- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
Comment reputation service SezWho is announcing a new partnership with Instablogs today. The new partnership will bring the SezWho platform of ratings and reputation management to the blogs in the Instablogs network. This summer SezWho partnered with IZEA and Entrecard.
The company has also announced that they now incorporate feeds from BlogCatalog.
Lastly SezWho has released some updates to their platform which include: filtering, customizable pop-ups with reputation information, templates to handle threaded comments, and multiple WordPress installations on a single database.
Back in July SezWho noted that they managed 2.5 million conversations. Today they note that the number has jumped to 4 million conversations. Check out our interview with SezWho CEO Jitendra Gupta.
On the Entrecard side, JoeTech put together 10 reasons why the SezWho/Entrecard partnership is important for bloggers. In the Entrecard community, the SezWho service seems to be well received so far.
Frederic at ReadWriteWeb has a different perspective on the announcements. His article title suggests that SezWho is in desperation mode and signed these deals to try to catchup with Disqus. Frederic notes, "Overall, this is an interesting, yet somewhat desperate, move by SezWho. In terms of publicity, it has been in the shadow of similar ventures like Disqus and Intense Debate." and concludes by noting that Izea is deceptive, Creative Blogging is spammy and Entrecard is niche. I’d like to share my thoughts on his post.
Never once when I read the news did I think that these were moves that signal desperation. Distribution is key for a service like SezWho and while many tech bloggers hate Izea and CEO Ted Murphy, he has access to a large number of bloggers. That’s a smart business move because if any of the Izea bloggers take the SezWho service and subsequently leave Izea, they keep SezWho. And note that I am not a big fan of what Izea is doing either, but having been on the corporate marketing side for nearly 10 years, I get what they are offering. Using Izea as a middleman to get to their set of bloggers for distribution makes sense.
Frederic also notes that "SezWho is under a lot of stress from Disqus and Intense Debate…" I’d love to see concrete proof of why SezWho is under a lot of stress from Disqus? Both Disqus and Intense Debate are building strong products but because SezWho isn’t a valley darling, does that mean they are facing pressure and stress? In fact, I guess Intense Debate must also be under a lot of stress from Disqus as well since they aren’t written about or discussed as often.
We see over and over where one company in an category is a valley darling and gets constant hype (no matter their results) while another company continues to build a product without the hype.
The hypothetical question for Frederic is, if Disqus made the exact same deals today, would you have said that Disqus was in a desperate situation against JS-Kit, Intense Debate and SezWho?
I’d also like to add that I think it was a mistake for SezWho and FutureWorks (the PR agency) to go out with all three releases at one time. I’ve written about the news flow topic before but knowing that many Web tech bloggers find Izea’s services to run on the other side of the fine line, splitting Izea out into a seperate release would have made sense. This would have allowed Entrecard and Creative Blogging to not lose the spotlight over the Izea discussion.
Even more importantly, by splitting up these releases by a few weeks, this would help to keep SezWho top of mind. By sending out three at once, now we may run into a "cold" period for SezWho news. I am sure Brian and his team at FutureWorks have a plan but I wanted to share my thoughts for other startups that don’t have a PR firm. Space out your news and keep your brand top of mind.
The blog commenting space continues to heat up. Disqus, IntenseDebate, JS-Kit and SezWho are all trying a variety of different techniques to attempt to win over the market. Of the companies listed above, only SezWho isn’t a comment replacement service. Rather, SezWho provides a social layer on top of the commenting service you are already using.
Today SezWho is out with three new partnerships to help increase distribution of their social commenting layer application. The partnerships include: Izea’s SocialSpark, Entrecard and Creative Weblogging. These companies have mainstream appeal and these distribution partnerships should help the take rate for the SezWho service.
SocialSpark is basically the new name for PayPerPost and you can check out a video demo of the service by Izea CEO Ted Murphy. Ted claims they have 190,000 registered bloggers (no info on actives) and those bloggers will have the ability to add SezWho into their blogs.
Entrecard is a advertising swap service that is popular with making money and search engine optimizer blogs. By installing the SezWho service on an Entrecard-enabled blog, the blog author can receive credits to use in future ad swaps. Last month they made a change to remove quick drop pages from the service.
When I spoke last week with JS-Kit founder Khris Loux, he spoke about the importance of scale in this new comment service business. SezWho claims that these deals will help reach over 200,000 new bloggers. The company also notes that they track 2.5 million pieces of content.
Check out our interview with SezWho CEO Jitendra Gupta to learn more about how the SezWho service works.
Comment reputation service SezWho is announcing the acquisition of semantic intelligence provider Tejit today. I spoke with SezWho CEO Jitendra Gupta who said that Tejit’s technology will help SezWho with semantics translation. He wouldn’t disclose the financial terms of the acquisition.
