I don't particularly like the word "moblog". I don't think it sounds as good as "mobilog" which, to me, is more descriptive, doesn't scare the suits as much and generally rolls off the toungue better. Mobile + Log. But hey, it looks like the meme is out there... I wonder how hard it would be to change it? I think if I could convince Joi, Marc and Dave, it'd be done.
In terms of domain names, a quick look on Register.com shows there still some decent TLDs left - though moblog.com and mobilog.com are both taken. I'm partial to the .us TLD actually, especially for mobile devices because it's short, connotates both my country and togetherness (the word "us" not the initials "U.S."). Your thoughts - especially if you're not American - may vary ;-). I've sworn off domain names, but mobilog.us looks really nice to me right now. But it's like a fever... it'll pass, I'm sure.
Okay, so I'm sorta blocked on developing any blogging stuff - and have been for months now - because I'm obsessed with two thoughts. 1) Mobile technology is where the future is and 2) how can I make money from my exta-curricular development. I think developing a UPP would be cool and useful and I can imagine that as soon as there was some base code up, it would start getting the same level of attention that Eclipse got. But then it would disappear into "just another OSS PC project" and wouldn't get me any closer to my goals of developing for mobile devices.
So here's may latest thoughts: A Mobilogging site. Here's what I think, and you can tell me whether it's a dumb idea or not. I'm sharing because there's no reason to keep it a secret since it's just a variation of what's out there already. I'm thinking of a customized version of Blogger.com targeted to mobile devices. I want to use my Manywhere name and logo, so I'll probably shunt my technology stuff somewhere else and use that domain for this, so let's call it Manywhere (as I call all my new and brilliant mobile ideas... ;-) ).
So on Manywhere.com you could be able to:
- Select various pre-created weblog templates or upload your own custom weblog templates (like blogger).
- Have multiple UIs for posting to your website: HTML, WML, Email, SMS, MMS and more.
- Publish your weblog to another website via the different Blog APIs and/or FTP.
- Support for photos and multimedia (from your mobile device).
- Support for quick-pick Presence Info: Office, Home, Starbucks, Etc.
- Support for quick-pick or pre-written posts (typing on a phone isn't fun).
- Support for GPS related info - (i.e. posts marked with Date/Time/Location).
- Support for online news aggregator formatted for mobile devices.
- Support for secure posting - encryption, SSL, or VPNs from the phone
- And more mobile-related features as I think of them since this is what makes this site different.
Here's a business model that might work:
- Free version would allow 3 posts per day - but no disk space or aggregation
- Subscribers would get unlimited posts, aggregation, disk space online and more controls (photo album, etc.)
- All the software would also be packaged to be sold or licensed (source-available). I would also like to publish parts of the app as OSS.
- The site could target specific mobile phones and devices and provide sponsered links like Gizmodo.
- Provide "corporate support" meaning high-availability and integration with corporate back-end systems like Notes and Exchange. This could be another, more expensive option.
So the idea in general is to provide all the pieces of weblogging (posting and aggregation) via mobile phone packaged up as a service (manywhere.com) or to be sold to corporations or telecoms.
One of the exciting parts of mobilogging is the opportunity to use a website as a place where people (family, coworkers) can come to find out about where you are. Whereas Blogger will probably never include controls to show your location, a mobilogging site would provide easy to update location choices or maybe even use GPS information when that becomes common. There are lots of other capabilities that haven't even been tapped yet.
Now, let's think. If there's 500,000 bloggers out there, let's say 1% of them are interested in mobilogging (5,000) and 1% of those are interested in paying for this service (50) that's not a lot of money coming in to make it worth while. However, it might be enough to provide a stepping stone to other mobile services or just as a general advertisement for the software itself.
Here's my thoughts on that last part... First, every website in the world is going to be "mobilizing" their content in the next few years. So if you're providing "services" at first you're just competing with a few cutting edge sites, but within months, the Yahoos of the world will start competing with you and that'll suck the oxygen supply out of any mobile service unless its insanely unique. This is why part of the business plan is to sell the server-side code as a product. If the dot-com collapse has shown companies out there anything, it's NOT to rely on small third-party websites for vital parts of their business, because they could go *poof* at any moment. Giving corps - and especially telecoms - an option to buy and host their own services (and that's where the back-end Notes/Exchange integration comes in.)
In addition, get a grassroots number of people using your site and then you convince the telecoms that they need this to be competitive and hey, more people mobilogging means more people using MMS and broadband services, which means more money in their pocket.
That's it in a nutshell. Notice how none of this takes experience writing C++ code? That's why it appeals to me. I can learn C++ dev slowly to write cool clients while starting to get into the mobile world as well as keep my feet in the weblog community.