We recently covered how Flattr added web-wide functionality, allowing its users to send micropayments by plugging into the big social properties on the web (and not necessarily though the Flattr button). These integrations included Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and Vimeo, among others. Now the company has added Youtube support, which could put a good amount of money into Youtube video creators' flattr accounts whenever people click the "thumbs up" button on connected accounts. Youtube obviously has a huge creator/supporter ecosystem, so plugging in with them offers a huge integration.
But as Youtube has walked into the door, Twitter has closed off, taking claim to the fact that Flattr receives 10% of the donated money moving through their service.
Let's face it, we are overwhelmed with data. On a daily basis we get bombarded with tweets and Facebook posts of our friends. Then there are news feeds, e-mails, youtube, blogs and so on. Because of this ever expanding amount of new data coming in, most of us have developed internal filters that help us navigate in this jungle. For instance, I rarely notice cat pictures on Facebook anymore. However in certain industries, it is your sole responsibility to dig through this data and make sense of it, otherwise you will not make any money.
One particular industry is the financial trading sector, where your only hope is to act fast on available information. We could go into a very long debate about whether trading is based on luck, skill or internal trading but let us leave that aside for a second and assume that if you get information early enough, it can give you an edge. This edge would be useless if you got the information in its current format: thousands of tweets, blogs, news articles and Facebook posts. The time it would take to dig through it would would be so long that the market would simply adjust by the time you are done. The trick is to read all of this information in a sort of a visualised summary without the need to go into the specifics.
One of the new things you might have seen on ArcticStartup in the last couple of months is the Flattr button. It's just to the right of this text, you should click it. Ok... read the article first. We've covered them plenty of times in the past, but if you haven't seen our past coverage, they're sort of like a Facebook "like" button, but with real money moving on the button click. We like them because they help monetize content on the web - something we've learned is a little difficult to do.
Malmö-based Flattr's model hasn't become the silver bullet for us, but it's been fun to experiment with. Their model - updated today - makes it as easy as possible to facilitate micropayments with the smallest mental friction. The way it works is users pick a monthly payment into their Flattr account, which becomes the total they can spend. Then, as they browse the web, they can click Flattr buttons (and now basically anything) to send money over to the content creators. At the end of the month, their cash reserve is split equally over all the buttons they've hit.
One of the startup jokes is, "We only need to get 1% of the Chinese market and we'll be millionaires..." but all joking aside, how would you do so? Today at the LAUNCH festival Helsinki-based Transfluent is releaseing Sina Weibo (think: Chinese Twitter) support, letting brands hit new markets effortlessly by letting Transfluent's army of translators provide near real-time translation. Three unlikely player's came together last week thanks to some innovative marketing and access to new markets.
Before you go on reading what is going to be a very interesting article filled with great rumors from the region, go into your twitter account and post your own tips and rumors for us using the #ArcticRumor hashtag.
Done? Now you can read the rest. What we have come to realize is that by pushing out full-blown stories on a daily basis, we are missing some of the fun that is taking place in our region. A lot of stories and rumors are just too small or too early for a story. So starting from today we are going to attempt to run a weekly rumors column based on events we have attended, people we have talked to and rumors we have heard and seen on the #ArcticRumor hashtag.
This week, the Russian startup scene has witnessed the launch of a new concept that could potentially target half a billion users around the world: Twistock.com, a site that transforms Twitter social influence into virtual stock value and ultimately material value.
Upon registration, Twistock users receive a certain amount of virtual money, or starting capital, in proportion of their social influence as measured by number of followers and microblogging activity. They also have their own stocks, whose value is initially determined by Twistock based on 20 parameters reflecting their microblogging activity and influence.
Helsinki-based Fluid Interaction is using mobile screens to fight a war with the world's leading source of information overload: Twitter. Rather than the endless scroll of tweets, retweets, and replays, they've created a wheel-based UI for Twheel, their Twitter client, that's easy to scroll through while also providing context on how important each individual tweet is.
The Fluid Interaction team has some background in cognitive science, and they base their UI design on the fact that humans can spot differences in round shapes very quickly. On their wheel they provide a relevance bar for each tweet. CEO Kalle Määttä explains, "When you're looking for content, it's not the content but how others have reacted and what's your relationship to your source.
Twheel has now launched on iOS can now be found in the app store.
