Too often companies describe what they do in ways that the majority of people just don't understand. We're no different. So here's an attempt to describe what Others Online does in a really simple language called LOLSpeak.
I've never been one to think in terms of calendar years starting/finishing -- rather I view new years just as I do new days or months, as simply a progression of time. I suppose it's because of this that I've never embraced either resolutions or predictions. But I do like to recognize achievements now and then.
Others Online started building our core technology in 2006, and the company pretty much flat-lined for most of that year as we dealt with an emotionally upset and litigious [former] consultant. So 2006 pretty much sucked. In 2007 we got back on track, added some amazing investors, launched consumer services and grew that user base nicely by the end of the year. But by January 2008 it was apparent that our affinity profiling technology was more valuable to online media companies (B2B) than online consumers (B2C). So 2008 was the "year of the pivot" for us.
As I look back on 2008, I am extremely proud of what Others Online has accomplished, notably:
Successful shift from B2C to B2B, earning valuable customers, real revenues and an AMAZING pipeline for 2009!!
Quietly launched our Affinity Profiling Platform
in mid-July, moving our data center infrastructure from our own servers to an elastic, cloud-computing infrastructure -- thereby allowing us to scale much more rapidly to meet demand.
Since July, expanded our cookie footrpint to nearly 80M.
Since July, developed over 52M rich profiles comprised of over 3B individual affinities, based on almost 300M Web searches and well over 1B page views across nearly 1M sites.
Added a half-dozen incredible angel investors -- the caliber of people whose accomplishments humble mine.
All this despite the declining economic conditions in 2008! So while I'm not one to generally congratulate ourselves on a job well done -- rather I'm much more inclined towards the "only the paranoid survive" school of thought -- I am quite proud of what we've done as a team in the last year, and I'm ready to face the challenges of 2009. In fact, I believe 2009 will be a much better year for this company than 2008!
I'd like to especially recognize Mike Dierken and Neal Richter for their dedication and hard work throughout the year. These guys are machines -- they continually challenge me, themselves, and each other to outperform -- and it's because of them that we've been able to accomplish so much as a small team.
Happy New Year, and thank you all for your continued interest and support. May we truly add value to your business, and money to your coffers.
As a result of the exposure caused by Others Online being listed on KillerStartups.com, our data center is being taxed beyond reasonable limits. The hamsters we employ to keep the servers going are dutifully jogging in their wheels though, which means we should be just fine.
If you feel sorry for the little guys, please give us a vote -- it may not mean much to you, but it makes their little hamster hearts swell with pride!
Wow -- lots of conversation about BlogRush and their blog traffic generation (or lack thereof). We've been paying attention to those reporting their click-through rates (CTR), because we've been measuring that for the Others Online service too. Net net, we're achieving a better CTR for our users than they are for theirs. Before I tell you why/how, here's a fun challenge we're inviting bloggers to.
Sign up for Others Online and compare our click-through rate (CTR) to BlogRush through September 30. If we don't do better, we'll paypal you $10. It's that simple. If we do better, then well I should hope you'll write about us on your blog. Either way, it's win/win if we can get your honest feedback.
Why is our CTR better? We think it because we're displaying the author not the post. You see their picture, online status, links, interest, plus what you have in common -- much more authentic, engaging, inviting and personable, don't you think? Plus you see them on the basis of (we hope) a better relevance algorithm, which is transparent and 100% user-controlled. We also give you reports on your visibility across our network of users/publishers, and the ability to improve your visibility and rank.
I hate rules as much as you do, but here they are:
We have to limit this to first 500 bloggers, ok? -- and you must be located in the United States and be 18 years of age. You also have to be an authentic blogger -- spam blogs will be nuked.
Please sign up at www.othersonline.com and enter the keyword "OO CTR Challenge" as an interest tag (on your profile), so we can count you as a participant. Hell, use that tag wherever.
Properly complete your profile so that all the checkboxes in the "guidance panel" are filled in (click picture to the right). Don't worry, it's way easy.
Please place the Others Online widget (of your choice) in at least as good a position on your blog as the BlogRush widget.
This fun little experiment is over on September 30 and you have until October 6th 2007 to claim your $10. To do so, just email us a screenshot of your stats.
Our primary goal with this challenge is to have some fun and get some valuable feedback from you all. At the same time, you'll get more exposure with no amway-like pyramid scheme. So waddya say? Take the challenge?
There's a new guy on the Others Online team, and he's going to be using much "smartyness" to improve the Others Online experience. His name is Neal Richter. Neal lives in beautiful Bozeman, Montana and as you can see he's quite the fly fisherman! ;-)
Neal has years of experience in software engineering and engineering management. For the past seven years Neal has been working actively in the field of artificial intelligence -- as a PhD student at Montana State University and as Project Manager of the research team at RightNow Technologies. Neal's done some incredible work in the area of search (applying evolutionary algorithms), and it's just plain scary how closely his opinions on the next generation of search and social software resemble ours.
We're way stoked -- he's going to add serious value to users. Go be sure to visit Neal's blog to get an idea how he thinks. Welcome aboard, Neal!!
<recruiting_speak> If you get excited about taking a hands-on role leading the architecture, design and development of Web applications and services in the area of social search and contextual profiling then Others Online wants to talk to you! We are looking for a software engineers to take ownership within different areas of our people discovery service and its technically challenging areas of personalization, contextual and semantic relevance, profile quality and effectively matching people with people. See our jobs page. </recruiting_speak>
<blog_speak> Ok, we're funded for a while, and we need to hire a couple solid solid devs that know how to kick serious ass. If you're smart and feel like now would be a good time to make your mark and roll the dice with a startup in the area of social discovery and search, you really ought to talk to us. Look, startups can be harsh and you're not going to be paid 100% of what you're worth. But unlike most other companies, you'd actually have direct influence on how much your stock is worth -- if you can stomach that sort of pressure! </blog_speak>