And We’re Off!

Last night we sent out our first batch of invites and the response has been *great* so far (thanks to Techcrunch for posting about it! – Our First Taste Of Magma)

As I noted to those who are using it now, we still have a few weeks of buckeling down to get the site to a state where it’s ready for the public.

I hope to spend more time writing about our experiences with the site before and after launch and will kick things off with a note about the domain name, http://mag.ma

Magma.com turned out to be over $10M so we were were like, nah. Forced to abandon the name or consider other options, we decided Magma was the right name and needed a way. As it turns out consequently, with the domain we ended up with, http://mag.ma we are solving a nice little problem ahead of time; One of the biggest problems with short URLS is that you dont know where they will go. Will this tinyurl http://tinyurl.com/bqqrvx lead you to a news site or a spam site, perhaps? Because mag.ma is so short, its Twitter-friendly anyway, and when you see a mag.ma link, you will at least know where you are going and that it is a video.


Question to the Internetz on API usage

For the last couple of weeks with our new Magma site, we have been hitting Digg, Reddit, YouTube, Twitter, and a lot of other sites, with over 30,000 requests per day, each. For every video we track, we go out and see what’s going on on each of these sites and then continue to check back time and time again.

At 30,000 requests per website, per day, so far no one has mentioned anything.

We’d ready now to ratchet this up to 100k requests per day and foresee the desire for a million requests per day on the near horizon.

Does anyone know what is considered typical usage? If no one cares that we are making 30k requests per day, will they care if we make 100k? Are we flattering ourselves in thinking a million requests per day is significant? Will anyone care? What are good practice API benchmarks on usage levels for companies that do provide APIs?


Lost Views & Tracking Chatter

Just when you thought Google blogs and Twitter search would be a good way to measure engagement for your publications, important, prevalent and significant communities are popping up quicker than they are being discovered & tracked by most people.

This has been one of the joys of discovery with Magma. There is a lot of action out there that no one is seeing or talking about – the kind of chatter that should be getting people pretty excited.

Consider A few examples.


My blog here at Dembot used to be a PHP blog that I built myself, then it was a Moveable Type blog, then it was a Word Press blog, and now its a Tumblr blog but in each case, it looks about exactly the same (i.e. you may not know or care that my blog is tumblr blog unless you have one yourself).

The reason why I am on Tumblr is because in addition to the RSS readers I have built up, I have found that there is an additional audience of people on Tumblr that subscribe to my blog via tumblr, and thus can easily reblog posts to their communities.

For example, see this post below, most of which was not tracked by Google, Technorati or others.


While no doubt about it, YouTube is where the party is at for the majority of the people and the search, etc., other platforms are enduring and becoming more and more significant. At Rocketboom, for example, we dont upload most of our videos to Vimeo, but we do upload our Know Your Meme series. While these view counts are still small by some standards, every audience member that sees one of our videos is pretty damn important to us and we are finding it very worthwhile to be there.


The below is a good example of another niche community that is significant. With regards to the below video which I posted, most all of this chatter and the views generated by this embed are not discoverable without special attention.

Note above that on the FF platform, when a YouTube video loads (i.e. when the image is clicked on, it then loads the YT video and auto-plays. This means that the video will not receive a count. In other words, **almost all videos that are embeded on all of friend-feed are not reported! **. That is a lot of missed views & activity that the video business should know about because they are missing out on accounting for all this value.


Of course del.icio.us is a bit more obvious because its been around for a long time, but it should not be forgotten.

What are some examples you know of that are relevant, for being significant communities but not so obvious?



Today we let the cat out of the bag on Magma. Here is a quick rundown of what the site is!

Magma is an entry point for online video. When you first land on the page you are presented with two sections. The top section shows you the most definitive view to date of the most popular videos on the internet. This is based on a variety of factors including, total views across duplicate videos around the internet, cumulative comments, likes, blog posts, tweets, diggs, stumbles, etc.

It’s not just about popular videos. The second section is recent videos by platform. For instance, you can can see all of the recent (or popular) videos on Hulu, or YouTube, or the most active videos on Twitter, Friendfeed or Facebook, etc. You can also see videos aggregated by blogs, other networks and publishers. The home page is just the the beginning. You can go on from the home page to explore in depth (e.g. show me all sports videos from Brazil and generate an RSS feed; show me all of my friend Ted’s tech videos). And any individual can add any videos or RSS feeds into Magma so that Magma will track the videos across the internet.

Click Image to enlarge:

From the home page you can only do three actions: Watch a video, add it to your queue to watch later, or dive deeper into exploring more pools of interesting or relevant videos.

