Dror Cedar and Daniel Tal have been a fixure at monthly TechAviv events since presenting Joongel at the May 2008 TechAviv NY meetup as Zell Entreprenuership Program graduates from the IDC Herzliya. Since then the duo went on battle it out in the TechCruch50 demo pit where they connected with famed serial investor Dr. Yossi Vardi who took an immediate liking to the 20somethings. Here’s why. These talented young guys hustle harder than most of us and have hit on a compelling opportunity developing value-add web-based toolbars that don’t require any software install or coding.
Initially at Joongel the technology was used to create uber-search engines (ala Dogpile) that would fetch results from multiple engines and sites. More recently, along with Avi Smila and some seed funding and guidance from Vardi, they’ve created Wibiya, a platform that enables bloggers to integrate the web’s most popular social and content services, apps and widgets into their blog through a customized web-based toolbar. You can see it in action at the bottom of this blog. Click around to get the gist.
Wibiya is the first platform to offer bloggers the ability to create Facebook Connect powered communities around their blog without touching a line of code. Besides the added value to your readers, your blog benefits from the inherent viral distribution of Facebook. When readers join and communicate in your community via the toolbar, all their Facebook friends know about it too. Other features include twitter stream updates, blog search, blog post navigation, post sharing and translation. Lots a other cool services are in the works too.
The purpose of Wibiya is to boost your blog’s performance by increasing pageviews and user engagement, enhancing communication with readers, enriching content and helping build a community. They offer a nice set of stats on the backend to quantify that for you. See below …
I’ll let you know how it pans out. So far I’m liking the concept, stats and added value to TechAviv.com but am not crazy about the load times for the toolbar. That needs to be greatly optimized for major blogs to embrace it on a wide scale. If there’s one thing this blog doesn’t need is another widget/toolbar slowing it down.
Want to really get me going guys? Add support for dynamic Twitter hastags based on the content of blog posts so that readers can follow the related conversations happening in realtime outside of the blog without leaving the blog. Hawt.
So far it seems the service is striking a nerve with bloggers. Since launching the private beta two weeks ago Wibiya has reached more than 5 Million users that interacted with Wibiya toolbars across different blogs. In the last week alone they had more than 800 blog requests to join the private beta. You can sign up here. Let them know you’re a TechAviv.com reader for some extra love.
If you’re an app creator the guys want to hear from you too. If your app adds value to blogs you can get to millions of users via their toolbars. It’s in this open platform approach that lies the great opportunity for Wibiya. As we’ve seen with Facebook, Twitter and iPhone App Store, if you offer a huge distribution channel for developers, they will come and you will profit. The question is how much of a headstart can Wibiya get before the “community widget” giants (think Google Friend Connect, MyBlogLog, etc.) get hip to the fact that opening their widget syndication platforms to high value third party apps is the way to go. I’d still bet on Dror, Daniel and Avi just innovating faster when they do.