Blog location has changed!

March 27, 2008

Hey! If you’re still trying to access the Youlicit blog, we’ve moved over to http://blog.youlicit.com/.

So update your bookmarks and head on over to our new site! And apologies for any inconveniences.


Youlicit – Your Personal Discovery Engine!

February 26, 2008

As we release a new & updated version of the product, the biggest change you will notice is a shift in focus from being an item-based recommendation engine (giving you sites that others have liked based on the site you are on) to a more personalized discovery engine (providing you with relevant and compelling content based on your interest at any given time). We are confident that this is taking Youlicit one step closer towards our goal of connecting users to the information they care about in the most effortless manner.

Among the many improvements and changes included in this release, what I would like to highlight here is the fact that a toolbar download is no longer required to receive Youlicit’s personalized recommedations! You can now link your Youlicit account to your Digg, Delicious, StumbleUpon, or other social bookmarking account and your Youlicit profile will automatically update itself as you use your other accounts. Your youlicit recommendations can now be accessed in many different forms:

  • as an RSS feed that can be seen from your RSS reader
  • on your Youlicit page (as it has been traditionally)
  • with a “Discover!” bookmarklet that can be dragged onto your browser
  • right on your blog using the Youlicit blog widget
  • your Facebook profile (as we improve and release an updated Facebook app)

This seemless interaction allows users to receive Youlicit’s recommendations without any additional download or change in behavior. By continuing to use your third party web services of choice, you can receive relevant and compelling web content where your normally go to get their information.

Users who already have the toolbar or don’t have accounts with any of the services supported, can still download and use the Firefox extension and continue to receive and recommend great websites.

We urge you to check out the new site and service and as always welcome any feedback you have.


Scrabulous – an awesome product-market fit

February 7, 2008


Hey guys (if there are any of you still reading this blog)! Apologies for the very long blogging break but as promised in our New Year’s resolution, we’re back! Today I wanted to do something we rarely do here on this blog, talk about another product. My reason for doing so is because it makes a great case study and allows me show my support for this product.

You may be aware of the Facebook application created by two brothers in India taking an age old board game and putting it on the web. You may even be one of those people who spends half of his or her day flexing those vocab muscles conjuring up every permutation of words one can make from 7 letters. If you do, you know what I am talking about. To those who aren’t, I am referring to the Facebook application, Scrabulous. Could anyone have imagined creating an online scrabble game would have so much success?

Less than eight months old, Scrabulous today, has the 5th highest number of active users (655,781) of all Facebook applications and of that list, the highest ratio of active to total users (25%). It’s even one of the more popular applications among Facebook employees. Its growth has been quite staggering and even more impressive is its ability to engage users and keep users coming back. I myself am guilty of having 3-4 active games at any given time and taking increasingly frequent breaks during the day to put down my “bingo”. With Hasbro’s recent demand to shut down the company, users have flocked together to show unprecedented support to keep the application up. The Facebook group “Save Scrabulous” has over 55,0000 users and over 8500 people have signed a petition asking Hasbro retract their cease and desist letter. A few fans even created a humorous and satirical music video as their way to show their love and support for the application:

To achieve this type of a large, passionate and loyal fan base is the dream of any product developer or marketer.

What’s interesting to note, as many of you are probably already aware, is that Scrabulous is not the first online version of the game. Far from it in fact. A quick search on Google for “online scrabble” will result in a plethora of online and downloadable versions of this classic word game. These have existed for years but none have found as many and passionate a user base as Scrabulous. This begs the question, why?

The answer lies at the crux of what makes a successful product. Marc Andreessen wrote a great bit on this a little while ago that I urge you to read. The key to making a successful product does not mean having a perfect product or an extremely stellar team (not to detract anything from what the creators of Scrabulous have done). What matters most is achieving a harmonious product-market fit. This means shaping your product to fit the current trends, needs and demands of the market. A lot can even be attributed to timing; being at the right place at the right time.

