
Still, YouTube did make it, even though they didn’t follow any of these advice. Which Mike says, again proves you shouldn’t listen to advice. Mike also listed some attributes for winners and losers:

Attributes for winners:

  • Passion for what they are doing
  • Doing something extraordinary
  • Removing serious friction
  • Great founder dynamics
  • Don’t take too much money
  • The buzz factor

Losers:

  • Poor founder/team choices
  • Lifestyle/Ego Entrepreneurs
  • Raising too much money
  • Spent to much money
  • Over business planned
  • Forget about scaling
  • Had to try too hard at marketing

Here he especially pressed the point that if the buzz is not happening you should rethink your product, not your marketing. The buzz should happen on its own.

Finally we were provided with some areas of opportunity:

  • Apollo will be incredibly important. This is a platform which removes the difference between a web application and a desktop application. Here there are a number of opportunities for new business.
  • Figure out how to handle the DRM jungle. The first who truly does will be very successful.
  • Portability of data and service.
  • Going mobile.

Edwin Aoki at AOL

Edwin Aoki was speaking about the importance of online communities. He listed some obvious and some less obvious communities and ways of communication online.
Obvious:

  • Webmail is the leading driver of page views.
  • Chat and instant messaging is becoming web based

Less obvious:

  • Wikipedia
  • Ebay
  • Amazon

He pointed out more then one time that interactivity and dialog is important to succeed on the web. When getting into the web business there are several things you have to think of, Edwin said.

First of all people are seeking what they are interested in, this is what builds communities. This also means that you as a entrepreneur lose control, which is both a challenge and a risk. Here he mentions youtube, flickr and photobucket.
Secondly a growing trend is embedded interaction on the site such as newspapers, not using a special application.
Third of all these communities goes more and more mobile. This changes the way people participate.
Forth the edge between offline and online life is becoming more and more blurred. For example in ‘second life’, in 24 h 203000 very real dollars was moved between the real world and this world. Also real world brands are entering the virtual world to make sure they are not left behind in the competition.
Finally he makes a point that with this power over these communities comes great responsibilities. Users don’t think safety, so you should.

Simon Wardley – Fotango

Simon was mainly doing a short speech to promote their product. He was talking about how novel and new with time becomes old, dull and expected. But the main point he was pushing was that there is no advantage in having your own infrastructure. The concept is called “Yak shaving”, and the meaning is that you should not do the same foundation work that has already been done before. Instead you should shave the Yak. Zimki, his product, offers pre-shaved yaks.
All this boils down to a JavaScript based environment where you can program any web application, frontend or backend. Everything is persistent by default and there is no need to work directly with databases or hosting arrangement. Charging is done on usage.

Danny Rimer – Index Ventures

Danny has a slightly different background than most other speakers. He works with venture capital and therefore held an interesting speech on that subject.
One of his main points was that there is a substantial risk involved for a VC company when investing: of all companies 1/2 lose money, 1/3 break even and only 1/6 makes lots of money.
The speech was very extensive, but a core point was when to use VC and when not to:
Good reasons for VC:

  • Unique Product or concept.
  • Excellent Development Capability.
  • Large potential market opportunity.
  • Intense competions likely, have to move fast.

But most of all you must believe in this yourself.
When not to use VC:

  • Application is a feature not a product.
  • The total market size is to small.
  • Your motivation is not financial.

The real danger here is that you actually manage to get VC money when you shouldn’t. This could destroy a good small business idea. When this happens you can no longer make the comparatively small win that might have been a large win for this single user, but must go for “a big exit”.

Matthew Ogle and Anil Bawa Cavia – Last.fm

Matthew Ogle and Anil Bawa Cavia from Last.fm were telling us about the building of a social music platform, which is not just online radio. Last.fm help the users to manage their musical life, it connect people to music they love, and can recommend music to users based on their interests.
Early growth factors that they have discovered are:

  • Don’t overextend
  • Make sure revenue sources scale with increased usage
  • Involve users in you story
  • Make growth a selfish aim for existing users
  • Be open!

