Blog Post

Flektor: Web Tools Don’t Have To Be Simple

Have any NewTeeVee readers out there tried Flektor? I had overlooked the company, and am now thinking that was a mistake.

Sure, embeddable online slideshows are hugely popular, but there were a ton of companies making them by the time Flektor came out in April. Then about a month later, the startup got acquired by MySpace for a reported $20 million. Open and shut. But last week I got a demo of the product from founders Jason Rubin and Jason Kay, and man — this stuff is pretty powerful. It goes far beyond glittery slideshows from companies like Slide and RockYou and stripped-down video editing tools from JumpCut and Eyespot. (Embedded below is a promo for Rubin’s upcoming comic book Iron and the Maiden.)

If you’re interested in quick video editing online, using a variety of types and sources of media, give this tool a try. Flektor offers all the glitter and transitions and effects you could ask for — plus things that are actually useful, like in-widget polls and live webcam imports. And right now uploads are free and unlimited. The performance is surprisingly good, too, despite being encased in an all-Flash browser-based environment.

While the disappointing YouTube Remixer tool (made by Adobe) still says “music (coming soon),” Flektor gives users all sorts of import flexibility: Flickr, YouTube, Photobucket, and your desktop.

The founders came out of the gaming industry and brought with them the approach of a fully featured world rather than simple tools. They actually admit they overdid it to the point of “overwhelming” their users, said Kay, so as a concession they give the option of stripped-down “Quick Start” slideshow, video, chat, postcard, and poll widgets.

“I think people have misunderstood wins in Internet business that had worse interfaces” by assuming the bad interfaces were an important factor in the first-generation companies’ successes, Rubin contended. “In the long run, those early wins will be overcome by a better interface,” he said, admitting he is well aware of the irony given his company was bought by MySpace.

The Flektor business plan is integrated promotions, including MySpace and MTV’s presidential dialogue series as well as more commercial fare. But these folks don’t have to sweat the usual questions about business plans and scaling, now that they have a corporate parent.

Rubin and Kay said it’s unclear how tightly Flektor will be packaged with MySpace. Apparently I’m not the only one who overlooked the service; Rubin and Kay said they don’t have very many users. However, they expect that to change once MySpace starts promoting the product to its huge userbase. They did float the somewhat exciting option that they’d discontinue inserting a branded Flektor bug on people’s projects, which kind of cheapens the experience. But hey, you can’t get cheaper than free.

7 Responses to “Flektor: Web Tools Don’t Have To Be Simple”

  1. I’m very intrigued by this article. It’s clear and concise. Checking out the site is on my agenda for today. I’ve got a short project to runthrough Flektor. I’ll let you know. Thanks for the great site.