I want to focus a lot on developing new features for DaniWeb, and getting us back to our former glory. However, a lot of doing that requires the community's investment and involvement in Dazah.

Who out here in Internet land has any interest in building a Dazah app? If no, what are the main hesitations? What could I be doing to pique your interest?

I want to focus a lot on developing new features for DaniWeb

Yes yes yes!

any interest in building a Dazah app? If no, what are the main hesitations? What could I be doing to pique your interest?

Social media / person to person communications... everybody has already done it all to death. Entrenched competition has mind share and vast marketing budgets. Time to move on.

I'm not so sure I agree that there is no room for improvement with any social media applications currently out there. There's a lot you can do with Dazah that no one else in the industry is even considering.

So there are two ways to leverage the Dazah API:

  1. You have your own pre-existing community, such as a meetup group, or you want to build your own online community from scratch. You can use the Dazah API to build a chat-based app or a matchmaking app (such as a dating app for nerds).
  2. You want to write an app for existing Dazah / DaniWeb users, or an app that lets people search for or chat with existing Dazah / DaniWeb users.

An app that I was planning on doing myself, but never got around to do, is a Pastebin-like app for DaniWeb members. (So it would fall into the second category above). Basically the way it would work is users would log in with their Dazah credentials. Upon doing so, the API will have access to their complete DaniWeb member profiles, as well as who they chat with on DaniWeb, their favorite programming languages, etc. They could then post code snippets that, utilizing the Dazah chat functionality, could be viewed and edited in real time by multiple users. So essentially it would function like remote pair programming, but there would be a constant log of all code changes. The entire thing would be handled in Dazah’s servers. Because the API would give you who they chat with on DaniWeb, there could be an invite button where they could invite their DaniWeb friends into the live code snippet. Thoughts??

Anyways, that's just one of many ideas or directions you could take Dazah in.

Another place where I see a huge use case is when it comes to matchmaking, of course. We are the only platform that connects people by evaulating behaviors. No existing dating apps or professional networking apps that are on the market currently do anything like that.

We are also the only platform that lets people tap into the networking groups they're a member of in order to search for users based on specific criteria. You cannot search LinkedIn Groups, Facebook groups, or Meetup.com groups by any criteria other than some simple filters such as name or school. Not even by skill or interest! So that's a huge use case as well.

Yes yes yes!

Here's what it comes down to. Forums are old hat. Google doesn't like them. The ad industry has morphed such that publishers don't make much money from ads anymore. Twenty years ago, all the top generating websites were online publishers: Yahoo!, MSN, CNET, etc. Nowadays, they're all close to bankrupt. And you don't hear about forums like you did 5-10 years ago.

There are two types of businesses that make money online nowadays: SaaS platforms (software-as-a-service) where you pay to use their online service or platform, and social media platforms that collect data about their users and have their own proprietary ad platforms to sell targeted ads to these users (Facebook and Google).

Dazah integrates with DaniWeb, offers a robust SaaS platform, and collects and utilizes user behavior in a way never before done: to provide matchmaking between users. I'm trying to save DaniWeb with Dazah. But I need it to gain enough traction and revenue to justify putting effort into working on it.

Why say "yes yes yes!" to putting resources into developing new features for DaniWeb, but at the same time say there is no room for improvement in social media, everyone has already done it to death, and it's time to move on. DaniWeb is a social media platform aimed at techies, is it not? And Dazah is that same platform, only in the form of an API.

I never saw DW as just another vanity self-publishing social media timewaste. Real people with real problems came seeking answers and real people with real expertise spent real time answering them. You say that's "old hat". I disagree. There are just as many people struggling with IT courses as there always were. I can't see a single reason why the demand should have declined.
OK, so the problem is Google. So isn't the response 100% effort in SEO?
If it turns out that we can get better exposure by adding some particular feature (language-specific forums anyone?), and that Dazah API is best way to do it, then OK. Otherwize it just sounds like a solution seeking a problem.
If the real problem is that it's hard to make enough profit from a service like DW then it's time for some existential soul-searching.

<personal note> Dani: I seem to be your main, even only, critic on this. It's not personal. For the record I'm a huge fan of you and what you have done. I'm arguing a side that I believe needs to be argued, but only because I really want to see DW continue. I have no doubt that you are the solution, not the problem. JC </personal note>

to provide matchmaking between users

Is there value in that?

