Hotstagram Borrows Facemash Idea to Compare Instagram Photos

Remember the Mark Zuck classic Facemash? Well the story didn’t go that well for him. Did you know yet that the inspiration behind it was Hot or Not? Many, borrowing the idea, came afterwards and made their mark. The whole idea of girl pics being compared is kinda too hot to resist. Isn’t it?


Yet another startup Hotstagram plans to exploit the idea. Instagram, not so while ago an iOS darling and then dished out for Android users to play with it and finally Facebook joined in to spoil acquire the whole party. Yet Instagram remains the most preferred app that still makes(and shares) those dull snaps look brilliant. 2011 figures suggest the number of images shared on the network is 400 million. That’s indeed a big number. The new startup plans to compare the people photos from Instagram based on how attractive(or HOT) they are. Users can choose to rate pictures of girls as well as guys. There’s no signup needed to vote on pictures. Instagram users who wish to get their pictures voted by random people can share their Instagram pics with Hotstagram by adding a simple #hotstagram tag to them. Hotstagram also provides a link for current matchup to share it elsewhere.

The idea although sounds a little creepy but the 27-year old founder who goes by the name Captain Kirk claims there’s nothing illegal. The whole picture sharing is compliant with the terms and conditions of Instagram. Facebook and Instagram is yet to issue any official statement to claim anything fishy about Hotstagram.

Seriously speaking the USP is intelligent. Tapping into a mammoth database of retro imagery and using a popular network to create content combined with the gender tickle will hardly be a failure. However the success banks on how the Instagram users are going to adopt it or rather how willing they are to get rated. Expectantly the response so far has been overwhelming and the unnamed developer claims their servers have crashed several times failing to handle the user overload. It’s up and running now. So have you rated yet?

With Waze Enjoy Social Navigation, Discounted Gas Prices, Voice Control And Lots More

Have you ever got stuck in traffic and hoped you could simply check in to a social map where someone has suggested an alternate route? Even better, if you had an early information about the roadblock, you could have avoided the route? Waze, an Android and iOS based startup, can help you get all the necessary traffic information and help you reach your destination without much frustration.


The Android and iOS based startup backed by Kleiner Perkins is aimed towards crowdsourcing traffic information. The app can be used to notify(and get notified as well) traffic information like roadblocks, police traps, jams, accidents etc. The app lets you take advantage of the data fetched by other fellow drivers(also using Waze) in your locality to outsmart traffic. Powered with voice control(initiated by a simple hand gesture) the app can be a great way to stay connected to the traffic updates and report necessary changes that you might encounter during your daily road trip.

The app has recently launched a new feature that will enable users to refuel gas at a lower price. So apart from finding (and reporting) traffic information one can now locate a gas station that’s offering lower prices. GasBuddy, already a market leader in this segment is already doing a great job. Users will have to wait for some time to find out the accuracy of Waze’s information and how it is planning to take up the challenge of competing with Gasbuddy. Waze has partnered with vendors that will offer discounts to Waze users at nearly 2000 stations currently in US. The service will gradually be rolled out globally so that the community can also report a gas station in their daily commute.

Along with other behemoths in the mapping scenario, Waze is also confirmed to be a part of Apple’s new turn-by-turn mapping services that is being implemented in the latest iOS6. This will definitely take the numbers up for the Waze users thereby producing more information for the service. However it is still unsure to how far Apple is planning to integrate the service in its maps, we will have to wait for that too.

Other notable features that has been dispensed includes search by category(for locating restaurants, ATMs, coffee shops etc), waypoints(to add a stop in your proposed route, helpful for car poolers) and text-to-speech.

To be candid, with what Waze professes to be offer, will eventually grow into a complete tool for car navigation. Now to be true, crowdsourcing, in terms of usability, offers both sides of a coin. Information generated by users help keep thing updated and grows at a steady pace as well. On the other hand, the accuracy of the information is questionable. Nonetheless, Waze has grown into a massive database, thanks to the (17million plus) community and doing great so far (else the Apple deal might not have happened). If things goes this way, Waze has all the mettle to change the face of turn-by-turn navigation by so-called social (storytelling) reporting of traffic.

Promote Your Work To Followers Who Admire You

Real or unreal, people flock on social networks, and if you happen to command upon a handsome number of fans there, your creativity can find a better voice with Gumroad. The new startup aims to help you market your work on the people network you already influence.

Sign up for a free account or you can use your Facebook or Twitter to get one. Once you are in, you can add your work by providing links or upload it to the Gumroad cloud that also works as a hosting service. Add a name for your work, set a price that’s reasonable for your effort and press the Add Link button. You’ll then be redirected to your sales page where you can further succinctly detail your work, add a thumbnail, track purchases/views or disable the sales. You can find a uniquely generated URL to sales page to share with your Facebook and Twitter fans and friends.


