Big London launch in a Mayfair hotel? Check. “Global internet portal”? Check. “The first functioning Web 3.0 site on the internet”? Check. Poised to “change the way that business is currently done on the internet”? Check.
So I just got off the phone to the PR guy who wouldn’t tell me anything about who is behind the site, like the CEO’s name for instance. However, I gather it’s about 20 web apps wrapped into one big site (video, blogging, directories, email, VOIP, chat, text, photos etc) and mashes up consumer and business target markets. Its been “some years in the making”, built across the UK, South Africa and Germany, and is a “home page where you can do everything in one site.” Double check!
I’m in two minds about whether to go to the launch because it already sounds like they have ignored the now distributed nature of the Net and the emergence of APIs and platform applications. Should I go?
UPDATE: I did in fact go along to the presentation.
The site is positioning itself against large business-focused directories like Alibaba, Wand and Yell.com. However, they rather laboured the single point that they had come up with the “alpha and omega” of taxonomies to cover all possible categories. They have also wrapped up a tonne of tools (VOIP, IM, SMS, video, you name it) and are giving it all away free (not that original) as an incentive to register, create a profile and start hocking your business. CEO Stuart Sterzel, who is ex South African Special Forces but also former head of a number of mining and oil/gas businesses, very politely told me that they were extremely confident their plan would succeeed. Indeed, he said they have been researching it for 8 years and had put in well over 6-figures of funding into it via private investors.
My Opinion? I think the site does indeed look like it is 8 years old. The interface is very old fashioned. Plus they will need a lot (and I mean a lot) of marketing to give it any traction. I admire their enthusiasm, but I’m afraid I don’t hold out much hope for it’s success, to be blunt.