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Paul Lomax appointed Technical Director at Pod1

June 10, 2007

Pod1, the creative digital agency whose recent clients include Kurt Geiger, Reiss and Uniqlo, has appointed Paul Lomax to the new role of technical director. Paul will oversee all technology at Pod1 including web development, production and infrastructure. He will report directly to founders Fadi Shuman and Marc Cauldron, and will work closely with recently appointed creative director Serge Manoukian to ensure that clients receive the highest standards of technical delivery as well as the already award-winning design solutions.

Paul joins Pod1 from consumer magazine publishers IPC Media, where he was responsible for digital strategy and new product development centred on mass-market female titles. Prior to this, Paul worked across a series of roles in IPC, latterly heading up their internal digital department which he formed in 2002. Over the next four years, Paul was responsible for launching over 30 new websites at IPC including Marie Claire, Ideal Home and most recently the re-launch of countrylife.co.uk and initial product development on Good To Know. Before joining IPC, Paul was managing director for a digital design, development and hosting company he founded in south Manchester in 1998.

2 reasons the web is getting exciting for the 3rd time

May 31, 2007

In late 2005/early 2006, the web industry got exciting as it went through this whole ‘2.0’ thing – a revolution of sorts. At it’s height so many fantastically unique applications and websites were emerging, based on truly new techniques and technologies.

Then earlier this year, frankly, it got boring.

More sites than ever were being launched, but they were all so samey – nothing new, nothing interesting – just variations on a theme: local stuff, event planning, a social network for yet another niche, digg clones, sharing opinions, map mashups, and more bloody widgets than you could shake a stick at.

But in the last couple of days two things have really grabbed my attention.

They’re technologies really, but ones with really clear applications that I think will have a profound effect on the way web companies conduct their business, probably on a par with AJAX. I’m serious – this is really exciting stuff.

  1. Google Gears – take your application offline (in a good way).
  2. Facebook Platform – reach the social masses – the network is now a commodity.

I’ll post a some more in depth information soon, but in the meantime take a look and have a think about they could apply to your business. If you’re not a techie yourself but you have developers working for you, then get them to have a nosey for you.

If you’re not interested, then you’ve probably only just woken up to social networking – sorry, you missed the boat!

For help on web technology and business strategy, or just for somebody to bounce ideas off, do give me a call.


PS: Fairly unrelated to the web, but Microsoft Surface got me quite excited too…

Google Gears: Bye Bye Adobe Apollo?

May 31, 2007

Google have announced the launch of their latest beta product, the oddly named Google Gears (what happened to clear beats clever?), which seems to be a direct competitor to Adobe’s Apollo and to the recently announced plans for Firefox 3.

Google Gears is an open source browser extension that enables web applications to provide offline functionality using JavaScript APIs.  These will allow web-based applications to store data locally using a fully-searchable relational database (powered by SQLite), with full use of AJAX.

The first Google app to get the offline treatment will be their RSS feed reader.

Facebook Platform is the future

May 29, 2007

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Facebook is the new Google.

BrandRepublic have some good coverage of the new Facebook Platform launch. Their API has been around a while and lets third parties develop applications that interact with facebook data and functions, but the Platform goes beyond this. Facebook Platform lets you build applications that live within facebook. Facebook is the platform. And with the site growing very fast now, it will be the platform if you want to build an application that lets people interact with the friends. Otherwise you’re just re-inventing the wheel and forcing users to re-create their friend networks all over again.

On second thoughts, forget Facebook being the new Google. Perhaps it’s the new Internet? (Albeit a privately owned Internet…)

Mashable have very kindly created a list of 30+ Facebook Platform applications available now, which include some of the usual web 2.0 suspects such as iLike and Magnolia, but some old schoolers are playing too, such as Forbes.com.

Amazon acquires camera review site, dpreview.com

May 14, 2007

Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com) screen grabDpreview.com (Digital Photography Review) has announced today that they have been acquired by Amazon for an undisclosed amount. The site will continue to be run independently from London. Dpreview‘s in-depth camera reviews attract seven million unique visitors a month and generates 120 million page views, but founder Phil Askey, who started the site as a hobby in 1999, says he was struggling to keep up:

“One of the difficulties of operating dpreview.com independently has been the balance between producing content and delivering new site features. Now, with the support of Amazon, I’ll be able to devote more of my time to expanding and improving our features – such as product reviews and discussion forums while still delivering the high-quality content that our readers have come to expect.”

Dpreview.com offers in-depth reviews of the latest digital cameras and accessories, active discussion forums, digital photography and imaging news, sample images, a dynamic digital camera buyers’ guide, side-by-side comparisons of the most popular models, and the web’s most comprehensive database of digital camera features and specifications.

Facebook launches free classifieds “Marketplace”

May 14, 2007

As if the classifieds industry needed another nail in it’s coffin, Facebook have launched a new free classifieds service called Facebook Marketplace. It was rumoured to be powered by Oodle, but now it’s thought to be have been developed in-house.

Could Facebook be the new Google? Can they take decent share of any market they chose to dip into, just from having such a large reach? Their photo sharing service is a very popular feature of the site and could cause Flickr to suffer despite it having a fraction of their functionality. If all your friends are on Facebook, why bother with Flickr? The same goes for their event system competing with sites like Upcoming (now part of Yahoo) and Eventful.

IPC launches InStyle’s UK website

May 9, 2007

Last week IPC unveiled the new Instyle UK website which has been in development from the start of this year and is IPCs first new website launch of 2007. Earlier in the year, Country Life‘s website was relaunched.

The website was developed in partnership with Instyle US, and unlike all other IPC sites it uses Time Inc‘s 6 year-old Vignette based CMS and tools. However it also uses IPC’s Symfony-based “CMS2” technologies that were developed for Country Life.

I’ve not seen any comment or analysis in the press yet – they’re just reporting the launch as per the release.

This is the first IPC site to come out of my old department that I’ve not been heavily involved in, and I think they’ve done an excellent job – I believe it’s pretty much on budget and on time, and from a quick click around has well tested.
The site has much more of a celebrity focus than I’d have thought, with fashion constantly in the background – but that’s the way the US site has been moving recently as well. Previously it was much more product based. However the US site does still cover more products than the UK site, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until they build up the archive over here.

The launch is being supported by a paid-search campaign – which makes sense since they chose to launch with a brand new domain which would get sandboxed.  I noticed that one of the keywords they’re bidding on is [celebrity news], which I’d imagine is pretty competitive – and somewhere we’re going to want to push Now and Look as well.

If anybody spots any critics of the site, I’d be interested to see them. In the meantime, have a look yourself and feel free to comment below.