A Finland and US based company has put together a social discovery search engine for social media. That may sound like a mouthful, but the result, Whosin, is pretty cool for following the topics you like. Whosin allows you to drill down and save social media searches on your interests to find the most relevant and interesting results on your favorite topics. The service launched just three weeks ago and is still in early beta, but the concept is polished and accomplishes its goals.
Editorial note: This is a guest post by Richard von Kaufmann, co-founder of Zipipop and Chairman at Reality Creating Media. He has studied in great detail the different crowdfunding opportunities for some of their clients and we thought that it would be a great chance to understand the industry by sharing his findings with our community.
Government-based innovation funding agencies around the world have a great challenge to continually identify the innovative concepts and teams with the best chances of success. In recent times there has been growing criticism of the effectiveness of some Finnish funding mechanisms, but similar issues affect public funding agencies around the world.
It is now generally accepted that diversity in team compositions leads to better decision making, and there is growing evidence that, given the right conditions, other means of increasing the range of opinions also produces better results.
This then begs the question as to the validity of relying on just two or three staff, or at best a small committee, to make decisions on the funding applications that are submitted to national innovation funding agencies.
This article makes the case for opening up the decision-making to involve larger communities, using known crowdsourcing principles and social technologies, to improve the quality of funding decisions. It also introduces the potential benefits that could come from developing a government-backed crowdfunding platform that would make it easier for private individuals to invest in early-stage startups.
If you've ever been to a conference you know how important the buzz around it is. You need to follow tweets to check what people around you are thinking or view check-ins to see who's actually attending. The same applies to a lot of events, be it concerts or sports events. The problem is, though, that there is a growing number of ways to interact with others around an event but no single platform that would combine all of that rich content. Gignal has an answer for that. Founded in Denmark by Natasha Friis Saxberg, the start-up offers a social media billboard for events that presents all social buzz around the happening in one place (check-ins, tweets, comments, pictures and videos).
We're extremely thrilled to announce that Felix Petersen is coming to Arctic15! Felix founded a successful location based startup, one of the first that got global traction in 2006 and grew it until 2008 when it got sold to Nokia. After that, he spent a few years at Nokia Nokia working at various positions until heading back into the wild to work on his next startup - Amen.
Amen is a startup in stealth mode and not a lot of it is known. However, it is reported that Ashton Kutcher together with Madonna's manager (and Index Ventures) have invested around $2 million into this Berlin based venture.
Customers today have an increasing number of ways to interact with brands or physical venues. They can participate in online communities in social media, voice their feedback on Twitter, check-in almost anywhere and benefit from discounted coupons. There is also a growing number of companies that help traditional industries and physical venues interact with their customers. The latest example from this region is Reach.ly, a Latvian start-up that has just launched a service for hotels to reach out to potential customers through Twitter. Their idea is fairly simple: tweets about travel are one of the top themes on Twitter; by capturing specific tweets that feature a town of destination and delivering them in a real-time stream to hotels Reach.ly help hotel administration easily reach out to prospective customers.
I know who to follow religiously when it comes to getting the latest news, a really nice video or an upcoming event on the web. But often it gets a bit monotonous as the same person usually ends up giving the same bit of news. Likewise, following all your friends’ recommendation (individually) is a near impossible task and thus we rely on services that help us filter the most happening stuff from the plethora of friends we all have on numerous social networks and forums. Utopic is one such service emerging in the startup scene to help you with finding the hottest topics among your circle of friends.
GigsWiz, the Finnish startup that launched last year as what we all would call a fan and artist friendly ticketing service has sailed across the European continent into the US. The startup offers bands tools to manage and collect requests from fans, also providing them with an extensive analytics on what friends want to hear and where.
Amid recent news of Groupon closing a $950M funding round, it might be easy to miss that Digital Sky Technologies was one of the main investors. The Russian super VC is on a serious shopping spree. Apart from the Groupon deal it recently invested $50M in Facebook and is said to be eyeing a stake in Twitter, who is likely to be the next web darling to close an investment round soon. Add that to DST's stakes in Zynga, Vkontakte, Nasza-klasa.pl (leading Polish social network), HeadHunter.ru (Russia's largest jobs website) and a complete ownership of ICQ, Mail.ru and Odnoklassniki and you'd see a meer part of DST's might.
In July of this year Prince released his latest album, dubbed "20TEN", in the UK using a distribution method that is quite unorthodox for the times that we're living in. He chose to bundle it, for free, with an issue of the Daily Mirror. That decision isn't wasn't what got him attention this past summer all over the internet, instead it was the interview he did with that tabloid where he offered this choice quote:
"The internet's completely over. The internet's like MTV. At one time MTV was hip and suddenly it became outdated. Anyway, all these computers and digital gadgets are no good. They just fill your head with numbers and that can't be good for you."
