Top ten business ideas generated using microblog search

Tweeple need stuff The prevailing question for entrepreneurs and investors alike is: What do people really NEED? Or if already you have an idea of what you’d like to do: Does my business idea solve a real problem? The question is important since in order to run a successful business, you need for real to solve a problem or fulfill a need (although businesses that are less successful may resort to artifically creating or amplifying one).

With the advent of microblogs and more specifically microblog search, there is now an immediate way to listen in to people’s real needs, as expressed in their own words, all day, every day.

To get a fresh batch of new business ideas one simply have to search for needs. “I need a” or “I want a” are search phrases that generate excellent lists of real needs and wants of people. So without further ado, here are ten exemples of business ideas skimmed from microblogs, in order of perceived value:

10. Vampire-name generator

9. Social focus groups for feedback on web site design

8. Home-delivery haircut

7. Package delivery from post office to door

6. Dating service for geeks 

5. On-demand fact checker service

4. Cure for insomnia 

3. Hug delivery service  

2. In-office napping solution 

And the number one most valuable business idea according to the needs and wants of microbloggers, as indicated by thousands of munchie tweets and notes:

1. Around the clock snack and beverage delivery service

So there it is. What needs do you find expressed in microblogs that are funny/informative/moving?

Some useful microblog search tips

When you are using the microblog search for monitoring activity regarding your online identity you might be performing a search similar to “twingly“. However, if you are a frequent poster you will get a lot of posts that you have posted. It is easy to get rid of that, just make a search for: “twingly -from:twingly“. That way you get stuff where your name has been mentioned, but not the posts you have written.

This can be taken one step further to just return results where your name is mentioned, without being directed at you. “twingly -from:twingly -to:twingly“.

You can also narrow down the search result by adding a time span. “twingly -from:twingly -to:twingly since:2009-01-01 until:2009-01-07“, this would translate to “show me all microblog posts that contains the word twingly, but isn’t directed at twingly or sent from that user, posted sometime in the first week of 2009”.

The search result for the search phrase “@twingly” will include posts directed to the user “twingly”, but also those who just mentions that specific user.

In the microblogging sphere it is also quite common with something called “hashtags”. This is simply a way of labeling posts. To find posts with a specific hashtag, simply perform a search for the tag you are looking for. “#twingly” would bring you a search result with posts tagged with “twingly”

If you want to monitor these, you can do this via our RSS and email alert features. You find these options in the right side of the search result page as soon as you have performed a search. This will allow you to relax, while our system automatically will provide you with new search results.

Order has been restored

The last day has been a wild ride for our technicians. At first the plan was to get the faulty server back on track, but soon they started working to simply getting rid of it. Today they succeeded with their efforts and our system started to index all blog posts that had been pinged since the server went down. Since there have been a lot of blog posts written in the last 24 hours there might be a delay if you ping us at the moment, but as soon all documents in our queue have been indexed the delays will be gone.

This also means that the administration is up and running again.

We would like to thank you all for your patience.

Trouble at the hard end of the ware

Gandalf fighting the Balrog
Gandalf fighting the Balrog

Twingly is having trouble with data collection. A database server was brought down in a controlled manner to change a faulty memory stick but turned out to not play nicely when it was time to bring it up again. A raid partition problem combined forces with human error to kill the server database on the server completely.

Our full team of technicians are working around the clock to bring indexing back to life again. No data loss have occured, the problems are temporary and will be solved. Twingly.com and Twingly Blogstream remain functional except for the fact that new data is currently not indexed. Twingly Blogstream administration is also affected.

Once indexing is online again the backlog of pings will be processed and order restored. We’re very sorry, please bear with us.

UPDATE: The exact problem is that a file belonging to the database running on the faulting server existed only on the crashed raid set and the database refuses to start without it. The missing file doesn’t contain vital data, but it is required by the database and our efforts to recreate the file have so far been without result. The database is a MS SQLServer unfortunately still taking part in our indexing for legacy reasons. Blog data passes it before being sharded into MySQL.

UPDATE 2: Bad news are now worse. Gandalf (the server in question) has been pronounced dead for the time being. Data recovery service is an option, but shortest path to restoring service is now to reroute data around Gandalf straight to MySQL. This ups the complexity plenty and will take several long hours, we are looking at getting fresh data in again some time during the afternoon tomorrow (thursday). Stay tuned for updates right here and on twitter.

UPDATE 3: The admin system for our customers is up and running again. We are also getting in new posts in our index, which means fresh posts both in our search and on the web pages of our customers. This is currently done via a route around Gandalf, as mentioned above. The pings are now being processed, but since there is a few of them in the queue at the moment there will be some delays if you ping us at the moment. Stay tuned for more updates. /Kristoffer

Teknisk Ukeblad and Vi i Villa new partners

This week two new partners have launched Twingly Blogstream. In Norway it’s Tu.no and in Sweden it’s Viivilla.se. Both are niche sites but have already now some blogs linking to them. With Twingly they want to link back to the blogs and open up to a conversation between their content and the blogosphere.

Well-timed to this, the Swedish blog Börja Blogga (“Start Blogging”) has written a great article (Google Translate) on why and how Twingly could be used to get more traffic for your blog.

Happy blogging!

Why social media search matters

There are some things Twitter is just flat out better at for getting information than Google. Here are just a few: researching companies, products and services for real customer feedback, breaking news and live events/conference updates. It is not a total threat but Twitter is so superior in these areas that people will indeed make the effort to search somewhere new to get the information. I do.

We think this is a very good explanation of why it’s so useful to search in social media. And to make our point clear, this is not only true for search in microblogs but in blogs as well.. Another thing that could be added is friends, family and yourself. To search and follow the people we love and care about most is an opportunity that Google still can’t handle.

Via: Google’s First Real Threat? Twitter. Update: Robert Scoble is writing about it

Chris Anderson observing the growth of freemium

I attended the event Media Evolution in Malmö this week, which was a great event with the theme “Free”. The theme was of course choosen because Chris Anderson, acclaimed author of The Long Tail and the upcoming Free! Why $0.00 Is the Future of Business as well as editor in chief of Wired Magazine, held a keynote on the topic. As with the theory of the long tail, what he produces are observations rather than predictions.

Chris’ keynote and the subsequential panel discussion with people from Swedish media industry, entrepreneurs and artists was very interesting and provided a lot of inspiration. Chris Andersons theory of free and freemium is full of opportunities for companies like Twingly.

One of the things Chris talked about most was freemium as business model. Give away 99% of your service and only charge for 1%. Examples of this are Ning, Flickr, Spotify and to some extent Twingly as well. Services that are mostly free but have PRO-services for users with. An example he talked about is online games like World of Warcraft and Second Life. The players that don’t have time to earn “money” in the game for free by doing tasks could buy it instead.

Like you probably have noticed, there’s no advertising at Twingly.com today and the service is free for anybody to use. Instead of monetizing Twingly.com directly we provide enterprise products. In that sense we employ a freemium business model.

Chris Anderson stated regarding newspapers that “what you pay for is not the words but the packaging”. Which certainly is one way to look at it. The problem is that most newspapers still havent found an efficient packagaging of their product on the web. Notable exceptions exist, but personally I think this is true and that RSS-readers, social media and ending of the print version just are small parts of the solution. But they’re important and with some more innovation we might see newspapers find their place on the web. They will not die, but need to change their business models a lot. Most of our customers are newspapers and part of our mission is to provide tools for them to stay on the leading edge of innovation on the web.

More:
Eirikso, What’s Next, Detective Marketing and Bambuser.