In the beginning they had a cool service but no data, so to get data they allowed anyone to use their API to do plugins for all different kind of media players.
They believe it is important to involve non-technical users as well, to promote a community. Have a dialog with your users; even bad news is better than no news at all.
When getting a bit bigger it’s important to have a plan for growing global, including marketing and languages, not just technical issues. Harness critical mass; don’t behave like you only have ten users when you have thousands. Embed your service in other applications and web apps.
A final interesting point was there concept of ‘Attention’ and ‘Myware’. When you, as a user, pay attention to something (or don’t), data is created. They described it as a sort of spying on yourself. So it’s not spyware it’s ‘myware’.

TJ Kang – ThinkFree

TJ Kang gave a short speech about ThinkFree, a sort of webservice that allows you to embed word, excel and power point documents in your web page. The advantage being that the visitors don’t need to download the document to watch it, they don’t even have to have Microsoft Office installed in their computer. More info can be found at thinkfree.com

Werner Vogels – Amazon

Werner Vogels was speaking about Amazons services S3, EC2 and SQS. He was making a point that currently approximately 70% of the resources spent in an it-project is used on “heavy lifting”, that is constructing infrastructure and similar. Only 30% is spent on the actual product. The solution to the problem is to let someone else take care of these things for you. This way everyone can focus on what they do best.
This way you can get something that is:

  • Scalable
  • Cost-Effective
  • Reliable
  • Simple
  • Compatible

Needless to say, according to Werner, S3, EC2 and SQS provide all this.

Bradley Horowitz – Yahoo

Bradley’s first topic was how interesting data can be created by combining lower quality data from a large number of data providers. This way one can find data that wasn’t obviously in there from the beginning. He used analyzing geographical flickr tag data as an example: by collecting all photos that have been tagged as being about Route66 the outline of the road could be clearly mapped. In the future this will become a more common way to gather data.
His second topic was how new more advanced and useful service could be obtained by using something that has been around in the Unix community for very long – piping. This is to make it possible to take the result from one service (i.e. Google) and then pipe it into another (i.e. a map service). He demonstrated how he could get geographical mapping of daycare in a certain area by doing this. The technology is already developed by Yahoo, but is currently not working well since it turned out to be much more popular than expected.

Stephan Stokols – BT

Stephen Stokols spoke about online communication, and listed four points.

1. Traditional industry lines being blurred: online companies are expanding rapidly into telecommunication. AOL, yahoo voice etc.

2. P2P technology proliferating – may pose significant cost pressures on the network sides, but opportunities to those telecoms that embrace it.

3. Advertising is a viable mechanism to fund free models.

4. 1:1 voice communication is no longer sufficient as we move to 1:many collaboration.

This causes for deeper structural shift for telecom companies. BT contact, his company, is intended to be the users personal communication hub. It integrates with whatever you are using (skype, yahoo voice etc) and also does e-mail, mobile, texts etc.

Amit Kothari & Chris Garrett – QuotationsBook.com

These two guys has come up with the idea to map where all known quotes come from. They provide a service where you can search books by author, quote and other criteria.
They have the ambition to create a search engine for anything notable that anyone has written or said, and see themselves as completing the triad of videos (youtube), photos (flickr) and text (these guys). Read more at QuotationsBook.com

Soocial.com

This company aims at coordinating all contacts you have in your phone, computer, pda or other device. Their core objectives is to make this as easy as possible and to make it cover as many products as possible. They focus very hard on the core of the product – there should be no extra unnecessary stuff. The solution can be found at soocial.com and will be released as “invitational alpha” a week from now.

Kevin Rose – Digg

In this speech we were given some information about how Kevin thought when creating digg, what digg will be in the future and how digg is run.
He pointed out the problem with 900000 users in one big community not always getting along. Solving this issue, in a way in which the community is not governed from the outside, is one of the largest issues for digg.