Gupta explained that their reputation service which provides registered commenters with a score will be enhanced to provide sub-scores based on the vertical to which the person is commenting. For example, a technology person might have a very high reputation score in technology but that score shouldn’t carry over to politics or entertainment.
SezWho provides an add-on to the commenting system you are currently using on your blog or forum. Unlike popular comment replacement systems Disqus and Intense Debate who completely replace the comment system on a blog or forum, SezWho sits on top of the current comment system provides a variety of additional beneftis and still carries the discovery that the other replacement systems offer. Gupta noted that many of the new replacement services are walled gardens and have high switching costs including loss of search engine optimzation and data ownership.
Gupta ended the call by stating that the acquisition of Tejit will help SezWho to become the leading and best reputation service online. Check out my interview from last year with Gupta.
Both companies are based in San Francisco and the 3-person Tejit team will become part of the larger SezWho team.
SezWho has also provided the chart below which they say describes the differences between their service and the comment replacement systems (Disqus and Intense Debate).
Ratings and reputation provider SezWho has announced the launch of the 2.0 version of their application today. The first version only allowed ratings on comments, now you can rate the initial content as well. The SezWho blog has the 2.0 version installed and displays the content ratings in addition to the comments. SezWho does a great job of tracking a user’s comments and ratings across multiple sites.
The 2.0 release offers more platforms as well – Drupal, Blogger and even phpBB forum software are supported. There’s also a new SezWho Developer Toolkit which includes an API to allow you to expand the ratings service to more platforms. Lastly going with the flow, SezWho now offers a feed showing the latest rated content. This is a great feature as it could drive users past the home page.
The content ratings piece seems similar to what Outbrain offers (which we currently are using, non-paid) except that Outbrain provides suggestions on other posts based on the ratings and content of the rated post.
Check out our interview with SezWho CEO Jitendra Gupta to learn more about how SezWho works and how they differ from the competition (Disqus, IntenseDebate, Outbrain and JSKit).
Earlier this week we wrote about the updates and funding announcement from SezWho, a reputation management service. Check out our SezWho review along with others from Web Teacher, Webware and VentureBeat. To learn more about where the idea came from, how it’s marketed and monetized along with what’s coming next, I spoke with Founder and CEO Jitendra Gupta. The transcript from our discussion is below.
Allen: Can you provide a brief bio about yourself?
My name is Jitendra Gupta and I am the Founder and CEO of SezWho. I have over 13 years of experience developing and managing software products. I started my career as a software engineer in the EDA industry where I worked for Xilinx and Viewlogic Systems (acquired by Synopsys). In 2000, after obtaining my MBA, I joined Siebel systems as a Product Manager for Siebel web platform – the platform used for all Siebel applications. I left Siebel in April 2005, to join InQuira, a search company, as Director of Product Management. At InQuira, I managed the company’s flagship search product. I am the author of our company blog and occasionally contribute to the ReadWriteWeb blog.
Allen: What’s SezWho?
SezWho is a distributed context, rating and reputation system for social media sites like blogs, forums, wikis, video/picture sharing sites, discussion boards and anywhere else where people collaborate on the web. SezWho is focused on delivering benefits to all stakeholders in social media interactions:
- Readers can easily separate quality content from uninteresting content.
- Contributors get recognized and rewarded for their efforts by building portable credibility.
- Site-Owners benefit by having a more engaged community and get additional traffic based on SezWho’s unique contributor-oriented content discovery system.
Allen: Where did the idea come from?
The idea came to me when I was looking at support forums for Linux and ending up having a terrible experience with finding quality content. There would be so much noise sprinkled between nuggets of quality content. This made a lot of quality content go to waste. I thought the best solution to the problem would be to organize the content on site on an additional user dimension and introduce and ratings and reputation system. Once we started on it, it became clear that there is an application for a service like ours in a number of different social media sites like blogs, photo sharing, video sharing and pretty much anywhere there is user generated content.
Allen: How does the service work?
The SezWho solution has three main components:
- SezWho Plug-ins: These plug-ins allow users to rate contributions, access profile views and highlight useful content through an AJAX interface. These plug-ins are available for a number of social media platforms like blogs, wikis, discussion boards, social book marking sites etc.
- SezWho Server: The SezWho plug-in calls a web service on the SezWho server to update the latest posts, comments and ratings. The SezWho server collects the latest interactions and calculates and sends the new reputation scores. The server also servers up the collected data as user profiles to the browser.
- SezWho Web Portal: The SezWho web portal allows users to register and manage their public profile. In addition, it displays public profile information on users and statistics for bloggers and contributors.
Allen: Why should a blogger install your app?
SezWho is designed to deliver value to all stakeholders in social media interactions. Please see the table below:
|Drive traffic by leveraging your community||Good contributions are rewarded by building reputation||Makes it easy to find quality user generated content|
|Increase community interactions and engagement||Recognizes quality contributors as leaders in the community||Enables readers to evaluate and follow quality contributors|
|Leverage old content||Portable reputation – reputation carries across social media||Provides the ability to influence content without directly creating it|
Allen: What does the SezWho team look like?