Digital Sky Technologies, a Russian holding company that owns shares in various web properties, is looking at Twitter with a possible investment in mind, according to SFGate. Digital Sky Technologies, or DST, previously spun off Mail.ru from it's holdings into a company of its own and sold 17% of the company at a valuation well above 5 billion USD.
Xiha, the Finnish company running a multilingual, cross-cultural community, is testing their new on-the-fly translating concept with a new angle, celebrity tweets. While the most followed people on Twitter are celebrities, they tweet in a range of languages - although English can be said to be the most common one out there. There are however many people who are unable to understand these tweets as they don't speak English as their first language. The new service they're doing this with is Starsfeed.
Voddler, the Swedish movie startup that is in many ways referred to as the "Spotify for movies", has announced today that it has added social features to its service. We recently wrote about Voddler getting more powder on board with its 40 million Swedish Kronor investment, where one of the biggest investors was the Finnish communications company Elisa. With the new features, Voddler is looking to attract of course more suggestions of movies and thus usage of their service. Regardless of this, I think this is an extremely natural direction to move into.
ArcticStartup have earlier reported about a promising Nordic visual search engine initiative – the Stockholm based Spezify.com, a visual multimedia search engine founded by Felix af Ekenstam and Per Persson, digital creatives and freelancers. Their concept have a great potential to grab a big piece of this market.
Remember Zipiko? The service with a "quick and effortless way to see what your friends are doing and a way to invite them to your chosen venue whether it’s it a local cafe or your own place for drinks, lunch or whatever you fancy."
Unfortunately the company that developed Zipiko, namely Zipipop, put the product development on ice already last June and moved on to service the growing Finnish enterprise customer base that is completely and utterly lost with social media wave that has hit the organizations. To scale their operations Zipipop, lead by its energetic CEO Helene Auramo, has teamed up with the former Managing Director of Accenture's Finnish and Nordic offices.
Richard von Kaufmann of Zipipop states in the company blog the following:
It seems that the Nokia acquisition of Dopplr we just wrote about, referring to a TechCrunch rumour, might be a hoax. We're receiving multiple sources referring to this as nonsense. Perhaps one of the most relevant is the fact that Matt Biddulph, one of the founders of the company, has stated that it's completely fabricated.
AktieTwits.dk is a new Danish service for Nordic professional and private stock investors sharing investment tips or seeking stock information on Twitter. The idea is to bring all information flows together and structure the content, with the aim to ease real time monitoring of the market. AktieTwits is taking on the traditional message boards and media sites by aggregating real time instant messaging, to allow one feel "almost like standing on the tradingfloor," as the founder Jens Davidsen puts it.
The service is integrated with Twitter, meaning one can start participating in the AktieTwits community just by signing in to one's Twitter account. AktieTwits.dk uses own custom tags to catch users' Twitter tweets: "$$" for general market comments, and for example "$CARL-B", "$DANSKE" for comments on individual stocks. The site also shows all links to popular and related sites, including Youtube, Flickr, Jyskebank.TV, and own stock charts, as embedded content. In addition, AktieTwits offers also deeper information including stock quotes, charts, company data, and analyzing and screening tools for following the market on a daily basis. The website also has a good mobile version working with iPhone, Android, and Nokia Nseries handsets.
The service is not exactly a unique one, but could be successful if found useful by the local active investors. I would guess, though, that majority of them are focusing on home country trading with only partly attention to international markets, and thus also preferring to interact in their native language. Also, one might question selection of the domain name if indeed the service is targeted for pan-Scandinavian use. So far there are not that many features encouraging the community interaction either.
Anyway, there is for example a well-known Finnish investor magazine's online forum in which discussion on daily topics flows actively. Many of the comments are quite short, and could well be expressed instead in microblogging style in a service like AktieTwits. Considering you first need to begin and learn using Twitter is an additional hurdle in adoption, though.
Pikkoo, a Finnish startup focusing on social, user generated and interactive mobile content for Flash Lite and non-Flash Lite phones, has launched its public beta.
By utilizing Adobe Flash Lite and its own proprietary technologies, Pikkoo makes personalization and interaction possible for a very wide set of mobile devices. This includes not only S60 phones, Series 40 or iPhone but practically majority of the phones, since with Pikkoo's proprietary technology it's possible to generate compatible content, which enables Pikkoo to support majority of mobile handsets that currently exist.
