Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Ringside Site Connect

Ringside is bringing the power of the Social Web to any website in two very simple, yet powerful services. Yesterday, we released a demonstration of the idea that any website could easily integrate the idea of Social Activities. Today, we are releasing a demo of our new Ringside Site Connect, which is meant to allow any website with a set of users to allow those users to become social.

Many websites have large and dedicated user bases. Ringside Site Connect provides a simple way for those users to connect with each other within the website, as well as reach out and map users in the large Social Networks like Facebook and MySpace.

In this demonstration, we have shown how the Food Network website could be extended to allow their users to connect thru a social application for people with similar tastes in recipes.

In this application, the Food Network:
- Enables users to login
- Chooses which applications are available (they can use any Open Social or Facebook application, or develop their own)
- Has full access to the user’s social graph

Ringside Site Connect:
- Accepts the identity of the user from the Food Network
- Provides the hosting for the social applications
- Provides the hosting for the Food Network’s social graph

Over the coming weeks, we will be putting up more demonstrations as well as explaining the technology behind it. We will also be looking for early adopter customers who will work with us to test this service out before releasing it broadly. Let us know if you have an interesting need.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Go Ringside for Social Activities

The goal of Ringside is to bring social capabilities to the entire web. Today, we are introducing an early demonstration of our Go Ringside Service that lets any website very simply add a social aspect to any activity.

As we talked about earlier, people are social in small groups around specific activities – going to dinner, traveling on a business trip together, asking friends for advice on buying something, talking about a video on YouTube, etc. There are millions of websites that offer a set of services to individual users for all of these things. As opposed to the large Social Networks, our Go Ringside Service let’s any of these websites simply add a JavaScript tag to their website and suddenly become social.

What does that mean? Well, you can see an example of adding social capabilities to the TicketMaster website. The demonstration shows a user buying a ticket and wanting to also invite some friends to go to the concert. The Go Ringside Service offers the user a way to not only invite friends to this concert, but enables this group of friends to keep track of who is going and to enable a discussion among themselves. If TicketMaster wanted to do some additional work, they could integrate this with our Social Payment service and allow users to buy tickets together in a variety of ways. To be clear, we have used GreaseMonkey to demonstrate this capability and the service is not running directly with TicketMaster.

From the website owner's perspective, a set of little mini social graphs are getting created around their web pages and activities. Having insight to these interactions can provide website owners with additional benefits beyond just making their website more engaging and enabling built-in word of mouth promotion.

Over the coming weeks, we will be introducing a number of other use cases and examples. We will also be describing the underlying technology in more depth for those interested in the plumbing. We are of course making use of the Ringside Social Server, and will be introducing this Go Ringside Service as a cloud-based service that anyone can use for free in the near future.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Social Payment - Part 2

As we pursue our goal of moving the Social Web forward, Ringside is focusing on two things. First to enable websites with user communities to become socially enabled. Second, to enable applications to become socially enabled.

As we had previewed a month or so ago, one of the applications we are trying to socially enable is Payment. One of our great developers, Brian Robinson, has done a video showing the current progress of this project - http://wiki.ringsidenetworks.org/display/ringside/Payment+Services. We are now to the point where we are looking for early customers to collaborate with on deploying this technology and integrating it into their existing infrastructure.

There are three interesting elements that I will highlight:

1. The payment service is designed to work across websites and social networks. In this example, premium sports content is available to users on the SportsNet website as well as Facebook and MySpace.

2. The social payment service provides companies a variety of ways to create different offerings to customers that can expand their business and distribution. The basic concept is that it is simple to add friends to a service. This screen shot shows how a user can select friends from their social network to share the premium sports service with. In the example we are showing, the original user was offered a basic offering for himself at $6.95 per month, or a service that would be for himself as well as up to 3 friends for $9.95.

3. We have designed the Social Payment Service to connect with any backend payment gateways (like Authorize.Net, PayPal or Google Check-Out) or billing services (like Aria, Zuora or LeCayla). This means it is flexible and can be integrated with any existing website’s existing e-commerce capabilities.

Let us know if you have ideas for enabling your company for the Social Web.