Hearst Corp. buys social shopping site Kaboodle

Hearst Corporation, parent of Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and a host of other magazines, plans to announce today that it will buy social shopping site Kaboodle. On Kaboodle, users tag, review and refer products. The site get 2 million users per month.



Web 3.0 : Are we there already?

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People have been discussing Web 3.0 for at least a year now! Jeffery Zeldman talked about it but more in the sense of “lets get off this Web 2.0″ merry go round and move on to the next ride in this amusement park that we call the web.

Andy Carvin said:

First, we had Web 1.0 - the read-only web. Then came Web 2.0 - the read-write web - all of these services that make it easy for us to contribute content and interact with others. If you keep up the programming analogy, the next phase would be Web 3.0 - the Read-Write-Execute Web.

And Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google discussed it a few days ago. He said that while Web 2.0 was based on Ajax, Web 3.0 will be:

“applications that are pieced together” - with the characteristics that the apps are relatively small, the data is in the cloud, the apps can run on any device (PC or mobile), the apps are very fast and very customizable, and are distributed virally (social networks, email, etc)..

Not sure why he defined Web 2.0 as “based on Ajax”; I presume it is a euphemism for “interactive” and not a technical term.

If this is what the definition of web 3.0 is, then we are here already! We are already doing mashable things and using web 2.0 to distribute it.

Honestly, this numbering scheme troubles me; every time a vendor releases software that is deemed as “major upgrade” I keep thinking that somebody just fixed some bugs in the previous version, got some more stickers to put on the box and now wants more $$$ for the new version.

I hope thats not the case for Web 3.0.

If you have any doubt, check around: how many of the Web 2.0 applications that you know are still in beta phase? Shouldn’t we wait till they are out of beta testing?

It’s either that, or the whole Web 2.0 was really Web 3.0 in Beta testing.


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Clicktale: Watch what’s happening on your website

Clicktale has just released their web analytics program. It is one of the latest in a host of web page analytics applications, but with a twist. It allows you to track users as they interact with your web site. It actually shows you movies of visitors as the click and scroll through your site, and even records the time that hover over a link.

Clicktale offers heatmaps like CrazyEgg, whom we reviewed earlier, as well as other analytics data such as pages visited and links clicked. However, the neat feature is the recording that they provide of each visitor to your site (you can tell them how often you want to track visitors eg 10% of all visitors to your site). If you change your website, you still see the original interaction of the visitor with the site as it was at the time of the visit, because the pages are cached.

As with other analytics programs, Clicktale requires you to install a piece of JavaScript code on the site that you want to track. The program starts working immediately, archiving clips of visits to the site. There is also a very good search program that allows sifting through the recordings.

While it is interesting to see aggregate analytic information as with Google Analytics, there is a certain unique insight that can be obtained from watching a user interact with your site. The clip above is a recording of a user as they scroll through the bizorigin website. You can see how they got to your site (Google search or referral from another site) and follow them as they scroll through the site. You can see, for example, if they found the article that they were looking for, when they did the search. Or you can see how they skim over certain articles, while pausing at others.Again, like the other programs (other than Google Analytics which is all free), Clicktale gives away the first 100 visitor recordings per month on two domains, free, and then charges up to $99 per month for 1000 recordings a day, and up to 8 domains. The most expensive version also allows tracking of secure pages which can be useful for tracking visitors purchase activity.

Other applications that provide similar tracking and viewing features are tapefailure and robotreplay.


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CrazyEgg : What’s hot on your website

CrazyEgg is useful web based application that generates an activity heat map for your website. It is a visual clue as to which links on your website people are clicking on, and how often. CrazyEgg is in the category of applications that fall under the heading of web analytics, which includes Google Analytics.

Google Analytics is a sophisticated package for performing detailed studies of web traffic. Amongst a host of other stats, Google Analytics also provides an overlay of your web page, with key click numbers (number of actual clicks, and percentage of clicks that a particular link is generating, out of all clicks on the page), laid out on top of the web page. Google does not present the data superimposed graphically, on the web page, in the same manner that CrazyEgg does.

ImageCrazyEgg shows a very nice pictorial display of the web traffic, in the form of colored hot spots. The visual layout presents a quick perspective to webmasters who want to determine which elements of their site they need to optimize. The CrazyEgg application also presents numerical data in the way Google does, but if you are a person who tends to visualize more in terms of spatial elements, than numbers,this sort of a projection is more useful.

One very clever marketing gimmick is the button on the website that induces you to start testing your own website in two easy steps, using CrazyEgg. This is not the long sign up process where you have to provide the name of your first born, and other details. The first page lets you enter your website address, and the second page gives you a snippet of tracking html. Pretty easy and straightforward. I am guessing they used some heatmap optimization themselves to come up with a good conversion funnel for their own site.

There is a free option on the site that tracks up to 5,000 visits per month, on up to 4 pages. Paid plans (up to $99 per month) allow tracking of more pages and visits.

As of earlier this year, the Los Angeles based CrazyEgg had 45,000 users signed up, half of which are active users.

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