ITNorthWest Voice

This is a blog for all the technology entrepreneurs based in the North West of Ireland - musings about our business, companies, interests, trends and any other random thing that hits us.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Tablane -- New Year Revolutions

After two months, two and half thousand downloads and four releases, we’re out of beta with our Tablane browser. This means we can move our executable onto, get much better reach and start competing for bigger download numbers. The biggest development in the fourth release we put out on 30th December 2005 is that our Collection feature is now in the RSS XML format. So, Collections of links can easily be bundled into an RSS feed. This puts us in sight of being able to display RSS feeds directly in the browser – something that is part of Internet Explorer 7.0 and will clearly be a widespread innovation across a variety of browsers during 2006. This innovation is also a springboard for an online service we expect to bring out within another couple of months whereby Collections can be posted and shared. If you want to try out an RSS Collection, why not check out a Collection of links Fergus has posted on this blog towards the end of last year. You can either download a file with an .rss or an .xml suffix. Needless to say, its best reviewed within Tablane itself, where all the links can be opened automatically as individual tabs, with multiple viewing lanes if desired. Just download to your desk top and then use Tablane to open it. We continue to face two fundamental challenges: Getting the word out about Tablane and then making money. Google's AdWords has served its purpose, but with its ever changing algorithms, pricing and lack of transparency, I have lost confidence in its ability to deliver what we need – genuinely targeted, predictable promotional services. We have posted a listing on Yahoo too, but again, I am not convinced by its marketing potency. Blog coverage is the most powerful source of traffic. Here serendipity, alertness, and Technorati are the most useful sources of potential coverage. This, plus good word of mouth, is how we are getting steadily noticed. But adapting our browser for specific uses, and marketing it accordingly, is clearly a good idea that we need to pursue actively. When we think about making money, we need to take into account Microsoft’s strategy across a number of fronts. There’s a good digest of this here from Seattle Pi. The full release of Internet Explorer 7.0 will help stabilise the terrain by removing uncertainty as to its final shape, but our future depends more on the desire of people to rationalise their access to the ever burgeoning content on the Internet plus the efficacy and openness of search engines. Thus MSN is more significant than IE to us. It doesn't matter if a search engine responds in milliseconds, if it then takes half and hour to burrow around to find what is actually relevant. Or you can't easily recover what you did last time you searched. We still think this is the opportunity. Most interestingly, the direction set by Alexa, a search index backed by Amazon, with an open API, is fascinating. Given that we are building an on-line service, you can sense the relevance of this. We hope you continue to watch this space as we try to resolve our debate about whether to pursue a general Internet or specific market strategy or both -- with limited resources, but a deep well of innovative ideas. We've got this far spending less than the cost of a modest second-hand car. Whatever happens, 2006 is going to be exciting. We hope the New Year brings you peace and joy.


Anonymous Richard Rodger said...

I wouldn't give up on adwords just yet. It took me about 6 months to really get my campaigns in shape. You have to keep trying different ads, different keywords, and different targetted sites. Then you have to monitor and refine it every single day. It's a big investment in time, but it will pay off.

1/03/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Julian Ellison said...

Fair comment Richard. We won't give up on AdWords. After all, there aren't any other viable alternatives just now.

My frustration is that the underlying algorithms are so opaque and subject to unilateral change. One of the predictable consequences of a company growing very big, very quickly is that internal agendas and perspectives, rather than customer requirements take priority. My sense is Google is no exception.

Basically, more competition is needed in this area.

1/04/2006 11:15:00 AM  

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