Eero Holmila, CEO of Rohea showed me Qaiku.com a few weeks back when it was still in closed beta. Now it seems to have opened up to open beta and is accepting registrations. With services such as Qaiku, Twitbear, Bloggy and others being created it shows that the vacuum created by Jaiku's downtime has created a new market for microblogging. The downside for the community of course is that the whole market is now very fragmented and thus the value in each new service is lower to the individual from the network point of view.
Nevertheless, let's have a look at Qaiku.com - it's one of the best clones of Jaiku out there, I must say. It's still got some issues however. For example, you have to know Finnish to change the language at the front page to English, it's hidden there in the drop down menu. Once you sign after registration it's very similar to the Jaiku user interface. In addition to taking the best of Jaiku, there are small new improvements which in my opinion are very welcome. One of these is the possibility to see different statistics on the right hand side, along with favorite items, friends and channels, all in one place.
Furthermore, there are small tabs below the "new qaiku" -box, qaikus, stream, channels, friends, radar and favorites. Qaikus shows your new qaikus in one place where as the stream shows all qaikus and comments in one stream. Channels and friends tabs list your channels and friends, respectively. Radar is the twitter like feature where someone mentions you with @username, it will be shown on that page.
Even though the development of Qaiku is still in its very early stages, it is showing some nice results already. Qaiku lists a development list on its front page and I'm glad APIs are in the top spot. One of the reasons Twitter was able become so successful was its open attitude towards third party developers - a ton of new value added applications were built around Twitter, all increasing its usage.
The big question mark is though, will it pick up and will the tired Jaiku herds want to migrate once more to a new service now that Twitter has finally taken a relatively strong foothold in the Nordics. Remains to be seen, I haven't managed to adopt it just yet.
We understand that not all of you could not make it to the ArcticEvening tonight for one reason or another. Many also wanted to come, but due to the size of the venue we had to limit the number of tickets we gave out. We issued as many tickets as we could and the place is going to be absolute packed, so be prepared! If you were left out don't worry, not all is lost. You can follow what goes down during the night via a Twitter feed (see below), or a Jaiku channel (here).
If you're coming and decide the Twitter from the event do type #arcticevening hash tag at the end of your tweets and they will appear on the stream below. Thanks.
#arcticevening on Twitter:Pause
Our event is made available by our Sponsors. Do take time to get to know them - they are one of the most interesting organisations in the industry. We hand pick our sponsors to bring value to the evenings - these guys are truly worth your time.
Sombiz is a Social Media Business Network of Finnish social media & Web 2.0 companies, research institutions, and other organisations and individuals operating in the field of social media.
Sombiz provides a network for organisations to collaborate, learn from each other, and create partnerships. By connecting business with research Sombiz is stimulating the creation of new innovations. The ultimate goal for Sombiz is to find new business opportunities and help companies to grow and go international.
Sombiz operates as a thematic network of the Finnish Digibusiness Cluster and is a part of the government funded Centre of Expertise Programme (OSKE). In 2008 the building of the Sombiz network was selected as the national "OSKE Top Project". The project is funded by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy.
The background organisation of Sombiz is Technology Centre Hermia Ltd.
Sombiz is a Finnish-based network operating internationally. The strategy of Sombiz is a "BUGC" approach: linking Business, Universities, Government, and Communities in order to build and boost the social media business ecosystem.
Hammarström Puhakka Partners
Hammarström Puhakka Partners, Attorneys Ltd is a law firm specialised in business law. The firm has a good corporate practice with experienced M&A advisers acting constantly for domestic and cross-border clients. Specialists provide M&A services to public and private companies relating to assignments concerning private equity and venture capital transactions. The firm is constantly involved with complex transactions in connection with private equity firms and experienced in advising private equity/venture capital investors in divesting their investments.
Veraventure Ltd is a public venture capital company making investments in innovative Finnish enterprises at their early stages. Veraventure is fully owned by its parent company Finnvera Plc.
Three Finnish Jaiku fans have created a service called Twitbear that describes itself as "enabling conversations around tweets". Antti Akonniemi, CEO of Kisko Labs, Kai Lemmetty, co-founder of Floobs and Helene Auramo, CEO of Zipipop came up with the service after Jaiku had started crashing fairly often after Google announced it would pull the plug from it las January.
