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Summary:

[qi:035] As a big believer in real-time interactions, I was excited to read about TokBox, a new startup that just received $4 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and has the blessing of the very same people who were involved with YouTube (GOOG), including YouTube’s third […]

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[qi:035] As a big believer in real-time interactions, I was excited to read about TokBox, a new startup that just received $4 million in funding from Sequoia Capital and has the blessing of the very same people who were involved with YouTube (GOOG), including YouTube’s third co-founder, Jawed Karim. (Though that doesn’t ensure success!)

By leveraging Flash features that connect to a computer’s built-in webcam and sound card, TokBox allows you to conduct web chats via a web browser, without the need to boot up a special program. And the web chat module can be embedded into your blog or social networking profile.

It’s an interesting idea, but more of a feature than a platform for a standalone company or model for a viable, long-term business. Even without chatting with the company, it’s clear that this is an idea that can be quickly imitated by others, much like YouTube. If (and that’s a big if) TokBox is going to work, it will need to be rapidly adopted by the marketplace.

At that point, Sequoia can easily flip it to someone. If this is a modest success, then Cisco Systems (CSCO), which is looking to add some video oomph to its WebEx property, could fit the bill. If it’s a monster consumer hit, then Google’s (GOOG) YouTube could be a buyer.

But in order for TokBox to become a monster consumer hit, the company needs to fix its technology. I have been spammed non-stop this morning: 157 messages so far, all because a close friend signed up with TokBox and wanted to share it with me. No thank you, friend! For the sake of our friendship, please don’t share untried services with me. I am really not in the mood to be a guinea pig this Monday morning.

And to the rest of you who are thinking about trying TokBox: don’t. Not until these kids figure out what the problem is.

From WebWorkerDaily: Anne Zelenka says no thanks to video conferencing for web workers.

[qi:__funding_4]

  1. [...] our boss Om writes on GigaOM, I have been spammed non-stop this morning: 157 messages so far, all because a close [...]

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  2. The ‘Tokbox’ link points at ‘http://toxbox.com’. Are you trying to poison us? ;)

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  3. Serge here from TokBox. Just wanted to pipe in here to offer somewhat of an explanation… Due to the massive amount of people using our site this morning , we did have a problem for a few minutes with multiple emails going out for each invitation sent. The problem was quickly identified and fixed (within 15 minutes) and we don’t expect the issue to resurface.

    We’re sorry for any inconvenience this has caused. We’ve been very excited with the great feedback and response our beta product has received so far (with the exception of this email issue), and look forward to keeping our users happy and satisfied

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  4. Carolyn Pritchard Monday, October 15, 2007

    Thanks Panthar…the link is fixed now.

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  5. The problem was quickly identified and
    fixed (within 15 minutes) and we don’t
    expect the issue to resurface.

    It’s now around 3 hours later, and I just got 18 from the same person. Perhaps you should try a more thorough fix.

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  6. Amen to that Alex. Serge I am still getting spammed like mad. I just blocked Tokbox from my mail server. hate to do this, but this is something you guys need to fix asap.

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  7. Hi Om and Alex,

    these are emails that have already left the system and took longer to get delivered through the network so we can’t control them. We killed our mail server as soon as we discovered the issue (after ~15 min) so no emails could have left TokBox after that

    Keep in mind – this is still a beta product but we fix each issue we find very rapidly

    -Serge

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  8. Om – spot on here. New start-ups like WooMe.com and some adult sites have already utilized the same technology to deliver in-browser communication propositions. I’m not on WooMe beta, but from what i hear the quality is “pretty good.”

    Tokbox going after skype with its broad play, but not sure if in-browser is enough differentiation to take on the embedded leader.

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  9. This is a niche way of using video online and has been presented well. But during my review i wasn’t able to embed to my webpage. Hope they have a way to do it or may be i have missed it.

    http://blogkatt.blogspot.com/

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  10. If you want a non-spammy alternative try out Vawkr: http://vawkr.com

    You can use instant, no-login video-chat or even grab rooms to embed in your favorite social network or blog.

    Appreciate the feedback!
    David

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