Thursday, October 20, 2005

Mitesite: A website or webapp embedded in an ad-sized space.

[OK - I had come up with the name parvosite without talking to anyone ... especially dog owners - so the team here talked, and the new and improved named is MiteSite - I'm editing this entry to change it...]

Years ago, I worked at a company called Spidertop. The founders had an interesting idea that they called a StickyAd. The idea being that an entire website could be embedded in a banner sized space. Imagine presenting users with a live view of auctions ending on Ebay in the next ten minutes. Now imagine allowing a user to actually bid on and complete the transaction, all without leaving the site in which they saw the banner. It was an interesting idea that was ahead of its time. The interactivity had to be delivered through a Java applet. You don’t see many applets on the Internet today – and you don’t see an advertisements delivered through them – and the reason is that it takes 5 or 10 seconds for the applet to launch within a browser – and sites don’t want their users browsers frozen just to display an ad. The applet had some interesting functionality – it contained a micro handwritten xml parser, and a small interpreter that interpreted a bean scripting language that ended up being very similar to IBM’s bean markup language (BML). The applet contained the Spidertop server, which could send dynamic commands, including images. While at the company, I met with VCs in New York, and advertising companies in New York and Chicago. Pretty interesting time, but the company went under, owing my consulting company (which is essentially myself and my business partners) a good amount of money, and leaving about 10 people in the lurch, but these things happen.

Working on the Ning beta, and lightly blogging for the past year, I’ve been mulling over some viral ideas. Today I noticed that one of the top sites being linked to according to bloglines is QuizGalary – I try out a quiz: “What is my darkest secret?” Type in my name, and it comes back and tells me that I shared gum with a friend. Gee – how did it know? From a technical standpoint, I’m not really overwhelmed – but hey I do like the idea that right on the page, here’s the HTML code to jump to the quiz from your blog - go put it in there now, and instantly, a few hundred people have put this on their site.

I’m hoping to get something rough put together in the next couple of days that I think will be pretty cool. Just need to find the strength to pull an all-nighter. I believe that now, with AJAX capabilities in most browsers, that pretty compelling MiteSites can be built into a banner sized space. A mitesite can get new content while not affecting any other content on the page. What else can you do with a mitesite? They can include icons to allow them to be expanded for additional functionality. They can be popped-out – coming into their own browser window so that if I’m in the middle of browsing Ebay, and I’m finished reading Slashdot, I can move off with my primary browser without losing my spot in my mitesite.

Hoping to get something going pretty quickly, and then look at making it viral once I’ve worked out the bugs. Stay tuned.


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