Whats up with weblin.com and all its competitors?

Since I moved to munich, I started again travelling the pages which deal with the problem of „making people visible on websites“. So I just took all the known URL’s and tried to revisit them to check out what innovation did to them in the last year. And I was surprised… that nearly nothing has happened. Especially the startup-company weblin.com which even got an award last year and 500K€-funding did not move much. (See on the right how Weblin looks like at the moment)

Weblin still needs some special software which needs to be installed on your system and if this system is not a windows system you could only use the weblin-light solution, which tries to put other websites in a frame to put itself around that site (which many site-admins do not want to happen) and which renders weblin often unusable on websites like e.g. newsmagazines.

Overall I (re-)visited the following solutions:

  • weblin.com which puts animated avatars at the bottom of a website
  • itzle.com which das the same, but doesn’t need extra software
  • eyebees.com which needs a manual installation on a website
  • firef.ly which is completely new to me an therefore i tried it…
  • rocketon.com which is completely new to me an therefore i applied for early alpha testing…
  • me.dium.com that was also unknown to me before and works as a firefox-plugin (just trying this out at the moment)
  • Quek.nl which I totally forgot to check again. Revisited everything the same.

firefly_logo.pngTrying out firefly – which by the way has an url which is not easy to remember – was not really a very pleasant experience. It puts a complete flash-layer above a page when you start it and the huge layer is not really my favourite color. Since huge flash-layovers are really not performing and making the browser pretty slow, using up all processing-power, it was no appealing solution to me. Besides that you cannot continue to surf the web if you want to use it.

whatadminpassword.pngBut… and this but is a real one, the integration of firefly is perfect. They offer several different ways to integrate this in your site, blog or shop. The offer a bar, a button, a switch, and so on. I just integrated the button on the right and the bar at the bottom to test it. Please try it! I will also closely follow the firefly-blog. They’ve done a great job of integration, but still many rough edges. But where do I get my admin-password? This seems to protec the advanced options at the moment, and I do not know where to register or even get a clou about the admin-functions.

I removed the bar at the bottom. It just interfered to much. I will leave the switch on the right. BTW: About weblin I found a nice article on netzwelt.de. Also a nice one with the title „The Avatars Take Over the Asylum – Layered Social Virtual Worlds“ (Source blog.wolfspelz.de)

Update 14.8.2008
I just tested rocketon.com and well, this looks like YWCLW (yet another web chat like weblin and some trading system like in second life). You can configure an avatar with clothing and gimmicks and then you can start buying stuff for… yeah for what exactly? I think for entertainment. You can put gimmicks on websites, e.g. start a firework, or place a door (some kind a link) somewhere. I visited my blog with rocketon activated and it looked like this:

Click to enlarge…

moneyisthewaytogo.pngAs soon as you want to become more social… right you need money. See the screenshot on the right. But this is also valid for weblin. It seems as if rocketon starts copying SecondLife in regard to the money & trading system implemented to exchange stuff. But compered with the original weblin client it is much worse, because there is no real web-surfing possible if you are in „rocket-mode“. It is just some kind’a overlay which renders the website useless except as a playground for rocketeers.

Best thing about it is that a firefoxplugin does all the work. no further installations necessary AFAIK. But again it is boring to run around with avatars. If I want to do that I can check out SecondLife or the even newer and better clone of it: LivePlace.com which sports TV-quality rendering thanks to the OTOY-technology. Nice try by the ambitious rocket-engineers over there at rocketon.com, but not yet the holy grail.

Why do I blog this? Though I found a new solution (firefly, rocketon) it leaves me still pretty disappointed, because there must be another, much better way to increase presence/visibility of people on the web which is not that intrusive to the site. Much space for new ideas… unit I get a better idea I continue browsing the blog of Heiner Wolf and his Newssite about Virtual Presence on the net.

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