Apart from the common configurations, advanced options lets you showcase a work on profile, limit a sale for a predefined amount or add Webhooks to it. The interesting Webhooks feature for sellers offers better understanding of buyers and respond to them. It works great for specific purposes and can be used on link-to-link basis and not a universal feature for all. Know more about this here and to add Webhooks to any link use it from the More Options menu.

The pricing feature also offer a unique approach to pricing. You can enter a minimum amount for any item and then your users can define their own price for the item. This can be great if you choose to open a donation fund in exchange for a unique creation(e.g. a special sponsor Tshirt). Set a limit for any sale for a target fund such that when any number users pay their own prices to close the campaign to support the cause by buying the product, the campaign will feature them in an order they paid amounts are. A feel of exclusivity seems to work for them and your cause. To use this feature add a “+” after the minimum price you assign for a product. Anything from a charity program to a gig to commemorate a cause can leverage from this idea.

While payments will be sent to your Paypal account(once every month, no payment thresholds were found), your buyers will need to use their email and credit card(also address if you choose so, not required by default) details to complete the transaction. This might sound a bit tiresome (as credit card payments are) but it isn’t, if you take a look at the screenshot below(or use the demo page), you’ll get an idea how simple it is actually.


Any average Joe and Jane in the trade can use the wieldy tool. One major concern is maintaining customer records. If you are a popular artist or a seasoned marketer and happen to generate a healthy number of sales, it can be quite a ghastly experience. Leveraging networks for marketing sake is nothing new; Facebook pages are a perfect example. But Gumroad seems to make it inherent by seamlessly adding social sharing to marketing. The idea has specific advantages. Since people who follow you does so because they admire you, sharing your work with them will have better chances to get them sold or at the least shred to their own networks. On a concluding note, the app although may not serve as suitable tool for heavy marketing but serves individuals in need for a marketing media to publicize  and handle their sales.

CanvasDropr Introduces Digital Canvas For Visual Collaboration With Files On Cloud

Dropbox is a great way to sync your files across devices. What about adding some collaboration features to that? So far, no news that Dropbox is doing that soon enough; but that never stopped us from wanting, has it? Well as long as new developers are around, ideas have better chances to come to reality. In this case, CanvasDropr uses rich media in form of visual collaboration with files on cloud. Drag and drop files on to a digital canvas and work on them with others. Dead simple but with visible brilliance.


Sign up for a free account with CanvasDropr. Get in and create a canvas. Add files to the canvas by simple drag and drop method and you can perform basic operations on them like resizing, commenting, rotating, scratching notes or captions etc. You can then share the canvas with others with editing or viewing permission. Your team can then work on the canvas or offer a presentation to others having viewing permissions. All the changes and operations are reflected in real time across all the screens(devices) on which the canvas is opened. iPad, tablets and smartphones can also access the web portal which is optimized for mobile platforms.

The service is in beta and hence there are certain flaws which includes a slow interface and a server that kept throwing 503 HTTP ERRORs many a time. Notwithstanding, the service offers a brilliant collaborating platform for any team. Remember the working sessions before a college art exhibition or a protest march? All the photographs, data sheets, newspaper, cuttings, markers and whatnot scattered over the surface while every other person in the room is busy sorting, commenting or brainstorming ideas on them? The experience is similar with CanvasDropr. However fine, the idea of visual collaboration has already been tried and near perfected by DropMark which is an exact similar app with one or two minor differences. In fact, organizing content is much easier on the latter. DropMark offers free(250MB) plans and paid($48/yr for 25GB) plans whereas no such plans were found on CanvasDropr, which is free to sign up and use for now. So, if you haven’t tried out visual collaboration yet(RIP Google Wave), it’s time to get your hands dirty.

With Pinstagram You Can Enjoy Instagram In A Pinterest Style Layout

Instagram, the most popular smartphone app for photophiles, offers a great medium to capture, edit and share otherwise ordinary images in an extraordinary manner. Pinterest on the other hand has pioneered a great way to share images from various web sources and present them in a unique eye catchy web interface. Ever wondered how would it be to mash up two of the most popular image sharing services? Pinstagram offers a similar experience.


Login with your Instagram account and you’ll be presented with a Pinterest alike floating grid interface with images shared by your Instagram connections. You can like, pin and comment on them the same way you do on Pinterest. The interface is quite appealing akin to Pinterest.

