My co-founder and dev hero Ian Thurbon has always been the organ-grinder round here; I’m the mouthy monkey. James Rutherford from CreativeNucleus in the North-East has also been a God-send dev-wise.
And, of course, our funders – NorthStarVentures and the Technology Strategy Board – who have shown such faith in both the platform and our thinking. Plus Jurga Zilinskiene and her team of translators at TodayTranslations.
We, like Cindy Gallop, think the future of advertising is bottom up and collaborative. We also believe, like the indomitable Ms Gallop, in walking that walk, not just talking the talk.
So here we go.
Addiply in Welsh… as promised earlier this summer. The paint still wet on the walls. So watch where you walk…
It has been a long and, occasionally, rocky road to get here. We were part of UTV’s winning bid for WalesLive – the IFNC proposition with regard to the future of ‘Local TV’ that bit the dust with the change of Government; we were, likewise, part of the Guardian’s ‘Local’ proposition for Cardiff in 2010. Collaborative, bottom up, local… You get the drift.
But now we’re here.
Now – I hope – the media nation of Wales has one, small building block upon which they can *begin* to re-imagine the way that they can start and *sustain* local, community news across the Principality.
It can, in time, involve video; something that we are now looking to explore with the help of A-Frame and NESTA in that #21VC project out of Loddon, Norfolk. See http://loddoneye.com/video
Likewise out of that whole TSB/NESTA competition space this summer we can offer TSB-funded ‘enabling technology’ in the UK hyperlocal space to a Welsh-focussed NESTA-funded content play in the shape of, say, a Papur Dre.
But I think there is a bigger opportunity here – if people that once only saw the world from the ‘top down’ grab this chance to join those of us that have long been bottom dwellers.
Re-reading that piece from March, 2008, and this line seems fitting enough for today’s little milestone moment:
‘The trick is to devise an editorial and advertising platform that mirrors a Craig’s List or an eBay; that has this similar capacity to be both local in focus, but national in scope…
Four and half years later, I would change that. Given the news that Facebook has just crashed through the one billion user mark.
The trick is to build an editorial and advertising platform that mirrors a Facebook; that has the capacity to be local in focus, but national in scope – that can stretch from Holyhead to Chepstow, from Fishguard to Rhyl – but above all, empowers people to build a ’social network’ that encourages conversations and connections of a local sales nature.
People buy off people. Particularly in local. They want a face-to-face relationship with those seeking their tiny marketing spends. Somewhere down the TSB development line is an internal ‘notification’ system for Addiply; we already have a Forum space. Or rather a ‘Fforum’ space.
We have the ability for people to collaborate and converse re local advertising sales, as opposed to who was with whom at whose party on Saturday night. And all within their local language. It is an intriguing proposition; to wonder whether you could ever build a Facebook for local advertising.
In the meantime, however, delivering an open network opportunity to one nation, fascinates.
Because if I am the Welsh Office seeking to support and sustain local community news platforms, I can pin-point specific Government advertising campaigns into said community spaces and – in essence – deliver a local ’subsidy’ for those local publishers BUT with advertising that is wholly applicable and appropriate for their particular postcode and community.
The ‘messages’ that need to be delivered to the people of Ely, Cardiff, may be very different to those that need to put in front of those in Caernarfon.
Equally, there may be a Co-Op (Wales) in Ely, but not in Caernarfon. Tesco (Wales) might be looking to open a new store in Caernarfon. Those that hold the purse strings to Land Rover’s ad spend might find reason to punt their national brand into spaces and communities that are upland and local.
National brand can find local spaces – simply and transparently. Just as the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker can now place their local brand into their own, local spaces – without having to go to California and back to deliver a text ad in the ‘window’ of a Papur Dre. And all in their own language to boot.
Hopefully we can now collaborate with the Centre for Community Journalism at Cardiff, with Glynn, Emma and people to see if we can’t help the digital migration of 56 local, Welsh language newspapers that will come to seek a new home online.
And, hopefully, as our API becomes ever more open and ever more public, we can work with the Welsh developer community to see what future programmes and apps we can build together.
For the record – and if anyone is interested – we can now rip out one language ’string’ from the API and, roughly for the cost of a 2,500-word translation, re-install a new language configuration back into our API and ‘localise’ ourselves in terms of language.
Spanish and $ gives us a model for the US Hispanic market-place, for example.
For now, however, we’ll help the Welsh to help themselves. To build a new media landscape for themselves from the bottom up…