Archive for the ‘Personalization’ Category

PeopleMap: Profile Relevancy makes Network Matching easier


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(Above: This demo of People Map shows individuals with common interests, the closer they are to your center, the more similar)

Last night, in SF’s South Park neighborhood, CEO Mike Walsh of Leverage Software gave me a quick tour of their “People Map” feature, which is part of their white label social networking suite. This features looks for implicit metadata of a community and finds people ‘like me’ and organizes them on a 2D map. This can help prospects find customers, sellers find buyers, and single find other single folks. As you can see if you zoom into the map, there are different criteria filters to select for the right match.

I’ve been looking at other network based recommendation engines, leverage is the first that I’ve seen that offers this as part of the suite (I’m sure there are others, leave a comment if you know of others). See this list of companies that provide Behavioral Recommendations and Social Recommendations Web Services.
What’s PeopleMap?

“Visual Targeted Matchmaking
People MapThe system suggests relevant matches for each individual via both the web and email (based on both profile and intentions). People can also search for people interactively, through the innovative AJAX-based PeopleMap, or by specific attribute. Leverage Software’s matching is two-way, taking into account mutual interests, relevant areas of expertise, and common profile attributes.”

You can see Leverage’s other features on their site.

To me, the first wave of the web was computers finding information for users, now we evolve to add human recommendations (social web), I hear, but don’t fully embrace that the next version of the internet will be the semantic web.

What was interesting is a friend’s son of the company created this image below, an artistic rendition of the PeopleMap features (see first pic below), uncanny likeness! Also, as fate would have it, Kate Swanson (Guitar Heroine below) is a high school classmate.

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Plaxo hosts your important information…and Lunch 2.0


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(Above: Joseph Smarr of Plaxo (and Lunch 2.0 lets’ me Check his Pulse, the theme at Plaxo’s Lunch 2.0, around 300 attended)

Lunch 2.0 was hosted at Plaxo, which has recently launched a new platform called ‘sync’ and a product called Pulse. What’s the need? Personal information from your ‘real’ network of family, colleagues, and friends you actually know have their contact information scattered about the web. Plaxo is offering a flavor of Personal Digital Aggregation that lets you or another user update their contact info and it cascades across all systems, including mobile.

Plaxo has evolved very quicly in the last few years, from fending off a nasty brand attack, acquiring hipcal, and now launching their latest platform, which has social networking components.

Many may not know how this new social network platform is different than many others (or why it’s compelling) so I’ll you respond via the comment section below. Read their post Oh geez, not ANOTHER social network…

Recently, colleague Robert did an interview of Plaxo’s latest platform, check it out to learn more about Plaxo being the Switzerland of social networking.

Below are some pics I snapped during today’s lunch, yeah they have a lot of toys and provided a LOT of great food and drink. There was a (two) DJs, lights, drinks, and lots of games and toys, see pics:

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Oh, and in case you’re wondering, Joseph is alive, he’s pulse is quite fine.

Gleamd a threat to Mahalo and Spock?


I’m seeing Gleamd in a few twitter messages, and I’ve been invited twice in the last 12 hours. What’s gleamd? Its another repository of personal information about people. Here’s their FAQ description

Users write a short biography or find publicly available information on a person they find to be interesting and submit it to gleamd by clicking “add person” on the menu bar. If others also find that person to be interesting, they can vote on it. First they’ll make it to the recently popular que, then the top 3 if they’re really cool!

There’s a point based system for rewards too, apparently, someone thought it would be great to create one for me, Jeremiah Owyang.

Check out my review of Spock (and exclusive interview), and lots of folks are talking about Mahalo.

gleamd for Jeremiah
Above: Screenshot of my gleamd profile, talk about link bait huh?

