SF Techsession, Vast, April 1, and Verticals

April 1st, 2006

SF Techsession 2: Communities and Interaction was a vast improvement over the previous one. Better presenters, better products, better questions, better venue, better food, better open bar.

I confess that I was mildly disturbed that I was able to make it two instances of a monthly even in SF given that I love 3000 miles away, but I can’t imagine there is a third topic as close to my heart as community or calendaring.

Vast on April 1st

Apropos, one of the participant, Vast, the “vertical search platform” has the only funny April Fool’s gag I’ve seen. (I’m not a fan of the holiday) They announced their Credit Cards vertical search today, and its a nicely done implementation. (Vast’s trademark low budget web design adds credibility to the whole gag)

Vast is making noise by “giving it all away”, they’re catchy “Steal this Site” link at the bottom of each page captures the imagination. Except they aren’t giving me the one thing that would be most valuable for both of us. I want to build vertical of data I care about, and Vast wants to learn about new segments, talk about an architecture of participation waiting to happen.

My take away was an idea with the same sense of inevitability that Epinions had, and I worried about similar deep conceptual flaws.

Home Rolled Verticals and Blogs

Speaking of which why aren’t any of the blog search engines distinguishing themselves by providing a search platform ala Amazon’s Alexa Web Information Service? While its relatively challenging to figure out how do something cool with Alexa’s raw index (hence the need for DIY interface to Vast), everybody seems to have a story about what they would do if could convincing crawl the blog/conversation space.

The Others

Skobee is a slick and simple as it seems, built by ex-PlumTree’ers (the folks who also built O’Reilly’s Connection. Also presenting Songbird, and Mozes

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