Much like Facebook, Twitter or any popular social medium, Instagram is gradually growing into a platform developers can build upon. Before Pinstagram, there were a plethora of apps which had already provided ways to use Instagram from web, while the service(Instagram) is yet to launch its own web based platform. Notable mentions are Webstagram(Instagram on the web), Statigram(Instagram stats and browsing), Snapwidget(for showcasing Instagram images on a web page).

Contrary to buzz, the credit for even the very specific mashup idea, i.e Pinterest and Instagram, doesn’t go to Pinstagram. Pingram, an exactly similar startup, was there for quite long and hopefully is the first of its kind. Unlike Webstagram and Pinstagram, Pingram offers open access even to those without an Instagram account who can also share images to Facebook. Not to mention Instagram users can also enjoy their Instagram profile with Pingram. Pingram also offers an added advantage of browsing content using geospatial data, which undoubtedly is a great way to connect. Pinstagram, however, presents a much polished look for the users, which compliments the brilliant Instagram images.

Since the time Instagram’s or Pinterest’s popularity soared high, plenty of services have tried to ride on the wave. Leaving apart an initial surge in users, not many have made it big enough to get compared to the parent startups. Pinstagram is new and has been in news for some time now. There’s no question to the fact that it addresses a need and does so with usability in mind, yet, we’ll have to wait to see if Instagram community accepts it or not.

Try Product Ads with Expert Opinions Powered By inPowered Stories

in-powered-ad-thumbAre you looking to buy a new smart device or that ultrabook you saw last day on a TV commercial? You are most likely to look out for reviews from industry experts or ask for opinion from people you trust unless you are too obsessed to buy something specific. Study reveals buyer’s are more influenced by word of mouth than just by brilliantly crafted ads.

Netshelter is trying to put the fact in use with inPowered Stories which have expert reviews embedded within product ads to convince buyers. The reviews are selected based on their reputation, performance and social influence. inPowered Stories, along with normal ads, will also show titles and excerpts from thoughtful stories that shed light on the products. Brands willing to use the inPowered Stories will only have to pay if any article is read and not just for impressions.


Looking for those advertorials? You can find a demo on these pages.

The influencer network is comprised with some of most trusted names in the tech industry. Brad Linder(, Suzanne Kantra(, Scott Webster(, Paul Strauss(, Judie Stanford(, Rob Jackson( are only a few of the 4500+ famed reviewers included in this network.

Google and Facebook have already provided us with ads based on our personal data, friend recommendations and behavioral data. However, that needed us to use an account with them for the best results. There were no way to collect personal data otherwise(apart from random browser, OS data etc). With inPowered Stories employing the word of mouth advertising with editorials, that is proved to have impact in general, brands can do better without needing to collect personal data. The idea provides a good balance between user privacy and business interests.

The idea of ads with opinion is nothing new, whereas, it’s one of the most primitive methods. Your favorite movie star featuring in a TV commercial endorsing a brand used to do the trick on the targeted mass. Nowadays, people are more intelligent buyers who, although are still impressed with that kind of ads, are less likely to choose a product only because of people(who are rarely considered an expert about the product) endorsing it. Netshelter with inPowered Stories is only the intelligent variant of the concept.

So far, the chosen influencers are independent and trusted ones for their unbiased reviews with valuable insights. However, this has a high potential for bloggers to earn revenue, there is a high chance of biased evangelism and more specially if this idea is turned into an open platform for reviewers. Until then, it’s a brilliant medium for brands and buyers.

The New Way of 4D Storytelling with Meograph

Photo tours around the globe is a great pastime with Google Earth and Google Street View. The brilliant imagery in a spiffy interface is indeed a great way to kill time. Now add to that a little bit of geospatial data in form of videos, audio and images. You get Meograph. So far telling a story that covered a wide time span and lots of places was hard or was in pieces. Meograph combines them into a single experience.


Developed by Misha Leybovich, the new tool lets you navigate through places and annotate them with relevant videos, images and audio thereby creating an illustration akin to presentations. Take a look at the demo where the life of the celebrated music artist Whitney Houston is illustrated dexterously using clips from her music videos, movies she featured, songs that she sang and snaps relating to her. The entire sequence of events is narrated to present a more lively storytelling.

Meograph is in the making now and all you can do is watch the demo videos to get an idea of what can be achieved with the new app. You can also request for an invite. The new concept also brings in a new type of media which is kind of a blend between video and presentations. An experience that you witness when a company executive presents a quarterly growth report, only this one’s more enjoyable. Interesting part is this can be a brilliant way to imitate what Facebook so affectionately refers to as Timeline and can be embedded on any webpage. Hopefully the service will open doors this summer.