List of companies that provide Dynamic or Contextual Online Video Advertising


I’m watching the Online Video space very carefully and with great interest, online video will become a force that drives consumer interaction between TV and the browser. In a previous post, I gave some predictions of where Google and online video was heading and David Berkowitz left a comment suggesting that I take a look at This compelled me to create a list of these types of companies

What’s Dynamic Video advertising? This means they can instantly change a recorded advertisement within a video, such as a pre-roll, post-roll, or other type of advertisement. This provides advertisers the ability to change ads across anywhere that video has been deployed, and also provide contextual ads to specific demographics. This is something TV has never been able to do at this micro level

Companies that provide Dynamic or Contextual Online Video Advertising:

Tremor Media

“Tremor Media provides advertisers with in-banner and in-stream video advertising opportunities on top-tier publisher sites with a combined 75 million unique visitors per month. Tremor provides publishers with a full suite of products and services to monetize streaming video and maximize ROI. Tremor’s full service solution provides the necessary tools for advertisers and publishers to utilize online video advertising as a powerful interactive medium.”

Adap TV

“ is a unique online video advertising service that allows publishers and advertisers to match relevant advertising with online video content. The company uses advanced technology that adapts in real time to consumers’ interests and their viewing behaviors. Working with online publishers and advertisers, enhances the viewing experience and extends advertising opportunities by providing highly targeted, relevant ads alongside video content

“ScanScout dramatically expands online video advertising opportunities and delivers advertising that’s smart, timely and relevant.”

Tacoda (AOL)
TACODA® Audience Networks™, the first and largest behavioral targeting advertising network reaching more than 120 million people across 31 discrete audience segments every month. With our innovative programs, scale and reliability our partners can be confident that their advertising is working efficiently and delivering results.

Other lists you may find helpful: List of companies providing Companies that measure or compare Online Video. If you know of other companies that fit the profile of this list, please leave a comment.

Spock Review and Exclusive Interview with Co-founder


I’ve been given a login to the private version of Spock from friend Dave McClure a vertical search engine and was actually very pleased to see what was going on. While I’m often very cautious of people recreating existing communities this one is doing something different and doing something that matters.

Spock is a search engine for people. It has the ability to organize all of one’s personal information and aggreagate on to one page. I had a few questions after I had cruised around the application, think of it as like a wiki or tagging for individuals.

Here’s what I think are some key advantages for Spock: The platform lets us organize information around a person, rather than the applications that collect the data. Users can submit keywords about different individuals, so it’s really a peer based review. Great way for seeing how others think about an individual. You can also find other individuals with similar keywords and features, while there are certainly too many social networks out there this could potentially aggregate all that data for one profile. I see an opportunity to partner with other identity and profile networks like LinkedIn, Plaxo, and even OpenID. At some point the web will need a verifiable identity for individuals, it would be nice to have the option of coupling it with this data from Spock.

Dave connected me with Jay Bhatti, the co-founder and VP of Product, who was able to answer my questions. The intro that matters, are the keywords on his Spock profile:

smartvote Co-Founder of SPOCK.COMvote Wharton School of Businessvote Spock teamvote Spock board membervote product managervote liger lovervote athleticvote not just any bhattivote born in indiavote Accenturevote Wharton MBAvote Co-founder SPOCKvote smelly shirtsvote brown eyes

Jeremiah: I’m checking out Spock it looks interesting, it was great for my ‘ego surf’, as well as find out about others that share similar interests. So what is Spock? And how’d you get that catchy name?

Jay: Spock is a search application that organizes information around people to enable discovery and learning. We got the name in a open domain name auction. The original register did not renew the domain and it was bought by someone who put it up on sale and we had the winning bid

Jeremiah: Why Spock? What’s broken? What does Spock do that Google or Wikipedia can’t?

Jay: Searching for information around people is hard and broken. For example, you probably have thousands of people in your address book, but you could not quickly and easily find those that went to Stanford and work at Google (unless you spend hours organizing all this in your address book). Spock will solve the problem for you to easily and quickly organize the people in your world with minimal effort (Spock and the community will do most of the work in organizing this information for you).