The service itself is based around threaded communication and is currently in closed beta. At the moment, it pulls tweets from Twitter and adds the comments to the service itself - enabling the threaded communication that many other services have tried to pull off, inluding Tweetree. In essence it is a microblogging platform that pulls part of its data from Twitter. According to the creators of Twitbear - services like Friendfeed are too manyfold and difficult to use, something that many former Jaiku fans can agree with, I'm sure.
Only a handful of users have received invitations to the service and each registered user is given 5 invitations to share. It's nice to still see innovation around threaded conversations, something that remains to be tackled with a proper service. Jaiku had a good try at it, but with Google buying the service - development came to a halt. I've personally noticed many Finns beginning to use Brightkite, a service similar to Jaiku. It remains to be seen which will be the service that will take off outside Twitterdom - or do we need one?
Many people come to asking about our readership, where our readers come from and how fast we're growing as a blog. These conversation have many times spurred very interesting conversations and made me analyze the value we provide much more closely as I would've otherwise done. I'm always thankful for all the comments and questions, since they make us think about how to build the blog into a more valuable destionation to our readers to visit and what they are most interested in reading.
The other days when I was reading a blog post by an American VC, Fred Wilson, who has probably the most read VC blog in the world, I realized that I have never told you directly those figures, even though the very conversations spurred by the numbers have been so valuable to us. So here goes.
We get little over 10 000 unique visitors a month and about 30 000 page views (and we very rarely cut the blog post so that you need to click to 'Read more' to see the rest of the story as for example TechCrunch does, since this effectively double's the page views as the site loads again. A nice trick to fool the advertisers) . RSS subscribers we have about 600. All of this traffic is originating from no less than 130 countries. Yes, the growth has been very rapid as we are just little over one year old. But where it gets interesting is when we go beyond the pure readership.
Amazingly, we get a lot of the traffic from Facebook. I have pulled a feed from the blog to my Twitter account, which I have in turn plugged-in my Facebook status update, effectively cross- posting ArcticStartup blog updates to the services I use the most and where most of my social graph resides. Before I had my personal Twitter feed pulled to Facebook and all the @messages made little sense to my Facebook friends, I just recently decided to pull the ArcticStartup blog specific Twitter feed there, but for some reason it's not working very well. Antti, Miikka and Karri all seem to import AS blog posts in different way to Facebook. I believe Miikka imports the blog post as notes, whereas Antti and Karri occasionally post them manually. I might be wrong here though.
Equally interesting is the traffic coming from Twitter. This traffic has and is growing fast as the Nordic and Baltic countries are familiarising themselves with the new micromessaging communication tool. I'm quite certain we're about the see a similar boom in Twitter adoptation as we saw with Facebook which didn't leave anyone cold. That said, It might take longer than it took for Facebook to swipe across the Nordic and Baltic countires. This is because it is not as easy to see the value in Twitter as it is in Facebook. Facebook most people got almost instantly and started visiting the site franticly already after the first week. With Twitter it takes much longer time which can mean from several weeks to months depending on how many people you start following. I also believe it's not only in how many people you follow, it just takes time to build the habit of going back to the page (or client) and see the value in jumping on and off the funny stream of links and info bits. And some people might not ever get there. Still, I think it's going to grow fast and we're about the feel that also here in the arctics. It's going to be the most talked about the service of 2009 and it's going to be felt in every company and school.
Even more interesting the the traffic sources are the list of countries where the traffic is coming from. I find it nothing short of amazing that we receive traffic on average from 130 countries. Needless to say our readership is truly global. The top 10 consists of the usuals suspects of Finland, Sweden, Norway, Estonia, The United States and UK, but what more interesting ones are India and The Netherlands. This is a clear measure of the activity around the technology startups in those countries.
photo by "abnelphoto.com"
What makes this a game changer in my opinion is that Twingly has created the microblog search engine for the rest of the world. Fair enough, Twitter is the de facto microblog and it has gained a lot of traction even in the Nordics, there is still quite a bit of potential in the other platforms especially for corporate users. Martin Kallström, the CEO, confirmed to Michael Arrington of TechCrunch integration with FriendFeed is on the way - one of the most popular threaded microblogs around.
Twingly's microblog search works exactly the same way as does their normal blog search. A simple black search field and results that you can vote on to give relevance points to the most approriate blog posts. In essence, if you think of it - Twingly has integrated the wiki search that Google is still playing with into their product's core.