I know there is value in informed matchmaking but you need a high quality pool of users and companies. Can DW's userbase (which if I'm not mistaken is Dazah's too) support this kind of use in the real world?

I know DW has a lot of members but seemingly only a tiny handful of them are active, many are novices and I don't see any companies being represented.

In this arena you'll be up against LinkedIn, Xing, Salesforce; plus the countless companies that build on their APIs. They all have massive databases full of high quality customer and client record and sell b2b services on top.

Tldr; you might have the expertise but you need the data to back it up.

I can't see a single reason why the demand should have declined.
OK, so the problem is Google. So isn't the response 100% effort in SEO?

The online ecosystem has changed. Search engines don't send traffic to forums anymore ... especially any tech forums. It's not like other forums started outranking us and we can just work on our SEO. All search engines don't like forums nowadays, so getting significant traffic from SEO for a forum-based site is just not possible anymore. Secondly, online publishers cannot earn revenue from advertising by working with ad networks and ad agencies anymore. Also, direct advertisers don't work directly with publishers anymore. So forums, even if they did get traffic, just aren't able to make enough money to cover their costs.

Whether you personally believe that forums are not "old hat" or whether you personally still see value in forums is not up for debate. I, as well, personally see value in forums, and value in DaniWeb. However, the current online ecosystem has changed in such a way such that forums simply are not profitable anymore. Adding additional features to the forum, without massively overhauling the revenue model, will not fix the problem. The solution I'm looking to Dazah for is a way of monetizing what I've built with DaniWeb. If DaniWeb continues to not bring in any money, I can't just keep pouring time and effort into it.

I know DW has a lot of members but seemingly only a tiny handful of them are active, many are novices and I don't see any companies being represented.

We are not trying to match users with companies. We are trying to match users with users.

  • People who work from home, who are missing out on the social aspects of working in an office environment, looking to meet other locals who work in their industry
  • People who are looking to find mentors
  • People who work in sales or business development positions who are looking to meet potential clients one-on-one
  • Any of the people I typically encounter attending and hosting tech meetups and business networking events

In this arena you'll be up against LinkedIn, Xing, Salesforce; plus the countless companies that build on their APIs. They all have massive databases full of high quality customer and client record and sell b2b services on top.

LinkedIn does not have a public-facing API. The only API they offer is for vetted high-profile companies and HR firms who want to pay to search their database of resumes. Salesforce, of course, does not provide any type of database of users for APIs to tap into either. They are just robust database software. I'm not familiar with Xing.

LinkedIn has an extensive API. Of course they restrict aspects of it because they don't want people competing against them, and Salesforce is Siloed so wouldn't really be suitable for the "professional dating" thing. Xing is the LinkedIn of the German speaking world.

Any of the people I typically encounter attending and hosting tech meetups and business networking events

Many of them on Daniweb? Any?

People who are looking to find mentors

Please don't pair me with Davy

People who work from home, who are missing out on the social aspects of working in an office environment, looking to meet other locals who work in their industry

Ok, this is a potential niche, I guess

People who work in sales or business development positions who are looking to meet potential clients one-on-one

I don't get this. Without pairing at the company level how could you know if someone is a potential client? Or are you talking about b2c pairings?

LinkedIn has an extensive API. Of course they restrict aspects of it because they don't want people competing against them, and Salesforce is Siloed so wouldn't really be suitable for the "professional dating" thing.

I'm very, very, very familiar with LinkedIn's API. I've written against it many times. As you say, they don't offer any way to tap into their users from a social perspective. The point I was trying to make is that our APIs aren't really in competition with each other in any way. Not Facebook's, either.

I don't get this. Without pairing at the company level how could you know if someone is a potential client? Or are you talking about b2c pairings?

I attend sooooo many networking events where you go into a room full of a few hundred people. You go up to the first person and you say, "Hi, so, what do you do?" and you make small talk for a few minutes, swap business cards, and see if there's a potential fit for working together. Then you move onto the next person. Three hours later, you wasted two and a half hours making small talk with people that aren't a good fit for your business, and you left with 5 business cards. A lot of these events attempt to reduce the pain points by color coding name tags so that you can more easily find the people who fit into your business plan, providing lists in advance of the event of the elevator pitches of attendees so you can focus on who you want to meet once you get there, etc. There has to be a more efficient way.