Google organizes info around web documents, we organize information around people. which requires a much different approach (man and machine contribution) and much more sophisticated algorithms (how do we know a page is about a person and not a car? Google does not care what the web document is about, only its relevant keywords. Spock really cares about if the document is about a person, and that is hard to do).

Wikipedia is only for famous people. Spock is about every person on the planet. So, if your looking for a dentist in Sacramento who went to Stanford Dental school, you would use Spock, not Wikipedia.

Jeremiah: What can we expect in the future from Spock? Will this expand to other verticals?

Jay: We will stay focused on people. Spock will not expand into other verticals. We want to be the number 1 search application for people in the world. In the future, we will expand the richness of information around people with features like news and videos organized around people.

I hope this helps.

Jeremiah: Thanks Jay, it does help, good clarifications and segmentations, I look forward to seeing it more widely adopted.


Since most folks can’t login to Spock yet, I’ve been given permission to share a few screenshots, take a look:

Spock Homepage
Above Image: The Spock homepage,spartan and clean.

Jeremiah Owyang's Spock Profile
Above Image: My profile, I didn’t add any of these tags, this was done by my network, guess what people think about my wife?

Spock's Paris Hilton Profile
Above Image: My good friend Paris’s profile (actually she had two profiles in Spock)

All Spock members tagged "Drunk Driver"
Above Image: Tags yield clusters: Clicking on any of the tags helps to find people with similiar attributes, in this case, Paris and friends share “drunk driving”

Final Thoughts:

Spock was fun for the ego search, I could also find folks with common interests, that was helpful and interesting. I find Wikipedia restrictive and non-fun, Spock fulfills this. I see Spock has some interesting ways of aggregating ‘Universal Personal’ info but I would be a bit concerned that Google could easily offer this with some of their new “Universal Search” directions. Most important questions: Would I use Spock? Yes. Would I tell others? Yes. Would I invest money into it? There’s not enough with the current feature set.

A tour of MyAOL, a Personalized Aggregator


Frank Gruber is here,and hes showing the new MyAOL, here’s some of the features.

I really like Frank, I’ve been criticizing his company, and he decided to come over to PodTech to give me a personal tour. I grabbed Tom Foremski, Scoble, Sam Levin and Montana to see too.

Key Web Strategy

The key concept is that the old AOL homepage was AOL specific content, this new version is agnostic to all types of content. This is AOL’s opportunity to be innovative.

Who’s it for? When I think of AOL, I think of a less sophisticated web user. They’re still building this for non-aol users.


-When you create your experience, you select feeds and applications, much like Facebook.
-If you’re new to the whole homepage concept you can get started real quick.
-The feedreader is impressive, it shows highlights of the post when you roll over it
-Video Search, using Trueveo (spelling) search
-It pulls in Google Gadgets (it doesn’t pull in Google ID data however)


-Rather than choose specific items of preferences, it offers images to use which helps to categorize the content you like. A sort of user anticipated content.
-There’s a voting (like Digg) for which content types you like which builds a personal preference profile.
-Mgnet is a tool to help discover new content, (yup, pronounced magnet). It pulls in a lot of different feeds.


They have a full feedreader with bookmarks. It appears somewhat similiar to Google reader, and if you save your bookmarks you could then drop them into a folder and share with others (like Google Reader’s Shared feed)


Did you know you can “Aim Share” and broadcast a message to everyone in your network, much like Twitter.

Wish List
I wish that MyAOL had network effect, I would want to find out what people in my network were reading and how they were using it. There needs to be network features.

I can also see there an opportunity for applications to be built into it beyond Google Widgets. They say that’s something in the future to build out, yet another developer network.

We gave a bunch of recommendations such as APIs, community effects, Shared feeds, and other ways to aggregate the knowledge of your network.

We all know that AOL groups are pretty active, I’d like to see some integration to how it could be used for these tools.

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