We have a team of 9 people that is made up of 6 engineers (split over US and India), 1 marketing, 1 business development and 1 User experience engineer. Some of the team members are part-time contributors.
Allen: Who are your competitors?
We don’t have any direct competition but we are most closely compared with reputation services like RapLeaf, TrustPlus, Venyo or community services like MyBlogLog, Others Online or comment replacement services like Intense Debate or Disqus.
Allen: Why do you believe SezWho is a better choice than the competitors you listed above?
We are different then most of the existing reputation services because we focus on reputation in the sphere of social-media. While other tend to focus more on eCommerce side of things. In addition we have a patent pending reputation algorithm which we developed with top researchers in the area…This algorithm imitates the way reputation gets transacted in the real world. E.g. in real world a positive rating from a well known person carries a lot more weight than a recommendation from somebody of less repute. Similarly we ask users for their identity at the time of rating and then use their reputation to assign proper weight to that rating. This makes our system very robust and hard to scam.
We are better than reader based communities like MyBlogLog and OthersOnline etc. in the sense we provide value to all the stakeholders in a social media interaction – the reader, the contributors and the site owners – while providing right incentives to all to improve the conversation.
We differ from comment replacement services like Disqus and Intense Debate is that we are not looking to be a commenter community like ID or Disqus…We are focused on providing value directly to the site owner with tight integration and not drive traffic to other sites for profile views etc. We think the site owns the community.
Also we leave the comments where they are rather than take over the comments from the site. As such we see ourselves as a service to improve comments (and other social media interactions like video sharing sites and forums etc.) rather than a platform FOR comments.
To be honest we are really not mutually exclusive with comment replacement systems…Both ID and Disqus have a built in reputation service but we are working with other commenting platforms (that compete with ID and Disqus) to provide reputation services to them. It is also conceivable that sometime in the future we could provide a reputation and rating service even to ID and Disqus…We are simply focused on being the best rating, reputation and context service for the social web.
Allen: How do you monetize SezWho?
We are planning to offer several value added services like community analysis and SLA based services, that we are going to charge for.
Allen: Can you provide some stats about who is currently using your service, top types of documents, etc?
We have over 120K users and are on over 350 sites and ramping up fast. We expect with the introduction of Red Carpet and Badge widgets – new ways to communities to incentive participation, our adoption rate will only increase.
Allen: Can you provide some of the elements of your marketing plan?
We are planning to work with individual social media sites and aggregation sites to drive adoption.
Allen: What’s coming next from SezWho?
We are working on supporting other platforms like Wikis and Forums…in addition to enriching our blog offering by enabling ratings of posts.
Allen: What are the most important things that a startup must have to be successful?
I think the most important thing for a startup to succeed is to have a good team. Also a big idea has a way of motivating people to help and give more than their 100%.
Allen: Which feeds are you reading these days?
Thanks for your time Jitendra!
Editor’s note: I was provided a 8AM Easstern embargo but other sites have already posted earlier (TechCrunch) so I will post as well.
Yesterday we wrote about Disqus launching their comments tool and today we have another, SezWho. For a demo of how SezWho works, check out my friends at ReadWriteWeb and VentureBeat – both sites have the SezWho comment tool embedded. If you check out my title, I note that SezWho might be the best of the pack of comment tools. Why? Continue reading…
SezWho builds up distributed ratings and reputation which in simple terms means that your comment here on CN can add value to your comments on RWW, etc. In speaking with SezWho CEO Jitendra Gupta he said that the idea is to "carry your reputation with you" and can help CN leverage whether you should be allowed to comment directly or require validation, etc. The team has filed several patents around their technology.
They aren’t building a destination site but rather a distributor site – meaning that they want bloggers to use the tool. They offer a free version and soon a premium version with more features and access. The team recently closed a $1 million Series A round of financing.
Here is an example from VentureBeat:
The new features they are rolling out today include:
Stats for commenters Verification system so no one can "fake" your account "Red Carpet" which shows the top rated commenters on a site A badge to show your score within the SezWho network – Jitendra suggested that site owners might use the badge to show how they work with the community
Back to why I think it’s the top of the crop. First, comments remain on your site and aren’t touched in any way. Search engine optimization remains, no issues with "what if this startup goes under" and it keeps everything nice and tidy. Also, the widget is placed on top of the comments and adds value to both the reader and the site owner. I could see a great mashup of Outbrain’s personalized ratings plus SezWho’s technology on the comment side to create a powerful force in comment ratings.
Some have asked me when or if I will install any of these tools (JS-Kit, SezWho, Outbrain, Disqus, etc.) and the answer is that I am still working on a strategy around this area. Our relationship is most important to me so whatever I add has to add value for you and has to make sense from a technology standpoint.