Before I start: as this is a regular feature, I'm looking for a forward-thinking company to sponsor the Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-Up. I get a lot of very positive feedback about the Wrap-Up and I know that a number of influential people read it. So if you'd like to sponsor the Weekly Wrap-Up with a banner or similar (nothing inside the editorial though), send me an email at email@example.com.
This week: vertical search, delicious funding, minimedia, Bloglines Universal Inbox, APIs.
"Right now, it’s naïve to challenge the established “horizontal” search players. So anybody who wants to launch a “search” site needs to do it in a vertical/niche, where there is still potential opportunity.
There are a handful of verticals that matter, among them travel, shopping and local (if you consider it a vertical). The traditional classifieds space has significant traction too: jobs, cars and real estate."
On the investment value of it all, the analyst firm PiperJaffray noted:
"We believe three key areas of value include content and search traffic, conversion technologies and comparison shopping platforms, and local search and listings platforms."
My view: as I've mentioned a number of times over the past few weeks, the intersection of aggregation and search is a very exciting space right now. That's where I think the real value of "vertical search" is going to be found - when vertical search results are mixed together and aggregated according to each user's preferences.
More market news
del.icio.us creator Joshua Schachter got funding, which I predicted (actually I said delicious would get acquired, but give that more time ;-)). Jeff Nolan has some thoughts on the potential business model.
Also interesting to see PaidContent getting a rave review for being a model "minimedia" business. Fully deserved too. Staci from PaidContent followed up: "I can report that various options for expansion, including outside investment, are being explored."
"We're not going out of business anytime soon. I can't elaborate on this right now, but you'll have to trust me on that one. (smile)"
In the interests of transparency I should point out that I've not received any offers for Read/Write Web yet. Disappointing. However, I will have some good news about my writing goals by the end of this month (smile).
Bloglines Universal Inbox
Bloglines is starting to ramp up its search/aggregation strategy. Not only did they do a search-based makeover of their homepage (to the point that reading blogs is no longer even listed as an option!), they've released something called The Universal Inbox. From their press release:
"In addition to blog text updates and RSS news feeds, the Bloglines Universal Inbox can track and aggregate many types of web and email based data that helps people stay well informed."
What this is all about is Bloglines moving from a blog-based RSS Aggregator into a personalized information aggregator. They seem to be getting into the same territory as PubSub, especially as they're both interested in "structured blogging" (although I suspect it's more about structured RSS than blogging).
I find the email metaphor a bit odd (universal inbox), but I guess they're trying to appeal to more of a mass audience. Traditionally the easiest way for 'normal' non-blogging people to understand RSS is to compare it to email - and I think Bloglines is using this tactic here. But it's odd because Bloglines is the quintessential web-based RSS Aggregator and I don't associate it with email at all. But I guess that's the kind of perception Bloglines wants to change.
Web 2.0 techy post of the week
Terrific post by Seth Goldstein entitled Media Futures, Part 3/5: API. He notes that in 2005 the Internet has replaced the desktop PC as the primary platform for APIs. Here's a key passage:
"Virtually all of the major Web 2.0 platforms (GOOG, YHOO, IACI, AMZN, EBAY) recognize how critical it is to engage their users in the act of media production, and therefore are (in different ways) releasing APIs that stream their consumers' meta data. [...] the value of a Web Service API is tied to its ability to convert granular feeds of individual data into useful social media contexts."
If you want to understand the value of APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) in the context of social software and new media, I highly recommend you read Seth's post.
That's it for another week. Remember if you'd like to sponsor the Web 2.0 Weekly Wrap-Up, send me an email.