In Scrabulous’s case, the product was nothing revolutionary. On the contrary, it was a plain and simple online adaptation of the board game that had been done numerous times before. It was also far from perfect. Those who remember early iterations of Scrabulous will recall how frustratingly slow and unreliable it was (and to some degree still is). The user interface was (and still is) cluttered with intrusive, to the point annoying, ads that detracted from the overall experience and had much room for improvement (and still does). But all this did not stop users from returning or the application from taking off. Scrabulous’s user base continued to sky rocket thanks to Facebook’s immensely viral platform. So why did users continue to swarm to this application?

The reason becomes clear when we examine the market a little closer. Facebook has been seeing an exponential increase in users. It opens up its platform to allow third party developers to create and distribute applications on the Facebook network. Millions of users, hungry for novel ways to interact and engage with their newly created network of friends, start experimenting and adding these new applications as they are being released. Some of the applications are extremely successful while some fail and get buried in the figurative Facebook dust. In comes Scrabulous, an application that allows users to play the classic board game online with their friends in an asynchronous, turn based manner. The game becomes an instant hit. People love the ease with which they can start and participate in games. It provides a new way to interact with friends and play the game with people who may not be accessible to play face to face. The game itself meshes with the typical Facebook user’s profile: high school, college or recent graduate, educated, smart, with a large network of similar friends. The game finds a core of users and spreads like wildfire, thanks also to Facebook’s ability to promote such applications virally via news feeds, user invitations, etc.

The market therefore, was a perfect fit for what the Agarwalla brothers created. It wasn’t that they built a brand new product that took social networking to the next level or changed the way people interacted. They simply saw an opportunity that was ripe for the plucking and took advantage of it. Kudos to their team and the success they have achieved and I wish them luck in their battle against Hasbro.


Join “The Clique”!

January 9, 2008

The Youlicit team had created a Google discussion group to use as a channel of communication with our users several months ago. The group has been kept exclusive and open to only Youlicit’s most active/loyal users up until now. We are now opening it up to let anyone join and voice their opinions and concerns to us.

Check it out at The Youlicit Clique. From time to time the team posts discussions, questions, and give-aways to get your input and show our thanks as we continue to work to make Youlicit better. It is also a great way to meet fellow users and communicate with them. We look forward to seeing on there.


Things to look forward to in 2008…

January 3, 2008

Happy New Year everyone! As we start a fresh calendar year, here are some things to look forward to from the Youlicit Team. There are two main focuses in terms of product development that we are striving towards; one is to continue improving our results & recommendations and the other is to make a more engaging user experience by improving the social aspects of the site.

Better Results:

  • an increased coverage of the web as we expand our ability to get recommendations on a larger number of websites and topics
  • more relevant and serendipitous recommendations

More engaging user experience:

  • ability to tag & comment & discuss on and about sites
  • contacting/communicating with users via anonymous emailing (opt-in feature)
  • automatically tracking comments and discussions on sites you have posted or commented on or topics that interest you the most

And last but not least, we resolve to be more active on this blog! Heres to a healthy and successful year ahead.


Youlicit – New & Improved! (once again)

December 18, 2007

So what’s been keeping the Youlicit Team busy until wee hours in the morning for the past few weeks? We’ve been preoccupied with releasing a new version of the website based on much of the feedback we’ve received from you.

The first change you will notice is the new look we’ve given the site. The main goal was to help you find other Youlicit users more easily and improve the level of interaction between you and them. You can now find similar users, users interested in certain topics and users desperately trying to be your friends and keep up with what they are recommending at all times.

The second major change was overhauling our infrastructure to provide you with a faster and more responsive level of service. You no longer have to endure painful seconds of watching the little icon on the top right corner of your browser churn away as your favorite recommendations are now being served up to you faster than you can say “Hey Mom! Check out this new site I found!”.

These are just some of the many surprises we have in store so stay tuned! As always, we’re aching to hear from you, so leave some love.


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2007

Happy thanksgiving for all of you in the US!