Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Walk Before Running

6/18 1:05AM PDT) Update:

We have now made the Viewbar available for download on tucows.com, a trusted software download website. The download button on your account page should now point to the Viewbar download page on tucows. This should help free up our servers to accommodate the website traffic. We will continue to monitor this.

( You can download your viewbar immediately using the link below:

http://www.tucows.com/get/513386_205985 )

(6/13 9:31PM PDT) Update:

We just initiated the auto-upgrade for the Viewbar software to v1.03. This has fixes to many of the stability bugs some Members have experienced. If you previously experienced problems with your Viewbar, try running it again now with this updated version and it should work.

Our stats tell us that most currently active Viewbars seem to have been updated just fine by now. If you get a message telling you that your Viewbar has expired, restart the Viewbar and it should initiate the automatic upgrade. If that still doesn’t work, right-click the AGLOCO icon in the Windows task bar (a green “o”) and select “options”. Then click the button to “check for updates” in the “General” tab.

For this update we made some changes that require we simultaneously invalidate the old Viewbar version for stability reasons, but most future auto-updates will occur seamlessly.

  • Now that AGLOCO has launched the Viewbar (we released it on June 4th so we are 8 days “old”), we should start to make steady progress. Here’s a big picture view of where we’re going over the next few months. I see things in three major phases, with some overlap between them.

The first order of business is to get the Viewbar (and our website) stable – with rotating ads.

  • Viewbar Stability: We will be releasing an updated version of the Viewbar software within a week that will take care of some of the remaining ‘bugs’, and we will continue to stabilize the software. If you already have the Viewbar, you do not need to do anything to get this new version, as your Viewbar should automatically self-update with it. For the most part it seems these remaining ‘bugs’ appear minor and only affect a very limited number of members. This is good. This means we can put our primary emphasis on the next phase of the Viewbar while leaving a small team to work on the minor bugs.

  • Website Stability: We will be making the Viewbar software available on one trusted alternate download site (we are picking it now and it will be all set up before we send a Viewbar download “reminder” email to the Membership). This should help our servers balance the website traffic with the stress of the download process. We will continue to make adjustments and improvements to our servers in order to improve performance for those browsing (so there are no disruptions to the sign-up process for new Members in the future).

  • Ad rotation: We are working with the ad server people to optimize this process. The way they initially rotated the ads was crashing their servers with all the Viewbars asking for ads, so they have needed to improvise. Now it seems that some Members are getting rotating ads and others aren’t, depending on browser settings and computer environment. They are working on solutions so their ads show up on all Viewbars, regardless of computer environment or settings. I do not know how long this will take, but we have seen a steady improvement in the number of users who get rotating ads, so it seems progress is being made.

The next phase for AGLOCO is the maximizing of Viewbar revenue. This is an important goal, as we have fairly fixed costs so the more revenue we generate (especially more revenue per Viewbar), the more each Member will receive. There are lots of steps that will need to be taken in the coming months to improve AGLOCO’s revenue including:

1. Improving our search and ad revenue sources and sharing agreements. As more Members use the Viewbar, our bargaining power grows.

2. Start the Viewbar targeting system. One part of this system will focus ads based on your searches and surfing. Another part of this system will focus ads based on where you live (of course, AGLOCO will need to have a contract with ad networks in each of these countries to provide local ads in local countries).

3. Better inform Members of the revenue generating opportunities on the Viewbar.

4. Continue to work with existing Members who have not yet activated their Viewbars. We expect that after the initial spike of downloads this process will be one of gradual adoption. New Members signing up will have access to the Viewbar right away.

5. Continue to make improvements to encourage continued viral growth of the AGLOCO Membership. This includes website improvements, increased Viewbar functionality, and an opt-in Member-to-Member communication system.

Maximizing revenue is extremely important to AGLOCO, since cash distributions will come from AGLOCO’s positive earnings (revenue exceeding expenses). There is some information available on the AGLOCO website and in previous posts to this blog, but I will talk more about this important stage of AGLOCO’s future in my next post. I won’t be giving exact payment dates nor a fixed hourly rate prediction (as AGLOCO cannot predict future revenues per Member), but I will talk more about how the distributions will work.

Brian Greenwald

AGLOCO Development Team