Playing well is also something Kevin pointed out as important. The users should have access to their attention data and other information they have built, this since as Kevin puts it “it’s not really ours”. He also wants to be as open as is possible, using open API:s and similar.

Primelabs at Future of Web Apps

Early tomorrow morning we will be going to London to participate in the conference Future of Web Apps next Tuesday and Wednesday. In the conference amongst others people from digg, TechCrunch and Google will be speaking.

We expect to meet a lot of interesting people and get new views on web 2.0. The speakers are generally highly experienced in their respective fields so we believe the quality of the conference will be high.

During the conference we will keep you updated on the speakers and their sessions.

Malin and Linus
Malin and Linus in our conference T-shirts.

The Blogosphere – now visualized in a computer near you!

Today we’re releasing a beta version of our new screensaver/application that displays, in real time, where blogs are being written across the globe.

Check out the clip below – and download your very own copy at http://www.twingly.se/screensaver.aspx. If you find any bugs or have questions about the install process, send us a mail at screensaver at twingly.com.

You’ll need a serial number to run the screen saver, you can get one by entering your e-mail adress on the download page.

All data is streamed through Amazon S3 in order to sustain the bandwith required. Variations in the data flow is due to Twingly indexing and not due to the actual amount of blogs being written.

When the data flow is too big, all posts will not be visible in the scroll list, so you might not see your own posts.

Although we filter out quite a bit of spam, there are loads of weird things going on in the blogosphere, so use common sense when clicking on links and keep this product out of the reach of childen.

Update: beta serial is no longer required. Download freely.

Swedish dailies link back to blogs using Twingly

TwinglyThe Washington Post and The New York Times have established a strong relationship with bloggers by linking back to posts linking to their articles. This strategy has created a wealth of new values for both bloggers and the newspapers and has been easily integrated with other new media strategies without any compromises being made in terms of quality or reader value. The advantages for bloggers receiving traffic from newspapers have been numerous:

  • Bloggers receive more attention and traffic.
  • New bloggers writing about serious subjects get more readers from day one.
  • The blogging phenomenon as such receives more attention.
  • The widespread but erroneous public image of blogs as inward looking diaries rapidly disappears.
  • The general interest in citizen journalism increases and more people are given the opportunity to take part in the public debate.

The advantages for newspapers linking back to bloggers are equally plentiful:

  • Editorial value: the newspapers readers can take part in vastly more interesting and relevant discussions than those normally present in discussion forums and article comment systems.
  • Articles continue to be read long after they have trickled off the first page of the newspaper’s web site, thereby substantially increasing their lifespan.
  • Bloggers have a much stronger incitement to link to a newspaper linking back to them than to competitors not doing the same thing.
  • The newspaper establishes its brand towards a dynamic and hard-to-reach market segment.
  • The increased number of links to the newspapers articles substantially increases its search engine ranking, thereby drawing additional readers.

  • It creates a strong community around the newspapers web site without shutting the door on established blog writers with an established reader base by forcing them to migrate to a proprietary blogging platform.
  • If newspapers are to remain important to journalism in the future as they have been in the past, they will need to position themselves accordingly in social media today.

Swedish and Scandinavian news sites are well aware of all of the above and are working in the right direction. Newspapers know that they can no longer exist in a vacuum and that they have all to gain from intermeshing with the blogosphere.

Primelabs recently launched the blog search engine Twingly, which provides a robust technical solution for indexing all blogs linking to newspapers. Twingly is a full-scale blogosphere indexing solution. It is therefore able to apply robust spam filtering and authority analysis in ensuring data quality. Twingly exposes a web based API which makes it easy to integrate the service into any web publication system. Twingly does not filter results, but provides tools for preventing abuse to our customers.

In early February 2007, the two largest Swedish dailies (DN, SvD) started using Twingly, thereby becoming the first European dailies linking back to the blogosphere.