Online presence

Last year I left Flickr because I was looking for a single site to integrate my storage of photos, videos, and blog. Ipernity offered it all, so I transferred it all. In addition to integration, I also appreciated some of the organisational and playback features at Ipernity. However, the lack of the ability to organise photo albums within the Ipernity site (a basic feature, IMHO) irritated me for a full year. Their blog feature is sufficient, but the offer of user homepage adjustments would be nice, instead of just being able to change the background picture and a few colours. Hence my rejoice at discovering Webjam.

So why not keep my photos, videos, and blog at Ipernity? Not enough eyeballs. The Ipernity community appears to consist mainly of good, arty photographers within Europe, annoyed by some restrictions and/or practices by Flickr. But not hitting critical mass. Therefore, I’m partly reversing my integration move, to replace my content at mass sites.

WEBSITE

Webjam.com
I’ve reviewed alternatives. For starters, Ipernity offers no ability to add anything external to the site. While Ipernity is great for storing photos, videos, music, and blog posts, you can’t actually do much with all this material within your Ipernity site itself. It is missing a trick; a little more business thinking and it could compete for social networking sites. But alas I fear it will stay comfortable with its own kind of community.

Ning.com has 40 million monthly visitors compared to Webjam’s 40,000, but Ning.com’s interface is simply too similar to MySpace and Facebook, i.e. not ideal for setting up and administering online social community groups sites (instead think more Yahoo Groups or Google Groups). I was also frustrated by lack of control of interface on Ning.com; it’s far too rigid. So, although Webjam has low trackage now, it’s modular format is best. The ability to add practically anything to any of your Webjam pages or sites is genius; you can even add freeform HTML or CSS. If Webjam ultimately fails, hopefully something similar will at least take its place.

BLOG

Blogger.com
Clear market leader with near 25 million monthly visitors, followed by TypePad (9 million) and Vox (750,000). I used to be a paying TypePad customer, but couldn’t justify the expense, considering the free services provided elsewhere. Vox just didn’t cut it for me: the hosted picture adverts and cluttered layout. I’m not proficient enough for Movable Type (45,000).

TypePad.com
Upon further investigation, Blogger’s shortcomings include inability to upload any files, especially audio. I’ve kicked TypePad’s tyres around a bit more, and have decided to return.

PHOTOS

Flickr.com
I could keep my photos at Ipernity, but why not join a larger community. The leader by a long mile is Flickr, which has many APIs for it and integrates well with my iPhoto. A competitor to Flickr is not Picasa (which competes more with iPhoto), but Panoramio, recently purchased by Google (which owns Picasa, to add to the confusion). Panoramio’s strength is that is uses Google Maps (while Flickr, owned by Yahoo, uses Yahoo Maps). But besides that, Panoramio is lame: no user-organised sets, no communities, no third-party features. Flickr has 27 million monthly visitors; Panoramio, 500,000.

Finally, while there’s an argument to go with Picasa/Panoramio for Google integration, neither offers ability to mark individual photos as private (only entire albums). The template of online Picasa albums looks dated and underdeveloped. Flickr still reigns supreme.

VIDEOS

YouTube.com
The only drawback to Flickr is its priggish attitudes towards videos: only 90 seconds! This reflects succumbing to the photography snobs on Flickr who wanted to keep Flickr completely video free. Yahoo does have its own video upload site, in competition with YouTube. It’s called Jumpcut (since dropped altogether by Yahoo), and it’s actually a well thought-through and useful site. But at 140,000 monthly visitors, it’s no match to YouTube (62 million). I think Yahoo missed a trick by not converging Jumpcut with Flickr. So, I’ll be transferring my videos to YouTube.

MUSIC

Last.fm
Two concerns: uploading and sharing. Flickr non-starter for music files. Some people misuse YouTube to upload theirs. Music uploads was an Ipernity strength, and I’m inclined to keep mine there, for now. As for sharing your chart lists, etc. (versus your own recordings or files), Last.fm is the clear leader, with 1.8 million monthly visitors. Very useful APIs, too. iLike is good, and has 1.3 million monthly visitors, but just a question of preference for me.

If you’re in a band, it’s a different story. MySpace (55 million) is the one, and Facebook is the pale imitator. For sharing your own files, Ipernity is the easiest to use, but kids are more likely using their P2P accounts for this stuff.

AGENDA

  • Map domain to http://yankinulster.typepad.com
  • Transfer blog to typepad.com
  • Transfer photos to Flickr.com
  • Use Slideoo.com for horizontal slide shows that can be embedded in blog postings
  • Transfer videos to Google Video (better embedding) (but only if >90 seconds)
  • Use TypePad for audio file hosting

iPernity needs:

  • embeddable photo slide shows
  • video embeds without ipernity beta stamp (or at least more discrete)
  • blog layout settings, e.g. days/number displayed, background colours, move items

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