No Offense #1: Edgeio.com will fail

March 5, 2006 - Get free updates of new posts here

I have decided to create a new series called “No Offense” which will highlight web 2.0 companies that are most likely to fail or not be uber successful. I must preface this article that this writing has nothing to do with the people at these companies more of the idea and/or the implementation of the product.
Will I be wrong? Some of the times. What’s the point of spewing negative verbage? Discussion of course, now with:

edgeio logo

Edgeio in a few sentences: A site that aggregates posts from other sites about items for sale. Uses tagging/pinging services to acquire new listings. Created by Michael Arrington of Techcrunch fame. TONS of people said great things about the site (Silicon Beat, Mashable, Jeremy Z) but I think otherwise.
3 reasons Edgeio won’t make it:

1- del.icio.us / technorati: Edgeio is meant to collect pings from blog entries that are tagged with items that are for sale and aggregate them on their site. There are 2 hugely successful sites that collect and organize tags from blogs. Why can’t we just create a standard for selling items in the tagging architecture? For example, items can be: ‘forsale, city, item, price’ why do we need to create a new system when one is in place?
2- Blog Penetration: Seriously, when will major bloggers and people realize that no one reads blogs. WTF are you saying Noah (yes, third person reference:)? I am saying blog readers are a very small majority that is overhyped and few things ever leak out of this small world to go to the rest of society. I think of my parents writing a for sale item on their blog and I just can’t imagine it.
3- Personal: My blog is my personal space and why do I want to post things for sale on there? Can’t people tag fake things for sale that Edgeio will pick up as well?

Bottom-line: What’s wrong with Craigslist and eBay? Everyone is already there, yes there could be easier ways for them to post things or find what you are looking for, but is anyone complaining? Also, if Techcrunch wasn’t backing this idea what would you think? Hopefully he’ll still invite me to the parties:)

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14 responses to “No Offense #1: Edgeio.com will fail

  1. wen-wen lam Reply

    Not everyone on this entire green earth blogs. Trust me, because I come from a lovely place where people do not always blog.

  2. derek Reply

    the day that blogs become nothing more than classified ad platforms will be a sad sad day.

    i agree with the fact that edgeio fails to bring anything to the table with real “wow” power. if anything, the service is attempting to harness the sucess of current services by what… aggregating items for sale? i received an early invite to the service a few weeks before public release and was not at all impressed. if anything, i spent much of my time wandering the interface looking for something to catch my eye without nary a result.

    immediately after leaving the page i dropped into craigslist and posted a single item and had three inquiries within the hour. that’s power.

  3. Pete Cashmore Reply

    Hi Noah,

    Yep, I liked the idea of Edgeio – and edge aggregation – a lot. But an innovative idea doesn’t always equal business success. Basically, there are 4 problems: spam, defensibility, the need to have a blog and the need to change blogger behaviour. Edgeio is (correctly) anticipating that the distributed web will be very important in the future, but it may not be able to bring about that change single handedly.

    More here:

    http://mashable.com/journal/edgeio-and-the-problems-with-edge-aggregators/

    And here:

    http://mashable.com/2006/02/27/here-come-the-edge-aggregators/

    BTW: If I were you, I’d add 3Bubbles to your “no offense” list. Without a major change in their strategy, I don’t think they’ll go anywhere.

  4. J.D. Amer Reply

    Noah – I completely agree. Do you think anyone would be talking about “edge content” without Arrington repeating that concept 600 times?

    As for the problem that it solves, i think that it is supposed to solve the problem of not being able to reach the right customers. But, this really only works if edgeio gets copied so that by blogging in one place, your classifieds get listed on a number of places. Thus you can hit all potential custmoers in one shot. But, we don’t really have a wrong customers problem.

    Also, if the idea does catch on (I think a higher percentage will be blogging than you do) Ebay and Craig can easily make the service available so that their users don’t have to switch to blog aggregators. And if they don’t switch, the Edgeio effort is pointless.

  5. Ryan Pollock Reply

    Nice to see you writing this, Noah. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. If I had time and if I could be more mean, I’d write it myself.

    Anyway, when I heard about Edgeio, my first reaction was…why? Why would I use it? Why would someone build it? I’m sure that some subset of the blogosphere will in fact use it, and perhaps Ebay will buy the site someday, but I haven’t figured out what real value Edgeio and a number of other Web 2.0 companies are adding. If there’s something I want to buy or sell, Ebay and Craigslist work great.

    As fun as this hoopla is, I’m looking forward to when most of these startups die. No offense to the walking dead, of course…

  6. Bjorn Reply

    I totally agree with your 2nd point, that blogs will find it hard to reach the majority of people on this planet who are not heavy internet users or have access to high speed access.
    However, despite low blog penetration, I do think there’s still quality blog content out there, question is, how can we monetize it? I have an idea on using the upper-middle tier blog content (i.e. A to D content) and market it as replacement content for the magazine publishing industry? Can a business model be built to create a disruptive alternative to the traditional paper publishing industry? Paper will not be replaced entirely, i think a value proposition lies out there where we can integrate online content with offline reading preferences (i.e. paper)

  7. Damon Z Reply

    Kudos on the new series. You might even what to take it a step further and send or link the post to the people at edgio. Thus. it gives them a chance to defend themselves or otherwise benefit from the analysis.

  8. Joe McCarthy Reply

    I don’t disagree with any of your observations, except the claim that no one reads blogs. Recent Pew Internet surveys suggest that while “only” 9% of Internet users write blogs, 27% of Internet users read blogs. There are dramatic increases in the number of blog[ger]s, with Technorati tracking over 27M and seeing the count double every 5 months, MySpace (if you count users there as bloggers) at 54M and growing by 1M / week, and you know better than me about the number of Facebook users (5M? 10M? though, like MySpace, perhaps not blogs, strictly speaking, but users are posting online content regularly). And it takes one to know one (or read one), so as more and more people are authoring online content, I think we’ll see more and more people seeking out online content in the “long tail” of web sites maintained by non-professional content creators (bloggers).

    If EdgeIO can be incorporated into other services as an additional feature (like Technorati tags), then perhaps this will be a useful distinguishing capability — although Technorati and del.icio.us are well ahead, they are more general, and so a service specifically geared toward tagging items for sale may offer a useful niche.