Every video has an individual archive page. The experience includes the ability to watch the embedded video of choice (i.e. you can select a setting that will always show you the highest quality version that Magma can find, for instance) while viewing cumulative statistics, in depth. Numbers and buzz feed items update in realtime (e.g. while you are watching a video, you may notice an uptick in the view count, comments, likes, tweets, diggs, etc.).

Click Image to enlarge:

(*note: In the above screen shot, you can determine that this video is most popular at this time on Reddit first, and then 2nd most popular now on Digg, it appears as though it was Extremely popular on Twitter, but that was probably earlier on, and it may just now be hitting StumbleUpon. From this, we can infer that because this video is Digg/Reddit-popular, it likely suits the kind of niche personality stereotypically found on these kinds of sites. Play it, Keyboard Cat!)

The third element of the website includes the ability to collect videos, become a tastemaker/curator by building a community of people who like to watch the videos you aggregate, and in general, queue, watch, share and experience videos online with your family, friends and followers. This is where things can get really interesting in terms of filtering and finding less popular videos that are more suitable to your personal interests.

Click Image to enlarge:

In addition to providing the most comprehensive aggregated public view for any video so far, most of our data is available through APIs so other statistical businesses, platforms and developers in general can use Magma’s data set to enhance their own projects.

Thus, there are three main use scenarios for Magma that position it to become an entry point for video online:

1. The majority of people who use Magma will likely come to the home page, watch a few videos, and then leave. Due to the dynamic changes that occur across a day, it’s possible some of these people will enjoy hitting the home page up to a few time per day, habitually as a source of entertainment.

2. Publishers who put videos on the internet may want to direct their audience to Magma to show-off the most impressive viewpoint of surrounding buzz. (e.g. instead of sending their audience to a link on YouTube to see the video, they may want to send their audience to a link on Magma because it may show more views, comments, etc. than on YouTube.) Furthermore, as Magma grows, it could become an important bench mark for anyone creating video online, much like the Billboard charts is to music. Even today with what we have built already, if your video hits the top charts, thats pretty impressive.

3. The third major usage of Magma is by people who create accounts, add videos they find around the internet into Magma, add videos to their Magma stream (to collect) and/or build up their own community, to naturally become tastemakers by propagating videos through to their friends. (e.g. if someone has 100 followers on Magma, every time they add a video into their stream (say a video that they found on Magma or even on YT that they think is funny), that video will then get sent out to their 100 followers who may watch and further propagate the videos, adding more views and distribution, naturally. By integrating with Twitter, Facebook, etc., Magma users can auto-post through (e.g. you can configure Magma to automatically send out a Twitter message when adding a video to your Magma stream).

The business model is simple. Statistics and advertising. Magma demonstrates the democratization of video statistics from the center of a transparent fire-hose. Re: advertising, we have integrated a premium space (not seen in above screenshots) that sits right next to the most popular or most relevant videos on Magma, for anyone who has a video that wants it to be seen. For example, if a company like Next New Networks or CBS, or any individual has a new show that they wish to promote, they can buy a premium space on the Magma home page, or on a relevant related page to gain extra exposure to a particular video.

Finally, if you remember, way back in the day, when you wanted to watch TV, there was only one place to go and funny enough, it wasn’t TV. It was the TV Guide. It had its iterations in print, but it was a key selling point for any Sunday newspaper and if you wanted to know what was on TV, you had to have a TV guide.

From charts to  guides to stats to friends to likes, there is one thing that has not changed: People like to watch the moving images that they like to watch. All together, everything about Magma is obvious. Its just that the time for Magma wasn’t six months ago and in six months, it will have been too late.

Want to get involved now? Beta testing will begin with 100 people this week and the site will go live in about two weeks. Interested in investing? We have just begun talks for assembling a small seed round and are open to anyone interested.

Thanks to Jamie, Greg and Todd who built Magma from ground up, line by line, and to Kenyatta and Ellie for helping to run the show.

I’m excited to reveal the actual website URL for Magma. Until then, you can find the sign-up on our temporary dev site at http://hotlikemagma.com


Artists Commandeer Manhattan Billboards

NPA Outdoor operates over 500 street level billboards in NYC ranging in size from approximately 4’x4’ to 50’x12’ all of which are said to be illegal.

NYC artist Jordan Seiler formed The Municipal Landscape Control Committee to improve the offended space.

The group mapped out and targeted locations around New York City.

On Saturday April 26th, 2009, the NYSAT (New York Street Advertising Takeover) siezed approximately 120 billboards around midtown Manhattan by painting the signs white, and then adding their own art to the space.

When the police and other authorities questioned the group’s activity, a decoy work order was proven effective.

Expanding curatorial responsibilities in the city.

The complete interview available on Rocketboom: