WEAVER: Online Dating for Young Professionals

Weaver - a new social community for young professionals looking to meet new people, was recently launched in South Africa.

The Weaver founders are 26yr olds Andrew Lynch and Kiril Dobrev - the young entrepreneurs behind Cable Kiosk. The duo have now embarked on a new venture, Weaver, aimed to transform the way people meet online.

The emphasis of Weaver is to get busy professionals away from their computers and into a fun, social environment where they can meet like-minded people.

Weaver on Facebook

Weaver Online Dating

The Weaver website is now live in both Cape Town and Johannesburg. Services in Durban and Pretoria are expected to be launched soon.

“We spent so much time working that we didn’t have time to go out and join social or sports clubs. The only other alternative was to join an online dating site, but we found the idea very creepy.” - Andrew Lynch

The pair had a candid discussion about what were the most relaxing ways to meet new people and the environments that facilitated it.

“While online dating is essentially a collection of personal ads, we wanted a service that took all the hassle out of meeting girls. I joked that meeting girls should be as easy as pressing a button and it is from that phrase that Weaver was born.” - Kiril Dobrev

Weaver offers a group dating scenario whereby two groups of friends - three guys and three girls (or three guys and three guys etc.) are set up with drinks in a relaxed environment.

How Weaver Works:

The Weaver algorithm works by matching up two groups using information from their Facebook profiles and other lifestyle and preference information provided by the user. Matches are made by a combination of computer algorithms and human curation. The user is then emailed the time and location of the meet-up - called a Weaver.

All members are required to do is pick two wing-men or wing-women and show up! The cost of a Weaver is R79 per head, which covers the matching service and the first round of drinks. There is no registration fee to join Weaver, meaning you only pay for the 'dates' you get.

Lynch said: “Weaver takes care of everything from vetting applicants, matching you with the right person, to making a reservation at a cool, nearby location and paying for the first round of drinks. We literally enable you to meet cool people at the push of a button.”

Dobrev added: “What surprised us is that more girls than guys have signed up for the service. I believe girls are especially conscious about their environment and the ability to bring along two friends puts them at ease, and hey, if they don’t like the people they have met, they have still had a great time sharing a drink with two friends.”

My Weaver application was just accepted so I'll let y'all know how it goes!

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PINGPONG: New Website Monitoring & Performance Tool

If you're a website owner, you'll know how frustrating and potentially damaging it can be when your website goes down. Readers and money can be lost, reputation can be damaged and you can feel helpless not knowing why your website is experiencing downtime.

What can help in such cases are website monitoring tools. Nicholas Duncan - the brainchild behind myScoop - the South African blog aggregator, has recently launched a new start-up called PingPong, which is exactly what is needed to reduce the risk of your website going down.

PingPong Website Monitoring - Site downtime alerts.
Site uptime & performance reports

PingPong Website Monitoring Tool

PingPong is a website monitoring tool that:

  • Provides performance metrics
  • Alerts you via SMS and email when your website(s) go down
  • Provides error logs to help you debug your website downtime

There are several benefits of having such a tool:

  • If you're in ecommerce and you're site goes down, you will obviously lose money.
  • If you are running AdWords campaigns and your site goes down, all your ads run the risk of being disapproved.
  • If you're an agency, it's helpful to know that a client's site is down before they know. This allows you to act quicker.

PingPong is still very new on the web-scene and there is a host of features planned for release over the next few months, such as:

  • A better, more modern user interface
  • Automatic weekly/monthly reports (emailed to you)
  • Public page (allowing others to see your downtime and performance reports)
  • More "checks" (such as checking if your mail server is up, checking if your MySQL server is up, etc.)

PingPong Website Monitoring Tool 2

To see PingPong Website Monitoring in action, the website offers a free live demo as well as a free package ideal for bloggers and start-ups. The more professional packages (for businesses and agencies) offer a free 30 day trail period. If you wish to continue using the service, the full packages are offered at very reasonable rates.

So if PingPong Website Monitoring sounds like something that can benefit you, bounce on over and take a gander! Knowing Nick Duncan, I can say with some authority that this new venture will prove to be a great success.

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VENTRIBE: A new simple-to-use group gifting platform!

VenTribe is a group gifting platform that allows friends to come together online and give a gift to a chosen recipient as a group. Traditionally, this process has always taken place offline. Now, there is a simple, secure, all-in-one place that this can happen. It’s the ideal platform for all sorts of occasions such as birthdays, weddings, Christmas, Graduation, Thank-you’s, community gifts, and even book-clubs. If you want to give with a group, VenTribe helps make that happen.

On the Site, members are able to highlight their close friends and build their own “Gift Tribe”. The site automatically reminds the user via email of upcoming birthdays (10 days in advance). Users are able to then head to VenTribe and can organize a “Group Gift”.

Ventrive Group Gifting

The VenTribe group gifting process is simple:

  • Choose a recipient for the gift
  • Enter what the occasion is
  • Choose a gift!

The gift categories range from fresh cut flowers, organic cosmetics and lifestyle products, to experiences, such as skydiving, jet-pack flying or photography classes. The organizer then chooses the privacy options for the Group Gift. Once they launch the Group Gift, a personalized page is created.

On the VenTribe Group Gift page members can:

  • Chip in and buy the gift together
  • Invite more friends to chip in via a private Facebook message or other social channels (Twitter, Pinterest, link share)
  • Track progress (how much has been contributed, who has been invited, send reminders)
  • Socialize around the recipient and the gift

Contributors to the Group Gift can write on the e-card, which is sent to the organizer to pass on to the lucky recipient once the Group Gift is completed.

No one is charged unless the Group Gift is fully funded, at which stage VenTribe transmits the order to their affiliated suppliers on the users' behalf. With no cash to collect, and a secure payment gateway, VenTribe makes organizing Group Gifts fun, simple, and social.

Ventribe Social Gifting

Where does VenTribe come from?

The VenTribe team hails from seven countries: Israel, South Africa, Kenya, Greece, Rwanda, Scotland and The United States, with four of its members attending school together in South Africa. The company was founded in 2011 by four of the abovementioned team members in Edinburgh, Scotland. After doing the groundwork and developing the site to an acceptable stage, the team moved across to Boulder, Colorado, where they have been based for the past 7 months and have launched out of their Beta stage.

VenTribe have also Collaborated with notable YouTube stars Devin Supertramp and Lindsey Stomp in the past. Collaborative videos have achieved over 8 million views.

It’s current affiliated suppliers are Zappos, BestBuy, Illy Cafe, Xperience Days, Lush Cosmetics, Organic Boquet, Dean and Deluca, just to name a few. In the near future, VenTribe will be opening the platform for users to create Group Gifts with products, services, and gift cards from anywhere on the web using a social bookmarking feature.

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INTEL GIVEAWAY: For the love of the web and technology

OneWebDay is the day to celebrate a wonderful thing we all love and cherish. Something most of us would be lost without – the Internet. OneWebDay is a global event held every September 22 (since 2006) to celebrate the Internet and also to raise awareness of the importance of open networking principles that have made it the success that it is.

Intel are celebrating OneWebDay by giving away Intel Ultrabooks in Spain, Russia, South Africa and Germany. How did they get selected? For their love of the Internet! They’ve been highly engaged and active online and Intel wanted to reward them by giving them an Ultrabook to ensure they get the most of the online world with a proper Ultrabook.

The suggested theme for this year’s events is to emphasize local content as a way of making the Internet available and useful for our communities. Earlier in the year a joint report of the Internet Society, UNESCO, and the OECD – The Relationship Between Local Content, Internet Development, and Access Prices – revealed just how important local content is to building a connected society.

Mr Markus Kummer from the Internet Society stated:

“This study confirms the strong relationship between local content and Internet infrastructure. Keeping the traffic local and building up local content is key for improving access to the Internet. As the volume of local content increases around the world, the Internet becomes more relevant and has a greater impact on improving the lives of local communities.”

The coming rollout of many more Internationalized Domain Names (IDNs) in many non-western scripts can only serve to accelerate this process.

So how can you participate in OneWebDay?

  • On September 22, celebrate OneWebDay on Twitter by singing praise to the benefits of an Open Internet by using the hashtag #OneWebDay
  • Add the OneWebDay badge to your website/blog. Organize and participate in local events. Check what groups are in your area and collaborate!
  • At local events, and in social media, feature local content makers, bloggers, wikipedians, webcasters, websites, etc.
  • Contribute a story to the OneWebDay stories blog. Tell us what your favorite local content sites are and why, and comment on other people’s stories. There are some great stories and videos on here already from previous years. Be sure to check them out.

Susan Crawford, the founder of OneWebDay, offers some more background as well as other ways we can get involved with OneWebDay in this video interview with Rocketboom.

Susan Crawford of OneWebDay

I was interested to learn how OneWebDay was inspired by Earth Day. A view of our fragile Earth from the perspective of space makes us understand that we have something important to protect. Like the web, and issues of censorship, lack of access and not enough personal input, we need to work together to protect it and steer it in the right direction for the future. Let's get involved!

Useful Links:

  • The Internet Society – started in 1992 by the founders of the Internet as an organizational home to the Internet Engineering Task Force. The Internet Society now has more than 100 organisational and more than 28 000 individual members in over 80 chapters around the world - all working to ensure best practices, policies and development of the web.
  • At-Large – the community of individual Internet users who participate in the policy development work of ICANN. Currently, more than 100 groups represent the views of individual Internet users throughout the world, participating in building the future of the worldwide Domain Name System (DNS).

- Sponsored Post

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WOTE: A Fairytale of New York and YouTube

IT'S fantastic how more and more people are using the Internet to start and build their careers. It gives a strong indication of what the online public wants, it creates entrepreneurs and employment and it gives us more variety and choice when spending time on the Internet.

YouTube specifically is becoming the most impressive stage for career launching. Look at someone like Ray William Johnson who basically creates YouTube videos about YouTube videos and gets millions of views within days. He has a full production crew, merchandise, a charity and cool hair.

One group that I have been lucky to discover only this year via YouTube are Walk Off The Earth. They're probably most famously known for their rendition of Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye, which they all play on one guitar. This has racked up nearly 105 million views on YouTube. There is also a great parody of this by The Key of Awesome btw.

The Key Of Awesome WOTE Parody - Somebody That I Used To Know

But I digress. Walk Off The Earth are fantastic. The group consists of freelance musicians and a couple of members who were doing their own thing on the web. They have come together as Walk Off The Earth and have fast become quite well known. They have been featured on a few talk shows including The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Walk Off The Earth also have their own Wikipedia entry. Here's a short splurb about their early beginnings:

"Walk off the Earth is a Canadian indie band formed in 2006 in Burlington, Ontario. They have gained success around the world by making low-budget music videos of covers and originals. The band built their fan base independently with no help from record labels, booking agents or management" - Wikipedia

Part of their success has come from allowing YouTube viewers to suggest covers for Walk Off The Earth to play. In fact much of their work encourages interactivity or participation by fans.

One fan suggested a particular favourite of mine which I honestly can't get enough of. It's Fairytale of New York by Sarah Blackwood and Gianni Luminati. To date the video has received over 1 million views. I'm responsible for just over half of that and is what I really want to show you.

Fairytale of New York - Gianni and Sarah

I have such a crush on Sarah Blackwood.

PS: Can anyone work out the chords and tabs that the two lovebirds are using in this song? I'm dead keen to learn how to play this!


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