I don't get this. Without pairing at the company level how could you know if someone is a potential client? Or are you talking about b2c pairings?

It's been my experience that it's all about who you know. I run a tech forum and I don't want to be matched with Dell. But a specific person who works for Dell Community Outreach, or a person who knows someone who can potentially help make something happen ... those are the connections that can turn into potential partnerships.

In my 15 years of selling advertising inventory to agencies, I work with specific sales reps and follow them as they change positions between companies. A rep I develop a relationshp with when they work at Univeral McCann is going to take their little black book with them when they move to Ogilvy. It's my experience that in most sales-based positions, people take their client list with them when they switch jobs. In fact, many times companies attempt to steal employees from each other because it's the cheapest way of acquiring a lucrative customer.

Either way, my point is that it should all be about the people and relationships between people. The benefits of networking come from relationships with people. Not relationships with entities.

Search engines don't send traffic to forums anymore ... especially any tech forums. It's not like other forums started outranking us and we can just work on our SEO.

I'm calling bullshit on that.

I just tried the kind of search a Java learner is likely to make when seeking help:
"java problem null pointer"

In the first 10 pages of results maybe 1/4 were some kind of forum or community discussion site, starting with hit number 2 None of them was DaniWeb.

commented: I wonder if Google has changed search yet again. For a time I didn't get forum hits. Now I do. +0
commented: I also view StackOverflow as a forum with threads... but I don't think that was her point entirely. I do, however, agree with yours. +0

May I ask what results you see? When I google "java problem null pointer" here's what I get:

  1. Stack Overflow, which is a Q&A site, not a forum. The big difference here is that Q&A sites such as Stack Overflow and Quora are very heavily curated, with questions that are never too specific to just the OP's use case, and always immediately followed by direct answers to the specific question at hand. These are perfectly optimized for search engines, whose goal is to give people the answer to their question in the fastest and most efficient way possible. Forums are different in that they are less curated for the masses (e.g. we allow OPs to post their code and ask for help finding a bug in their code, which means that we don't optimize for every single page of our site to be otimally designed to help Google searchers). Additionally, discussion threads allow for back and forth posts, which, again, is less optimized for the Q&A method of short, concise question geared towards the masses followed by individual, standalone answers. Discussion forums, on the other hand, are typically geared towards optimizing for / helping the OP or helping the forum members.
  2. Also Stack Overflow
  3. A tutorial on GeeksForGeeks.org titled "Null pointer exception in Java". Tutorials that concisely answer a Googler's question are, again, optimized for Google searchers.
  4. A tutorial / article on Wikibooks.org
  5. A tutorial on Javaworld.com
  6. A tutorial on Oracle.com
  7. A tutorial on Oracle.com
  8. A tutorial on airbrake.io
  9. A tutorial on JavaCodeGeeks with example code
  10. A Youtube video tutorial called Java.lang.NullPointerException

There are quite a few other threads on DaniWeb in our SEO forum about what happened, but basically a few years ago, Google decided that forums provided a bad user experience for searchers because when people arrived at forum threads from Google searches, it was reasonably unlikely that the OP had the exact same specific problem the searcher had, and the posts that followed always tended to focus more on the OP than be helpful to the Googler. Google is in the business of making their searchers happy and providing the best experience for them, which means answering their specific questions in the fastest way possible. This meant not sending them to forums where they could then sign up and ask their own question and wait for a response. Stack Overflow and other Q&A sites have been created to specifically target Googlers, with their rules that specifically prohibit posing questions that are likely to only be useful to the OP. We attempt to provide more of a Q&A-like experience by putting "featured responses" immediately below the OP's question for threads that have been marked solved. However, this still isn't good enough to compete with content like that on SO, at least where the search engines are concerned.

You can read up more about all of this here: https://www.webmasterworld.com/google/4641876.htm

commented: I get the same results as yours +0

May I ask what results you see?

I looked at all the first 10 pages, and found more discussion threads after the first page.

But anyway, if what you say is the whole story it's all academic. If there's no way for people to discover that DaniWeb exists and provides the kind of services it does, then we're all wasting our time.

More constructively...
Page 2 of that Google search has treehouse community, rapid miner, modelio, java forums, github, atlassian community.
I look closer at the first four, and they all seemed be the same as us. Except they are on page 2 of Google's results.

