Phreadz: A Seesmic clone? Or a lot more?

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Phreadz is a new UK-based social multimedia conversation network of video, audio and photo blogging created via the desktop or from mobile devices. Currently in closed, invite-only Alpha (or “alfalfa” as the site prefers to call it) Phreadz is similar to Seesmic, the video conversations platform, but with Phreadz you can also automatically cross-post the multimedia to your blogs (Blogger, WP, TypePad, Livejournal) as well as images to a Flickr account, videos to a account (and potentially a remote ftp location). It also works on mobile, posting videos with Flash Lite. Phreadz was built in entirety by “Kosso”, a British developer/entrepreneur.

At it’s simplest you just record a video post using a webcam and your web browser, then view replies from the community and keep track of the conversations by viewing the replies in a threaded / forum view or as simple lists. Phreadz has a main ‘lobby’ area (‘the public timeline’) and also special ‘channels’ dedicated to a particular topic subject or ‘show’.

You can bookmark any post or reply to let you jump back into the conversation in your own time. Replies can be subscribed to via RSS. It will also automatically encode recorded Flash to MPEG4 (and other formats) or MP3 for iTunes/podcasts. This is likely to be a ‘pro’ feature when Phreadz comes out of Alpha.

You can also send it photos, audio or video via email from you mobile phone (Nokia N95 or iPhone); send a link to your post via Twitter; receive notification of replies to your posts via email or Twitter Direct Message. And there are several other features and an API is in the works.

The key idea behind Phreadz is the ‘threaded view’ of content, be it video, images, text, audio or links and the desktop or mobile publishing and sharing.

Conversations are available as ‘channels’ for specific topics, brands or shows (in which a deal would be made with the brand for full customisation and delivery/hosting). A demo page has done this with the Indiana Jones movie launch – which, funnily enough – Seesmic participated in recently…

Soon to come is a private messaging feature for users who ‘follow’ eachother as well as private channels which could be a set up buy companies specifically for market research: for example, if a company wanted to interview customers and watch their reactions to questions about a product or service.

Kosso says Phreadz originated from an idea he had some time ago to deliver multimedia from the desktop or a mobile, and more recently as a way to communicate with his fiancee in Australia while he was in London. As an ex-BBC Online guy, Kosso previously built ‘moblogging’ system for the BBC News site’s coverage of CeBit in 2004. More recently he has worked for

How is it funded? It’s one of the more originally-backed startups I’ve heard of. Kosso is bootstrapping Phreadz with the proceeds from a blogging system he built for users of the Second Life virtual world.

I personally like the interface to Phreadz a little more than Seesmic and there are more pointers to navigate the system. The channels aspect also makes the site more potentially interesting as a platform for media companies. Is it a Seesmic clone? Maybe, but it also appears to offer a lot more features than Seesmic right now. But until it comes out of closed Alpha its hard to know what reaction it will get.

  • Kosso

    Wow! Thanks for this great write-up Mike! I’m pretty speechless! :)

    Just one point regarding the mobile content : posts and replies to posts can be sent via email or uploaded using the phone’s built-in web browser (if supported) – though a FlashLite 3 version is also in the pipeline.

    This is a feature of mobile browsers I have been championing and developing for quite a few years.

    I hope to get the site in shape to move from the ‘clandestine alfalfa stage’ in to the ‘open beetroot phase’ as soon as I can – when I will then make a system for invite and signups, so more people can test it.

    Thanks again!
    Phreadz – ‘phounder’ :)

  • TedC

    Kosso’s Kicking some butt… Awsome! Contrats Kosso!

  • dc crowley

    can’t wait kosso! sounds great

  • PHREADZ CRUNCH TIME! « kosso’s braingarden

    […] Phreadz just got a great writeup on TechCrunch!! Thank you SO […]

  • http://www.randellfever RandellFever

    This is by far the most amazing thing that online video conversation has seen yet! It has the features that you need to take a platform from a toy to a tool.

    Start up companies could learn a lesson or two from this site and it’s ability to look past it’s own nose and listen to what the users want and make it real

    Great job Phreads and great job Kosso!

  • Steve Purkiss

    Congrats Kosso!

    It’s a great system and obviously there’s going to be comparisons to others, however I believe they differ in many ways, not just technically. It’ll be great when you can open it up more so others can see that too.

    Well done, and it’s great to see something world-class coming out of the UK tech startup scene!

  • JofArnold

    Kosso, can you get in contact with me please; I may need this for a large client project very soon. Email is

  • Kosso

    I’d also like to just point out that the Indiana Jones screenshot was from a private DEMONSTRATION area – which I set up in less than an hour, after hearing the news of the movie ‘junket’ on seesmic. It was a learning/testing/demonstration not visible or published outside of the test site.

    No infringement of trademarks or confusion of any business relationship is intended whatsoever.


  • Eric

    Nice, very nice looking work!

  • Francesco

    This type of blogging has become very much popular now days. This helps in face to face communication between a lot many people which helps in an easy way of communicating your thoughts and ideas. This is a method of an effective communication.

  • Penny Dreadfuls and Penny Parts » Blog Archive » Phreadz: A Seesmic clone? Or a lot more?

    […] to Seesmic, the video conversations platform, but with Phreadz you can also automatically cross-poread more | digg story This entry was posted on Friday, May 23rd, 2008 at 7:23 pm and is filed under […]

  • Kosso

    Examples of the embeddable player and widgets can be seen on my WordPress blog:

  • gia

    Excellent write-up! I’ve been playing around with Phreadz for about a week or so now. It’s EXCELLENT. Everything you could want in a video conversation site.

    Someone out there, make Kosso very rich indeed, the guy’s a genius.

  • Mike Willams

    From what I have been hearing in the space. I heard that Kosso stole code from the Seesmic people while they dont want to say to much about it i do find it strange that Kosso who was writing code for the Seesmic folks all of a sudden launches a site very similar.

    Looks to me like Kosso is a thief.

  • Steve Purkiss

    @mike willams – I’m sure Kosso will reply himself but I just wanna say that’s a ridiculous and unfounded accusation.

    Kosso’s never written any code for seesmic – like me (I wrote the, he used their API to create a search functionality – something seesmic /still/ haven’t implemented in their system.

  • Kosso


    I certainly did NOT ‘steal’ any code from seesmic whatsoever.

    Back in November, I built a ‘seesmic search engine’ based on the JSON API which was exposed by a number of developers online.

    I kept this going for a while, while I was in Australia due to bandwidth restrictions in Oz which forced us to not use the main seesmic interface.

    Seesmic did not have a search engine – so I knocked one up.

    I also created and freely provided an interface for their ‘show’ editors to convert their Flash FLV videos to QuickTime – saving then quite a considerable amount of time.

    I was never paid for this – nor did I ask directly for any payment from them

    As time went by, I found myself ‘supporting’ the search engine I created and spending far too much of my spare time doing it.

    So, I decided to pull it down. Other search engines for seesmic have sinced emerged. Seesmic still has no internal search facility.

    I learned everything I needed to know to build Phreadz from over 10 years experience in this industry.

    I repeat. No code was stolen. And I am certainly not a ‘thief’.

    Thank you,

  • Fiz

    @Mike Williams – I’d love you to tell us your source?
    Kosso built Phreadz in part for he and I (his fiance) to stay in touch while I was in Australia. If you google the word ‘phreadz’ you will find results dating back before seesmic even existed.

  • Jason Bates

    @Mike Williams, I think saying “From what I have been hearing” doesn’t give you the right to say “Looks to me like Kosso is a thief” …

  • Ivan Pope

    As a Seesmic user and a Phreadz-head, I’d just like to say 1. Phreadz is great 2. It’s getting better by the day 3. I’ts addictive (so is Seesmic) 4. It’s got some features that will really flly with use 5. It’s not a clone of Seesmic, but it’s in the same zone and 6. DON’T FEED THE TROLLS (Mr Williams, bog off)

  • Fat Man Collective

    One guy, one lap top, one heart pining for it’s love across the oceans, one really rather very good idea. Congrats Kosso, wish you every success with Phreadz.

    @ Mike Willams: I once stole some sweets from a pick n’mix at a cash ‘n carry in Hull when I was knee high to a grasshopper. That’s theft! accusing a guy you’ve never met of stealing code is simply churlish and insulting, wait until Phreadz is launched then you can accuse him directly via video rather than hide behind a username and spread foul rumours.

    @ Mike Butcher: a kid with a felt tip pen could make a better job of the Seesmic interface, ninja cats anyone?

  • Deek Deekster

    more is good {seesmic_video:{“url_thumbnail”:{“value”:””}”title”:{“value”:”more is good “}”videoUri”:{“value”:””}}}

  • Kosso

    @Fat Man Collective Thanks!! :))

    @everyone! thanks! – or should I say: ‘PHANKS!’

    @deek : thanks for that too. I’d love to post a video reply to you, but I wouldn’t want to get in to trouble (again!) ;)

    I have never seen Seesmic as a ‘competitor’ at all. In fact, Phreadz can crosspost *to* your seesmic account! :)

    I’ve been trying to help expand and enhance multimedia for over a decade.

    I actually have some ideas and proposals on how Phreadz could work together *with* systems like YouTube, Qik and Seesmic – and the other ‘similar’ systems which will no doubt appear soon.

    So often I see people forget the ‘multi’ in multimedia – and also what is increasingly ‘V.I.T.A.L’ (video, images, text, audio, links) to ALL of us :)


  • » Phreadz Gets TechCrunched!
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    […] On first look, Phreadz does appear to be aping Seesmic. Threaded video conversations and an invite-only Alpha are just to of the similarities. But you won’t find any of Seesmic’s code this new UK-based “social multimedia conversation network,” reports TechCrunch UK. […]

  • Adele McAlear

    I can understand how some people might think that it is a Seesmic copy cat – they haven’t seen it first hand and they haven’t taken the time to fully read this post. Kosso has built a truly unique offering. I know of no other platform that allows users to integrate video, images, text, audio and links, via desktop or mobile, into an easy to navigate conversation thread. And having channels seals the deal. As a pre-alfalfa tester, I wish Kosso every success with Phreadz.

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