Free web 2.0 business idea

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Free web 2.0 business idea

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OK.

You want to be cool. You want to be an entrepreneur. And you want to start a shiny new web 2.0 company. Here’s an idea for you:

You 2.0. Or myspy.

I can’t decide which name I like better. But here’s the idea in four words: persistent painless personal history.

Got that?

The idea’s free. If you do it, let me know. I’d love to help in any way I can. But I’m not doing it myself, for a perfectly valid reason that might stop you too.

Here’s the idea
The business is simple: build a Firefox plugin and an Internet Explorer toolbar that do nothing but report what websites you’re visiting to a server. That builds a list of sites that you’ve visited.

That’s basically it. A few details:

  • You can go back to see the sites you’ve visited in the past
  • Others can see what sites you’ve been to
  • You can display the sites you’ve visited as a feed to your blog
  • You can search your visited sites
  • You can search all the sites that people have visited
  • You can see popular sites displayed on the home page

Over time, you build in more cool features by spidering and auto-tagging pages that people are visiting, and building pretty (but oh-so-useful) tag clouds on users’ home pages.

Pretty cool, huh? Neat for an individual, and cool because a community could develop around it. As digital becomes a huge part of our identities (Flickr, blogs, MySpace, etc.), wouldn’t you want painless personal history?

There’s only that one problem I mentioned earlier. Actually, there’s two:

1: Filthy lucre, or lack thereof
I can’t figure out how to monetize it. And without monetizing it, it would just be a cool project that, if it got popular, would bog down under its own weight of server and bandwidth costs.

In other words, I’m not convinced AdSense would cover the bills.

2: Competitors
There are three or four potential competitors that could totally and completely kill it:

  • Alexa
  • Mozilla
  • Google
  • Microsoft

All four of these already have or very easily could have toolbars that install and essentially phone home on every click. That done, the rest is easy. And for Alexa and/or Google, it would be right up their alley.

Tempting
Still, it’s tempting. You 2.0. Myspy. Persistent painless personal history. Inherently social.

Spyware where the spy-er and the spy-ee are the same person.

I like it!

Full disclosure: I ran this idea past Guy Kawasaki, and while he thought it was cool too … also did not see a viable business model. He’s a pretty clueful guy. But if you decide to prove us wrong and try to make it work: go for it!


2 Comments

Arcterex

May 1, 2006at 7:27 am

I’m not sure that showing the world a list of the websites I visit is a good idea, last thing I need is all my visitors saying “Why does this guy keep going to hugeknockers.com…. ?” 🙂

John Koetsier

May 1, 2006at 7:34 am

🙂

Hence the name “arcterex” and other pseudonyms …

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