Thursday, May 08, 2008

Word Salad

Israel Startup News is a terrific blog that covers some of the wilder social networking projects being dreamed up in the heart of the Middle East, even if some of the names sound like something from Mark Marino's parodic Web 2.0 Ap Generator.

For example, Sightix describes itself as a "search platform for social networks that provides personalized results to users based on their social graph." To encourage users to try their services, it poses questions such as "Have you ever asked your friends what they think about _?" to make an online search seem like a group activity rather than an individual quest. Of course, given the context in which the question is asked, the very definition of "friend" may invite more interrogation.

And then there is roofarena, an advertising scheme for satellite-style views of urban centers in which space is sold on Google maps-type rooftops in order to hawk products seemingly from below. As rooferena's webmasters note, you can "get your own roof in Manhattan" by buying into their virtual real estate to lead viewers to your own website from a form of geotag.

The site is the brainchild of Dani Dechter a veteran of the nascent online journalism being done about startups in the country, who -- even before having his own blog -- was reporting on initiatives such as TuneWiki, an "Israeli startup founded in 2007 by two former airforce pilots and serial entrepreneurs."

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