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Books & Articles I wrote.

Thursday, September 01, 2005


Anonymity on Vidyo?

I'm considering allowing anyone to anonymously post on Vidyo.

Why? Well two reasons. The first is that people may have somethng interested but don't want to be identified - there may be some important local news that someone wants to put on withut everyone knowing who it was.

The second? Well, I am trying to get a new kind of person involved in my site (as well as those experienced writers) - people who maybe dont have a blog - or don't really post anything online - perhaps in a forum or two. Everyday people who just know something about the local community, but the thought of being identified makes them unsure. Trust me - this is something i get from around 50% of the people i speak with offline about this idea.

I don't think it's that they NEVER want to be identified, but there is a real belief that if you post, someone 10,000 miles away will know your house and phone number. Anonymity would help newcomers post, but not have this kind of worry.. and after a while they will become more confortable and start posting with their name signed.

The negative result is spam - as Dan Gillmor talks about.

Would being signed in, but posting anonymously work better? A lot of people probably want to post without having identified themselves in any way. I do have some thoughts on how this could be done - we'll see.

I do wonder whether a distributed P2P service - like the email equivalent of Coudmark, that allows the community to say "this is spam" resulting in a hash that can be checked against posts over the web and hence filter out the spam. Maybe one exists?

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my comments (beta)

David Beisel has a interesting post on the slightly ridiculous numbers of sites that are now publically beta. I added comments there, but wanted to add them here too (not having built in trackback is a pain).

I just read We the Media where Dan Gillmor talks of his interest in Google News. He wrote the book in early 2002 and Google News was already in beta at that point for some time. Now, more than 3 years later it is still in beta.

For years i versioned and released alpha and beta versions of code. With Vidyo i haven't really bothered - when you start it's a matter of whether people see value in what you have and that takes time. If it is good they'll use it, whether alpha or not.

On the web as you say all meaning has been lost. Personally I think most services (especially web 2.0) are alpha. I think the key point is that many services are thinking about their revenue model - while they are in beta they can still do and say all for free. It then gives them the option to move out of beta and start to charge. There must be a zillion Web 2.0 sites out there saying "free in beta".

Personally, I think you have to go with the community. With a brand new service, until you get community feedback and reach a tipping point allowing some way of making money from it you are always in beta as you might need to change your entire strategy to make money.

FWIW i remember certain very big software companies making version 0.1 - if that the first release or 1/10th what the first release will be?

Please note this post is free to read whilst we are in beta.

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