What are they doing that we are not?

commented: I am reading folk that want Page One results. That means cash to Google for well, you know. Placement. +0

But anyway, if what you say is the whole story it's all academic. If there's no way for people to discover that DaniWeb exists and provides the kind of services it does, then we're all wasting our time.

That's why I have been saying that unless something fundamental changes with our current model of acquiring traffic from Google and selling banner advertising, neither of which are currently effective, it's an impossible position for me to continue putting effort and focus into DaniWeb.

That's also why I am focusing so much on Dazah to be DaniWeb's salvation. All it needs is the teeny tiniest bit of traction in order to completely overhaul DaniWeb's revenue model. With money coming in that is not dependant on the amount of Google traffic, we'll have unlimited opportunities to put money towards acquiring traffic other ways.

More constructively...
Page 2 of that Google search has treehouse community, rapid miner, modelio, java forums, github, atlassian community.
I look closer at the first four, and they all seemed be the same as us. Except they are on page 2 of Google's results.

What are they doing that we are not?

They are not doing anything that we're not. The specific keyword search that you did for "java problem null pointer" just happens to have better threads available in other forums than are available on DaniWeb. There are other keyword searches where we have better threads available. For example, "python scanf", "mysql update select", and "resize image python". When looking at the big picture, we compare very favorably against other tech and programming forums. In terms of traffic, we're in the top 5 out of all programming forums. The problem is that Google doesn't look favorably upon forums at all. We used to always have top placements for everything. We're still hanging on to a small handful of top placements (which I mentioned). However, for most things, we're grouped with all the other forums, which start on page 3 or later of the results. In terms of not making it into the list for java problem null pointer, that's just a sample size of one. When compared to other forums, we are in a great position overall.

Basically, I'm willing to do absolutely anything to not let DaniWeb die. I truly, truly, truly believe that Dazah can be its salvation. It just needs the slightest bit of traction to get DaniWeb's business model changed. If I can get DaniWeb's revenue on top of Dazah, then that would be the end of all our problems.

So that brings me back to my initial question ... who might have interest in building a Dazah app in order to save DaniWeb?

Given all that you have said... suppose Dazah were bringing in loads of money, how exactly would you change DW's business model?

Dazah’s current business model is to sell targeted one-on-one private messages to DaniWeb members (and other Dazah users) based on our algorithm that aims to determine whom out of the user base would be most likely to want to hear and respond to a particular message.

If this concept works, then the entire revenue model is no longer strictly dependent on Google’s algorithm.

Basically I need a business model not reliant on how much traffic Google sends us and not reliant on banner advertising, which doesn’t make money anymore. The idea of selling targeted messages satisfies both those conditions. And by making it in the form of a separate entity (Dazah API) instead of just within DaniWeb, I can expand the model in the future to other third-party communities, with DaniWeb as the flagship.

Remember, all forums are in the same boat we are, so if it works for DaniWeb, we can sell the solution to every other forum out there. Plus, the way that Dazah connects people based on behavior is something not even LinkedIn, Facebook, or Meetup are able to do, yet (as mentioned earlier) would be highly beneficial to professional business networkers.

To clarify, everyone’s member profile is now a Dazah entity, and DaniWeb private messages are really Dazah chats under the hood, all using the public Dazah API.

Dazah’s current business model is such that any community using the Dazah platform (e.g. DaniWeb) can have their users chat with each other for free and take advantage of the matching algorithm amongst each other. However, everyone else who wants to reach out to members of a community that they, themselves, are not part of, must pay a small fee per person to do so. The ultimate vision is to have communities allowing their users to connect with each other in a way that is mutually beneficial to both communities. For example, being on DaniWeb, using the DaniWeb interface, and being able to communicate with CProg forum members. Beyond that, there being different communities in al different verticals that have overlapping user bases, and having these niche communities pool their resources. Google ousted forums. Now there are all these great communities out there that are no longer getting traffic or making money. We need to band together and bring something novel to our users that can help us make money at the same time.

No response, eh? :-/

You obviously put a lot of thought into this. Personally, I am either not experienced or creative enough to figure out how to exploit the system you created.

I get that DW is one giant "example" service using your platform. Lets take it a step further. I want to make an app. My app does X and I build it on Dazah for the oAuth black box aspect.

As I understand it - my users automatically get a dazah profile. Im a bit lost on what happens here. Are my users going to be randomly "connected" with other apps? Other users from other apps? If this is a bad use case lets move on to another.

