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Here are today’s exciting Yankees win startup and entrepreneurial updates:
- Pingdom adds Twitter alerts – Pingdom
- The Seven Deadly Sins of Drupal 7 – Sloth edition – Acquia
- Trick or treat! – Vivaty
- Why send real gifts when you can send virtual gifts on Ning for $1.50! I am totally sending a troll to someone I know! – Ning
- 5 Best Apps to Take on Date – mobClix
- Drop.io launches version 2 of their API – Drop.io
Earlier this year on our sister site we reported on a Love Bus which allowed daters to all ride a city bus in the hopes of finding that special someone. Now Air New Zealand has launched the Matchmaking Flight which also hopes to bring together singles in the hopes of finding that special someone 35,000 feet in the air.
The Matchmaking Flight website uses a Ning-powered social network. The site offers info on pricing and allows interested singles to signup for an account to participate. There is also a blog and a dating search based on the site profiles – you can select from US or Kiwi people.
The flight will depart Los Angeles International Airport for Auckland, New Zealand, on October 13, 2009. Matchmaking Flight passengers will be encapsulated in the matchmaking experience, including: a pre-flight gate party; themed food, drink, and games throughout the flight; entertainment; and a large-scale, singles-only party at the SKYCITY Convention Centre in Auckland.
The Matchmaking Flight looks like a fun idea and I like the usage of the Web to drive interest and start to bring the participants together.
A basic search shows a price of $1,800 from NYC. The bus ride is a couple of hours while the Matchmaking Flight could be 12-14+ hours! Continue reading “Air New Zealand Launches “Matchmaking Flight”” »
Boston-based Mzinga has announced a new partnership with Playboy today. The partnership means that Mzinga will power many of the social media components for Playboy. Terms of the partnership were not disclosed.
Mzinga notes, “Various Mzinga social media applications — including discussions, article comments, ratings, reviews and social profiles — have been embedded throughout the Playboy.com site, enabling users to connect and interact with Playboy writers and each other on news and topics of interest, and post and read reviews of the best new movies, music, video games, places to travel and more.”
I felt it necessary to do some browsing on Playboy to verify that the social media applications were in fact embedded and from what I can tell by going under the covers (hey!) it does look like Mzinga is embedded. It looks like some of widgets actually note Prospero, which Mzinga acquired last year when they raised $32.5 million.
Interestingly, PlayboyU is still hosted by Ning – I wonder if there are plans to move that to Mzinga in the future.
Earlier this week, I noted on Twitter that every startup should have a press page. A page that includes: logos in multiple formats, short bio of the executives, photos of the team and/or executives, basic stats, contact information and links to other important information. Make it easy for writers to write about you. Check out my post about Peanut Labs – the logo in the post is the only size logo they have on the site. Wouldn’t it be great if I could embed a logo that was on a white background and much larger? What about including a photo of the CEO who I interviewed? Remember that you want to make it as easy as possible for someone to write about you – don’t make them do the work.
Another critical page should be a status page. This page should live outside the network of the startup and should house the current status information for the startup. I don’t care if it’s on a shared blogging platform like WordPress or SquareSpace, it’s an absolute must.
Known for it’s downtime, Twitter has no public status page. There’s a developer Google group which appears to house some of the updates when the service goes down, but nothing public and so all of the Twitter users are left wondering what’s up. If Twitter had more communication when there are unexpected issues, I think users would be more understanding.
Here’s a current example — apparently video message board Seesmic was down last evening. Investor Michael Arrington posted a semi-marketing, semi-rant piece about the downtime where he explains how important communication is between service and its partners. I assume when Mike speaks about his company’s usage of Seesmic, he is actually referring to the 800+ sites using the tool (weren’t they down as well???). Last week, Seesmic partnered with Disqus to push the Seesmic video commenting tool to any sites using Disqus’ blog comment replacement tool. I suggested that it was too soon for a major partnership. The unfortunate thing is that so far CEO Loic LeMeur hasn’t posted about what happened, why it happened and what is being done to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Loic did note that he is working to make sure "it" doesn’t happen again.
As soon as you notice there is an issue, stick it on the status page. It can be something as simple as, "Mooprz is currently down, we are investigating," with a timestamp and a contact form. Once the issue has been resolved, note that as well. After any investigation has completed, come back with an explanation.
I know that when your product is not functioning correctly, you want to get it back working as quickly as possible. The moment you take to update the status page will keep your customers informed on what’s going on and reduce possible emails as well.
In my opinion, having a status page is a sign of trust between a company and its customers. Just make sure to put the status page outside of your network so if the network is down, the status page is still up!
White label social networking provider Ning has been offline for the last hour or more. Founder Marc Andreessen noted in March that Ning had over 200,000 networks. For the last hour, all of them have been down. Blodget pegs the company’s valuation at over $560 million. Is unplanned downtime acceptable for a company thats in the half-a-billion club?
As of 7:05 Eastern, Ning shows an all clear message and the social networks are up-and-running. No update has been provided yet as to what happened. I have an email into Ning and will report back once I get an update on the reason for the downtime.
On Friday evening we linked to a story that looked at the traffic to Ning and that a good percentage of it was coming from the porn networks built on the Ning system.
Founder Marc Andressen posted a lengthy reply last night about the porn on Ning and it’s well worth a read. In it, Marc notes that Ning is "pro-freedom" whatever that means. He then goes on to say, “we think a better approach is to let people fundamentally do what they want, as long as it isn’t illegal and doesn’t otherwise violate our terms of service.”
I have no issue with porn online. I just believe that for the sake of the Ning brand (or Scribd, who we also noted was running porn) it would be better to move the porn off of the main site and onto a porn-oriented social networking platform. It can utilize the same codebase as Ning does, but just call it something else where those who want to be sheltered from it, can. And I understand that Ning-based networks can be protected so only registered members can get in. I applaud Ning’s policies on content and moderator abilities within their network.
There are pros and cons to moving the porn off and to a separate domain. The largest con is that it hurts traffic to the main site. Less traffic means it’s harder to sell advertising for a premium rate.
The pro is that it would allow the social network to sell ads at a higher rate on the adult-oriented site. It would also guarantee that advertisers on the main site would never have their ads shown near content they might object to.
Lastly, this doesn’t just apply to Ning but to any social networking provider. Splitting the adult content from the main site just makes sense. Porn is a huge business and shouldn’t be banned on white-label social networking platforms. Just move it to a separate URL so it can be branded and marketed more effectively.
CPM Advisors is reporting, based on some analytics analysis they completed, that some of the largest social networks built on the Ning platform are adult-oriented.
Pornoworld Pomworld and GirlOnGirl both receive over 3.5% of the traffic to Ning overall on the x.ning.com domain. Some Ning customers use full domain names so that traffic isn’t reported by CPM Advisors.
Valleywag has some additional commentary on the findings including, "Ning’s terms of service do not forbid pornographic content, so no rules are being broken here, it seems." Valleywag has a full list of the top porn networks on the Ning platform.
And don’t forget, the Playboy University social network is built on the Ning platform as well – though nudity is strictly prohibited. Probably why no one is using it.
We also reported on Scribd and their porn documents as well back in October.