Well well well, we have reached the end of the Pop Idol of Silicon Valley, and despite all the innovation, one winner had to be selected, this year the prize went to RedBeacon. RedBeacon is a new platform that allows you to hire local service providers online without any phone calls. While it is kind of an interesting service, it didn’t get me excited about its offering and potential as Udorse did. RedBeacon does facilitate people’s search for service providers but doesn’t really bring anything new to the table – in my opinion at least -. On the other hand, Udorse manages to take photos tagging to a whole new level.
Facebook Photos Tagging:
One of the features that made Facebook photo sharing so popular is enabling you to tag your friends and give names to the people in your photos. Today, instead of calling your friend and ask him about the girl with him in the photo he posted to his Facebook account, you can simply figure out her name – and potentially other information if her profile is public – through the simple tag in the photo.
Udorse develops the concept of Facebook’s photo tagging and adds a new dimension to it by allowing users not only to tag people but also tag any item or place in the photo. It allows users to add a new layer on top of any photo, add names, personal comments and URLs to the identified items. While a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes you just need to emphasize on something in the picture and tell your friends: “Hey, pay attention, this is good!” and then link it to wherever they can find more information about it. In person, we always manage to tell the entire story behind a simple photo of ours, and on the web we add some comments below it, but with Udorse, we can now point out, comment on and recommend every single detail.
The Commercial Side…
Udorse opens the door to the commercialization of personal photos. While I can see this may pose great concerns to many, I can also see that it is where the strength of this platform lies. Allowing people to endorse items or places in their photos and further promote them opens up huge business opportunities and interests (if done the right way). That is a side that is appropriately addressed by Udorse and which allows its users to earn money for their endorsements and either earn cash using their Paypal accounts or donate them to charity organizations (Armani and American Apparel has already partnered with Udorse).
I believe that the business side of Twitter is what helped make the platform this popular – I’m talking about allowing companies, bloggers and anyone with something to market/say do so freely-, and I believe that Udorse can gain a lot of popularity if they focus on that. What is better than recommending a restaurant to your friends than actually having a photo of you eating in that restaurant, right? Facebook could have won many points if they had come up with the same functionality, after all the whole Udorse service is built on Facebook’s photo tagging concept, but hey, Twitter don’t have it, so why should they? (pun intended).
Udorse has a great potential to succeed if they play it right. They have already secured $500,000 of funds earlier in June. It could have been easier for them if they had just built it as a Facebook application instead of a stand-alone separate platform. The platform, like any other social networking site, will start reaping its benefits when enough users start using it, otherwise it will fall flat. I am sure that their presence amongst the top 50 startups at the TechCrunch event will give them a great push, and I hope that this review will catch other people’s attention to jump in and give them the support they deserve.
Finally, I am just disappointed with the lack of presence of Udorse founders (Trevor Austin and Geoffrey Lewis) on the social web. For instance, on Twitter, Trevor has only tweeted 4 tweets and has 7 followers so far while Geoffrey is MIA! Udorse official Twitter account enjoys only 70 followers and has issued 42 tweets so far! Trevor has his own blog but he barely mentions Udorse on it! If they want Udorse to succeed they better work harder on their social networking engagement.
What do you think of Udorse? Will you use it to recommend objects in your photos to your friends? Will you be checking their own endorsements? How much potential is there in this platform? Let us know what you think in the comments’ section.
Update: A few hours after writing this post @Udorse replied to us on Twitter explaining: “We couldn’t blog or tweet about Udorse since we needed to be in stealth mode per #TC50 regulations” and “I blog at Geoffrey-Lewis.blogspot.com and Trevor promises to mention udorse more now in his personal blog :-)“