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Dabble Dabble

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Update: Mark Sigal has an excellent comment about Dabble. He runs vSocial, a video service I prefer over You Tube. Pete Cashmore, Heather Green and Anne 2.0 are extending the conversation.

It has been a busy week already! I have been furiously reporting for my next story for the magazine. Somedays it is a challenge to switch gears from reporting for a trend piece to blogging. I have fallen behind on some of the broadband stuff, but hopefully will catch up by end of the week. Today it was particularly packed, and when Mary Hodder, called to see if I wanted to meet for a cup-of-tea, I jumped at the opportunity. Pestering her about her new start-up, I nagged here into giving me a quick peak at her start-up, Dabble’s core-product.

In less than six months, Hodder has put together a nice little service which will allow users to bookmark videos from different video services in one place. I would like to call them videomarks. I have known that Mary has been working on her new start-up for six months, and raised angel funding from the likes of Evan “Odeo” Williams and Mark Pincus. But I was surprised by the progress she has made, and how polished the product looked.

Essentially you sign-up for the service and create a personal page, where you can aggregate videos you like from anywhere on the web. Dabble gives you a little script-let that creates a quick tag in the bookmark bar of your browser. See a video you like, say on You Tube or vSocial or Veoh, you hit Dabble It, and the video link is added to your video playlist. You can tag it, create micro-playlists and share it amongst your friend. Pretty much like you do on Flickr. When you want to watch a video, Dabble screen is split into two frames, and the second frame takes you to the page where the video is hosted.

Mary’s company, in other words, wants to act as an online video aggregator. Given that there are 90+ online video hosting services out there, something like Dabble clearly is needed. Its like video-remixing without much effort. Mary says she has cut a deal with 20 companies and is getting the meta-information about the videos directly into Dabble’s systems. Sort of like CDDB of online videos. I have not played around with the product which is still in an alpha, so all impressions are based on a 20-minute demo. So treat it this way. I would leave others who are more wise in the ways of online video to give their opinion.

As for me, the aftermath of Nick Denton’s latest blog, ValleyWag launch, and a high-octane conversation with Spot-On founder Chris Nolan, which told me that she had raised her Series A funding, I am pooped. Nolan, did not dish the dirt on her funding. I bet we will read about it soon on her blog. If you don’t see anything new from me for a bit, you know why.

30 Responses to “Dabble Dabble”

  1. Om, AFAIK, the reason that they’ve gotten so far in a short amount of time is that it’s built on top of the Drupal framework. If you even look at the front page now, you’ll see the standard “themes/dabble” being called.

  2. Om,

    I interviewed Mary at length about Dabble (amongst things). She went into Dabble’s business model, the target audience as well as talking about the DMCA and other IP related stuff.

    I podcast the interview at if you are interested.


  3. For some reason, when I posted this comment the software truncated the URL. Rather than re-post the URL, if interested in reading the blog I wrote, click on my name, which will take you to the The Network Garden site. The post is three from the top.


  4. While it’s completely understandable to hear about some new startup in a space like online video, and start picking the b-model carcass apart first and ask questions later, I think it is just as interesting to ask what “job” the target user of Dabble is intended to “hire” the service for to help them accomplish some known set of outcome goals relative to the constraints that they face.

    For example, a service like vSocial (which I co-founded) provides a tool called a video roll that allows users to create their own programs using an amalgam of any of the clips available on the service (i.e., their playlist), and the video roll can be baked into your blog, web page, etc. Such is the benefit of integration and extensibility around a platform.

    To me, the interesting question is how aggregation services like Dabble provide enough more than the sum of the parts integration capabilities to avoid getting marginalized by search plays, video clip sharing sites and bookmarking/tagging services.

    I definitely think there is room in the market, given the richness of video but a lot of this boils down to identifying the core jobs and facilitating the highest value outcomes.

    If interested, I have written a post called “Video clips, viral marketing and the virtual water cooler,” that contemplates the topic a bit further. Here is the URL:

    Food for thought on the veracity of the thesis in the post. Usage on vSocial has doubled again in the two weeks since I wrote the post, purely on viral factors (i.e., no advertising, no big PR coverage).



  5. Om Malik wrote:
    “Mary says she has cut a deal with 20 companies and is getting the meta-information about the videos directly into Dabble’s systems…”

    So, does dabble get any money from these 20 video service companies? Or is dabble’s revenue source going to be limited only to money from ads?

  6. does something somewhat similar: online video aggregator (since 2004), but it’s more focused on gathering videoblog videos through RSS feeds. You have your own video queue, you can send to your blog, etc.