Stickis, which we covered briefly back in October last year is launching its service this afternoon. Stickis, at first glance is a FireFox and Internet Explorer plugin much like other web annotation programs, such as Fleck, Diigo, and Trailfire. Stickis does do the webpage “sticky note” annotation of these programs. However, Stickis is not just about marking up a single page. It is about creating and subscribing to “channels” of these notes and other data sources.
The channels can consist of notes left by people, RSS feeds (blogs), and even specialized data channels for web services such as OpenTable or Yelp. When you subscribe to a channel, be it another user’s “sticky notes” or Yelp reviews, that channel is added to your network and begins to populate, in reverse chronological order, a collapsible tray that’s tucked away on the side of your browser screen. Then, when you visit a page, such as TechCrunch, that tray is populated with summaries of any related notes or reviews from you network through an analysis of the url and tags of your current page and those included in the note. One click on a summary brings up the sticky note.
Stickis does a deeper analysis for the web service channels such as OpenTable and Yelp, which makes it possible for a restaurant’s Yelp review and OpenTable reservation search widget to pop up in my tray when I go a page linking to a restaurant. I believe this contextual method makes it a much more consumable service than others, which require you actively seek out information by visiting an annotated page. It also allows for greater control of what data you see because of the subscription based method.
Creating notes is done with a fairly robust WISIWYG editor, allowing users to style text and backgrounds, as well as embed photos and movies by drag and drop. This makes it very easy to go through Flickr and start commenting away. Without the plugin installed users are still treated to a proxied version of the site with an AJAX version of the Stickis layered on top like this. A note or several notes can be replied to and even leave trackbacks when they link to blogs, because your personal Stickis channel page is in fact a personal blog where notes are stored as taggble posts. This can also be changed to post to a personal blog instead. Replies to notes will not clog your tray because you will only see the channels you subscribe to. You will see that a reply was made to a note, however, and can click through to it. If you see something you like, you can add the note’s creator to your network of channels.
Stickis is based in San Francisco and currently funded by about a million dollars in angel financing. They plan to monetize the business through the third type of Stickis content channel: web services. The hope is that Stickis will provide an easier and more relevant way for surfers to get a publisher’s content, drive more traffic to their site, and use their services. Yelp and OpenTable serve as the first vertical they are testing this out with. It’s easy to imagine some other verticals as well, such as concert ticket sales or travel accommodations. There’s no specific talk about how payments would be structured but affiliate fees seem the most sensible.
Feel free to get Stickis or view a preview of the service on TechCrunch through the link below: