Posts from 2006

Occasional thoughts on product and process from the Mint team

New BloomBox site: MTV's Oxjam

Posted in News by Andy Bell

A new BloomBox-powered site is live. Get Seen Get Heard is a new talent initiative that calls out to the nation's up-and-coming music stars to get involved for the chance of recognition on MTV.

From a design point of view, we think the quality of the gigs shines through. Logistically, we are pleased to deliver the site in 12 working days (design and build). It is testimony to the BloomBox platform that we are able to turn the project round so quickly.

(We used the BoxOver tooltips to do the rollovers on the front page. It is a great open-source tool with lots of options. Thank you, Swazz!)

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Notes from the Future

Posted in Reflections by Andy Bell

I've just returned from Future Media.

On my panel, everyone was running social media sites. Some interesting perspectives:

Celia Taylor from Trouble Homegrown is working hard to get advertisers and musicians (including Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake and Oasis) more closely involved in the creative challenges that Homegrown promotes. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Trouble are seeing similar opportunities to the ones we are seeing with Islandoo.

Patrick Uden from Four Docs noted that it is remarkable how their community responds to constraints. When Four Docs launched, there was concern that four minutes was too short for a decent narrative. That has proved no problem. Recently Four Docs had a great response to a Mini Docs competition which invited members to create 59 sec documentaries.

Simon Gunning from Yahoo described how Yahoo Video is a giant mass of content. Advertisers are only interested in getting involved in parts that are closely monitored and editorialised (for instance The 9). He also enthused about the important of competitions - as witnessed by Bix. (Bix is like a giant Kittenwar).

In other news:

  • Adrian Hon said Perplexcity is being taken in a web 2.0 direction. It will be interesting to see what that means.
  • In their talks, both Claire Tavernier (Fremantle) and David Fischer (MySpace) mentioned Islandoo as an example of exciting developments online. :-)

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Islandoo in the news

Posted in News by Andy Bell


Islandoo has been getting great press.

Paul Kelbie in the Independent says Islandoo is 'an internet phenomenon to rival the social networking site MySpace'.

Emiko Terazono in the Financial Times says Islandoo 'has developed into a full-blown social networking site'. The article contains an interesting quote from David Alberts, chairman of ad agency Grey London: "What you've got is 18,000 people who are desperate to promote themselves, impress people and be outgoing. What we're thinking about is actually using the site to encourage the entrants to make their own Nokia ad or their own Clover ad."

Update 27 October

TechCrunchUK says of the Nokia ad idea: "this sounds either like a sick joke from yet another marketing person who knows nothing, or a very clever idea, I haven’t quite decided yet."

I think there's at least a chance it's the latter.

Also, a nice, perceptive comment from Will McInnes' blog: "Islandoo proves that the development of crazy cool new online communities is just starting, and that it's totally do-able for the right client, the right project, the right niche. YouTube and MySpace and Bebo and SecondLife aren't the peak of this web2 interjoinedness. They represent the start. Islandoo is brilliantly executed... A huge well done to the Mint Digital team for this achievement - fantastic."

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Wanted: web design whiz

Posted in Reflections by Andy Bell

We are looking for a super talented designer. Someone who doesn't just make things look nice, but who also thinks deeply and cleverly about user interaction. If you know someone who fits that bill, please point them to this job description.

The lucky candidate will be working on Islandoo and a couple of exciting BloomBox projects in the pipeline. In my biased opinion, it would be hard to find a more exciting, interesting and challenging job if you are a designer with a passion for the opportunities of the social web.

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Islandoo buzz

Posted in News by Andy Bell

It has been great to see the favourable reaction to the Islandoo launch. For one thing, it makes it much easier to explain what we are trying to do with BloomBox. Here's some posts: Mashable, The Stage and, my personal favourite, the Selsius Real Estate Blog drawing lessons from Islandoo for the real estate industry.

blog islandoo

It is famously difficult to predict how a community will interact with a piece of software. What has astounded us is how friendly Islandoo is. As I write, our newest islander (our 9744th) is a girl named melodyblue. She joined Islandoo 12 minutes ago. She already has 12 comments and 9 fans.

Our recent research suggests MySpace is like a pub where most people chat to their existing friends, boys ogle girls and occasionally you bump into someone new at the bar. By comparison, Islandoo is the world's friendliest party. As soon as you open the door, dozens of people want to say 'hi' and start a conversation. It is great buzz (and, anecdotally, a great way to meet people).

The flip side of this is "fan spam". Islanders have quickly realised that a good strategy is to fan as many other islanders as possible - there is a good chance you'll get fanned back, increasing your prominence. We are currently working on a couple of solutions that should reduce the noise of fan spam, but still maintain the community's friendliness. Interesting new features coming soon.

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