Simkl came out of private beta and opened up to the world as a publc beta this week. Simkl History Saver saves all of your IM conversations, maintains a backup of contacts, and provides a search interface for your chat history. The service is compatible with all of the major chat clients (48 in total) out there, including iChat for Mac OS X, AIM, ICQ, MSN, Yahoo, Trillian, and Adium. Simkl has been testing in private beta since December 2007 with more than 10,000 users.
Otis Collier has posted this demo of Simkl on YouTube (he is not associated with the project).
“Dipiti is the largest collector of message board and service provider content relating to things that matter most in our lives; the health and welfare of those we care about, including our pets.” That is the description of Dipiti on their site. The Dipiti Community Team has reviewed and scored thousands of community and expert sites. Dipiti users also review and rate the services, providing input based on their real experiences.
Dipiti currently connects online users to 2,322 communities and 28,979,436 conversations.
Dipiti rates sites on several criteria:
- The number of threads compared to other sites in their category
- The level of activity on message boards
- Date of last post on message boards
- Search functionality of site
- Consumer control of your privacy
Dipiti isn’t really a new idea, but it is an improvement on existing ideas. There is a lot of room in the search space for well implemented human-assisted search. AI and algorithms can only go so far in ranking content. At the end of the day, it takes the eyes and brain of an informed person to judge content. As user base for Dipiti grows, it should increase in its accuracy and usefulness.
Jaanix lets users tune into the exact type of content that they want to see, instantly and in real-time. Like other “personalized” sites, with Jaanix you need to tell it what you like by rating existing bookmarks, making comments, making new posts, and tagging. When a post is ranked, it is also ranked for like minded others.
A bit of an issue with the site is that it relies entirely on tagging. However, the site does allow users to retag a post if they don’t agree with how it was originally tagged. There are sliders to the right of the page that let you quickly change your interest. Changing the sliders does not affect your normal personalization. There is also an RSS subscription for each page, which is kind of like making your own RSS feed for specific keywords.
The site doesn’t offer too much newness and the design feels odd… maybe I just need time to get used to it.
BillShrink hopes to help customers save money on their bills — and the first bill they are attacking is the cell phone bill. Customers will answer a set of questions related to their cell phone needs and be given the opportunity for BillShrink to access their cell phone account and analyze their habits. Based on the information gathered, BillShrink will suggest an optimal plan and add-ons offered by a variety of providers. BillShrink plans to move in to other areas eventually.
The company will primarily generate revenue by generating leads for marketers. The company has been under development for 7 months and is now headed by Peter Pham who was formerly the VP of Business Development at Photobucket. The site will launch in a couple of weeks.
Rollbase is a on-demand application development platform for business users that uses point and click, drag and drop tools in a standard web browser. The service is designed for users who aren’t programmers. There are a few pre-built applications for Rollbase in the Application Directory – including bug tracking, customer relationship management, and a document library.
The platform is relatively easy to learn and simple to start development. I signed up for the 60-day trial and was designing an application in minutes. There is a video demo of the Rollbase Beta posted on their site.
There is currently no pricing posted on the Rollbase site, but the service competes with the Saleforce.com platform so expect pricing to be inline.
“Fundability helps investors syndicate more deals and Startups find the funding they need to grow.” Fundability is a marketplace where entrepreneurs and investors can come together to make deals. Startups post a company profile including a video elevator pitch and product demo. The site provides a secure area for information exchange for due diligence through the funding process and allows startups to send progress updates directly to interested investors. Investors can find, track, and invest in deals that meet their individual requirements. Fundability charges entrepreneurs a monthly fee of $49.99 for access to the site.
Start-Up TV Network, Inc., the parent of Fundability, raised $3 million from Velocity Ventures in January where co-founder and CEO Steve Nilan is a Venture Partner. Fundability claims to have helped a couple of startups during their beta launch, however both case studies published show that the startups were funded by Velocity Ventures so it’s not totally convincing how well their platform works.
According to market researcher NPD Group, Apple’s iTunes has become the number two music retailer in the U.S. behind Wal-Mart. The ranking is based on sales numbers for 2007. NPD analyst Russ Crupnick said that there has been “almost 50% growth in digital downloading in the past year (2007).” The group claims that about 10% of music acquired in the U.S. was through legal downloads for last year and that the customer base of digital downloads grew by 5 million for a total of 29 million. NPD also points out that the amount of music purchased in the U.S. rose by 6% in 2007, but due to the decline in CD sales and the increase in digital download sales music spending is down 10%.
A group of eBay sellers have been on strike since Feb. 18. Since then, third-party tracking sites dealscart.com and medved.net show auction listings on eBay have dropped 13%. The drop is auctions cannot be directly attributed to the seller strike due to the seasonal swings and normal fluctuations in eBay’s listings. For instance, a one-day promotion run by ebay on Feb. 13 offering discounts of fees increased listings by more than 20%. The striking sellers were looking to drive eBay’s total listings below 12 million, but so far have only succeeded in bringing the number to 13 million.
eBay declined to comment on third-party statistics and does not publically release its listing totals. Jim Griffith, dean of eBay Education, said the boycott “has had no impact on our listings.”
Last week, The New York Times published an article titled “Web Movies Show Why DVD’s sell.” CNet’s News.com posted an article covering the exact opposite position – “Digital Downloads will be Blu-Ray’s Downfall.” Which one is right?
Sony supposedly paid Warner Brothers $400 million to drop HD-DVD and go with Blu-Ray. Now there are some signs that maybe Toshiba had other interests in mind when they conceded the HD battle.