The monthly Tokyo2point0 event took place for the 10th time in Harajuku last Tuesday. More info about the event and network can be found on the official Tokyo2point0 site, the Facebook group or on Mixi.
This time, two presentations were held (in English and Japanese), leaving enough room for networking among the attendees (which is in my view always very welcome).
Kakaku.com’s new Photohito service
Kakaku.com (“Kakaku dotto komu”, is their company name) is a huge Japanese price comparison platform (more info here and here) covering a wide range of products from electronics to financial services. In fact, over time Kakaku.com evolved into a full-fledged social shopping service, providing information on over 220,000 different products.
An internal initiative spearheaded by Kakaku.com engineer Shinya Sugiyama made the management clear a budget for the development of a photo sharing site called “Photohito” (which means “photo people” in Japanese). The new service is run under the umbrella of Kakaku.com, not by a separate entity.
Shinya said the first internal pitch was given in July last year and the service went online on February 21st. Shinya’s motivation was triggered by a personal dissatisfaction with current photo management sites available on the web. So he decided to produce a service on his own.
According to Shinya, Photohito is following a “3S”-approach. The site wants to focus on showing pictures for 50%, on sharing for 25% and on searching contents for 25%.
The integration with kakaku.com is particularly interesting. For example, users can not only upload pictures but also state what camera they were taken with. Information retrieved from Kakaku.com’s database can then be used to add details regarding the hardware (i. e. lenses and other accessories). The service makes money when users click on the corresponding links and buy off kakaku.com.
Basic membership and uploading pictures is free. In addition to the integration into Kakaku.com, Photohito wants to sell storage space and advertisements to finance the site.
Shinya’s vision is to transform Photohito into a photo wiki to specifically serve Japanese camera and photo fanatics. To be honest, I didn’t see a real “killer” feature which would make members of other photo management services change to Photohito. The users seem to like it though: In 2.5 weeks, 1,500 people registered and uploaded approximately 10,000 photos already.
According to Shinya, there are no concrete plans for internationalization yet. Photohito is actually run by two people at the moment. Tokyo-based web producer Yongfook took over the design part completely on his own!
You can watch Shinya’s presentation here (direct link).
The terribly jet lagged Michael Sheetal, director of Tokyo-based interactive design agency UltraSuperNew, delivered a presentation on “Press Army” (still in Alpha phase), his company’s most recent product.
In its simplest form, Press Army is a tool to monitor, collect and structure reactions to a certain project (i.e. a newly launched web service) found in various kinds of social media. This is done by using APIs from selected media aggregators on the web.
Sources covered by Press Army include Youtube, Technorati and Flickr. Users have the freedom to decide on a given media’s relevance. Press Army retrieves information from these sources and displays them on a single page, providing users with a comprehensive overview on what people think about their personal projects!
Press Army is fully bilingual (English/Japanese) but still in Alpha phase. UltraSuperNew built the site on the basis of PHP framework Symfony and Amazon’s EC2 service (the latter of which Michael couldn’t really recommend to the audience).
The company is still developing additional goodies to be included into Press Army, for example a blog widget. At the moment, it is planned to offer the service completely for free. An enterprise version with more features is supposed to actually generate revenue to cover costs for UltraSuperNew.
I think Press Army is a promising tool to keep control of the impact a given brand, web service, blog or any other product has in social media. Let’s see how the service develops and if UltraSuperNew can raise the resources necessary to efficiently market this cool idea in the industry.
The slides of the presentation can be accessed here. Watch Michael’s presentation here (direct link):
(both videos courtesy of event organizer Andrew Shuttleworth)