Every week we publish an interview with a start-up. We ask five questions, hoping the answers will give you inspiration and new views.
This time we’re interviewing Valer Batcu, the co-founder of BlogUpp!. The service works as follows: BlogUpp! asks only for the link to the blog, automatically takes a snapshot of it, and retrieves its latest article based on RSS feeds; it generates as well a code, which once inserted in the blog (e.g. in the sidebar) shows up the widget. Through the widget the blog gets equally promoted on other community blogs in an automated and interactive way.
How did you come up with the idea of BlogUpp!?
“Bloggers are busy people, and we understand that. While being focused on writing great content for their readers, and engaging with other fellow-bloggers, there’s no time left to spread their word and promote the blogs wider, whereas that is vital for the success of a blog. Some promotion services are available out there, but they require maintenance and dedication to using them, such as regularly clicking on banners, manually creating them, and other time consuming actions. So, there came the idea to support the bloggers in adding extra-visibility to their blogs, without requiring additional efforts and time; easy and efficient. That made us build BlogUpp! service, which is available to any blogger simply by adding an interactive widget to a blog, without even the need to sign up.”
What was your biggest challenge during the development process?
“Whilst the main goal was to keep seemingly the concept as simple as possible, without requiring bloggers to register lots of details, we realized that there had to be figured out a way of authenticating, when it comes to providing access to advanced features, such as private stats. After thorough analysis, the solution was found in integrating with OpenID, which aims to simplify one’s web experience. Popular blog platforms have been already OpenID-enabled and as a result our community bloggers now can access their private records simply by entering their blog url, with no additional setup.”
Can you describe the Romanian start-up culture compared to Silicon Valley?
“So far the start-ups in the region have just begun to emerge. Nevertheless the local tech culture shouldn’t be different to the European one. Indeed, the Valley is a great tech place, which makes it much easier to have a start-up up and running. It’s about the entrepreneurial air, the contacts and live meetings of likeminded people. On the other hand, knowing the culture of your end users is crucial, and it doesn’t make big difference whether one is in the Valley, in Europe or somewhere else, as long as everyone is addressing the Internet to get closer to their communities. In our case, the service addresses the bloggers from all over the world, and we believe that being in a region where big cultures intersect gives us a good advantage in understanding our multinational community.”
What will be the influence of your start-up on the next web?
“With the amount of global information doubling each five years, time becomes the most precious resource for everyone. Now it’s getting more difficult to attract users with a sophisticated product. Everybody needs simple tools to ease their experience and save time, be it online or offline. We hope that BlogUpp! is a good example in that sense. Other than that, while promoting blogs in the widget, those with creative and interesting content are naturally favored and are to get more visibility and more readers. Hence we believe BlogUpp! is to encourage great blogs appear on the scene to add more value to the
Can BlogUpp! really make a difference?
“Link exchange programs were meant to trick Google ranking, and return better positions in searches; in the end that leads to sites being banned by Google. Most banner exchange systems are rewarding their users for clicking on their banners, and not for creating content, which results in low quality traffic. Users get easily hooked by the idea of fast results and instant traffic promoted by click-based services. A lot different to those is that BlogUpp! aims to be referred as a decent promotion tool for bloggers, assisting the readers in promoting blogs organically. The widget is not forcing the readers to click and visit blogs, rather provides each blogger opportunities to deserve readers’ attention, by sharing mini-copies of blogs to larger likeminded audiences. That’s a natural way to get extra-promoted, which we hope will become a part of blogging as such, as the name of the service itself suggests.”