What I mean by the title of the blog post is the fact that when you are looking for conversations on certain keywords, you want to be able to search all conversations - not limit it to a single service. Search engines and filters to seek the relevant content will become more and more important in the future for corporations looking into ways to tap into customer dialogue. If Twingly is able to package this in an appealing way to the corporations wanting to tap into the groundswell, they could have an easily capitalisable product on their hands.
While Twitter is hitting a new heat wave, Friendfeed just won the Crunchie Award for the Best New Startup 2008, and dear Jaiku keeps struggling with its maintenance issues, and just announced going open source!, what better time than to bring a new player into the field - Bloggy.se.
Bloggy is a Swedish microblogging service in Swedish, and a one-man show by Jonas Lejon. It all started for eight months ago as a free time project alongside with full time job and a newborn baby. (And then I haven't even mentioned a bunch of other web services Jonas has in his portfolio.) He had been a frequent user of both Jaiku, Twitter and Pownce (recently closed down) but wasn’t too pleased with any of them. He also wanted to bring microblogging to the non-tech savvy crowds, so he picked out the goodies from the other services and molded them into Bloggy.se.
On September 25th last year the first closed beta invitations were given to the Swedish Jaiku community and the reactions were immediate. Speculations on whether Bloggy was going to take over Jaiku were raised. (In Swedish)
The service was well received, as some of the first comments by couple of heavy Jaiku users can tell:
(Translated from Swedish)
- "Thought I was going to call it an early night but happened to stumble in here. Having a crush...:) " @mymlansofia
- “Testing Bloggy.se. Extremely impressed by Jonas Lejon.” @tedvalentin
- ”Bloggy.se is the first serious candidate to threaten Jaiku within "the Bubble" (Jaiku user group) (OMG, what am I saying? I, who can't live without Jaiku)”. @morris
Jonas has been a true crowd surfer since the start, and he continuously keeps asking their advice on both logo design and future features. Bloggy uses Get Satisfaction as the customer service and support tool.
Today, four months later, Bloggy has over one thousand users and growing. The Swedish industry bloggers have listed Bloggy as one of the highlights of the year, and even called it the microblog service of the year. (Both articles in Swedish)
So, what is under the Bloggy hood?
A Bloggy user gets an easy-to-follow user interface with threaded posts and comments, customized profile design, lifestreaming by adding feeds and all standard update (mobile, SMS, MMS) and notification (Jabber/Gtalk, email) features. Bloggy has support for updating both Twitter and Jaiku statuses. At the moment Bloggy is the only microblogging service in Sweden offering outgoing SMS updates (only on incoming SMS). Posts has standardized length of 140 characters, but like Jaiku the comment length is unlimited, a feature that encourages conversations. Bloggy users find new friends and topics on the main page that shows the public feed with current new members and a tag cloud with popular words.
It also offers the "I like/heart" feature, as part of the service itself, as does Friendfeed. There are now rumors about the similar feature on Facebook. Bloggy has support for geolocation services such as FireEagle and Geode, and there is naturally an API for developers.
According to Jonas himself the users have been especially happy about the automatically updated and threaded posts and comments (Ajax implementation). Jonas himself is most proud of the quick response times of the service, alongside the fact that Bloggy already contains almost all the functionality of the other microblogging platforms.
Unique to Bloggy is all the different file upload formats it supports (.JPG, .PNG, .GIF, AVI, MPG, 3GP, .MP3), all up to 20Mb. The user can also upload images via MMS (Friendfeed has Mail2FF).
The service differs from Twitter, Friendfeed and Jaiku in two ways: The user can't choose to be private, only public profiles are supported. It is also possible for anyone to leave a comment without being a registered user.
When now launching (In Swedish) in public beta, Jonas has added more features into Bloggy. It is now possible to update your status using Hello.txt and ping.fm, services that make life easier for those who want to update all their social networks at once. If you rather hang out on GTalk/Jabber all day, you no longer need to leave it to update your Bloggy status, there's support for it, too.
Is there a future for Bloggy?
Microblogging and social networks, as we have come to know, are all about where one's friends are, but with Bloggy filled with lots of functionality, channels on the way and continuous improvement of the user experience, I think "There is likely plenty of room in the niche and custom communities precisely because Twitter is purely public" as Rob Diana on louisgray.com so well argues. Why? For example, I've already noticed the use of #svpt (Swedes on Twitter) hash tag on Twitter just to track other Swedes and Swedish conversations. It's a jungle out there and the need to hang out with your own people and alikes is very strong.