It seems that Dazah is meant as an alternative to meetups or just networking in general. Professional networking is an interesting problem to solve... I get that the idea is to find people who have a need to meet others with a solution. If thats the case, some of the difficulties on building on top of this, especially with automation, is being able to guarantee skill level and professionalism.

I get you are sitting on a TON of user data and are looking to monetize. As I started this with - I don't think I am proficient in data mining or creative enough to use what you have done.

I have to agree. Consider that I started to learn my craft decades before the internet became a thing. I have almost zero knowledge of how to develop a web app and zero interest in learning a skill that I would likely never use again. I would have to spend too much time just learning how to use the tools I would need to develop the app.

My apologies for taking so long to reply to this. I've been mulling over what to do after hearing your responses, and I'm very discouraged.

You obviously put a lot of thought into this.

Obviously I didn't take the idea of relaunching DaniWeb on the Dazah platform lightly. I would never have done it if I didn't believe it was the right thing to do for DaniWeb.

Personally, I am either not experienced or creative enough to figure out how to exploit the system you created.

This seems to be the biggest problem I have. When I speak to business people, and explain the benefits of Dazah, their face lights up and they think, "Wow!! Where do I sign up?!" Then I explain to them that we're just a backend technology and they need their own dev team to implement it, and then the conversation doesn't move forward from there. When I speak to devs, I get responses more like what you are saying.

As I understand it - my users automatically get a dazah profile. Im a bit lost on what happens here. Are my users going to be randomly "connected" with other apps? Other users from other apps?

Let's say you have an app that offers something for developers. Whether it's something like Github or something else, let's just assume you have an app that is targeted for developers. But it's hard getting people to start using your app. So what you do is you make your login system powered by Dazah. Then, every DaniWeb member instantly also already has an account in your platform, and when they log in, you have full access to everything that DaniWeb knows about them. This lets you customize the experience of your app for each user from their very first sign-in.

It seems that Dazah is meant as an alternative to meetups or just networking in general.

That's one use case, yes.

If thats the case, some of the difficulties on building on top of this, especially with automation, is being able to guarantee skill level and professionalism.

So one benefit to writing your app on top of the Dazah platform is that Dazah handles this whole aspect for you because we curate your users on your behalf. You just need to leverage it from wtihin your app.

I get you are sitting on a TON of user data and are looking to monetize.

Yes, exactly.

I get you are sitting on a TON of user data and are looking to monetize.

Due to the nature of the Internet advertising industry, it is not possible to monetize from banner or text ads anymore. Monetizing from user data is the only real way to do it, a la Facebook, Google, etc. Dazah was my solution to monetize in a way that gives users additional functionality while at the same time not sacrificing privacy.

All that being said, I'm not saying that Dazah is the only way that DaniWeb could ever succeed. What I have been saying is that the only way DaniWeb could ever succeed is by monetizing user data. I'm all ears if you know a better way to do that.

Incidentally, has this thread been enlightening at all? :)

Just curious.

@Dani, very. Especially today's post about monetizing. Then my mind drifts off to think about which companies have the most user data and how they set the rules for monetization. God, that must be upsetting.

Just have to add this with edit: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/from-mad-men-to-math-men-ken-auletta-on-the-new-world-of-advertising/

Google and Facebook are now going after your clients, business and more. Frenemies?
(Change my mind?)

The biggest thing that article alludes to IMHO is how Google and Facebook became ad agencies themselves by selling targeted advertising that leverages their user data, something ad agencies aren't able to compete with. Dazah aims to do the exact same thing.

rproffitt, you have web dev experience. Do you see the benefit in creating a Dazah app that's targeted towards DaniWeb users?

commented: I need to think about this. I'm also in the middle of adding features to a 2005 test app. BBL. +0

@Dani, I will admit.. as much as I love to program, I am very much a "point me at a problem" kind of person... I have a bit of a hard time wrapping my head around how to best use Dazah.

I get the whole Immediate user base kind of thing... it's smart. It makes a platform for an immediate audience. I just don't have any ideas that I have the kind of need for that, and my hobby programming tends to be for self use or to better understand a concept for work. But I am just one of however many active members there are on DW. Don't let my short coming (or just lack of need or even underststanding) be a benchmark for what others have or will need.

You built it. They will come.