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Friday, December 02, 2005 

Uphook update #2

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Ok, so I was brain storming on ways to ensure that this service isn't simply outshined by users of facebook and myspace. Although both of them are more geared toward managing an online community, the small-scale non-registration quality of Uphook could attract the same crowd. As such I am tossing around the idea of interfacing with both of these sites to provide some amount of content.

The idea is that at this point in time most people already have a photo (or two or three) of them stored somewhere online. My plan is to allow the user the option of selecting a photo to display from either FaceBook or MySpace. My site will simply link to it, saving me from having to host images. In addition I will offer the option of uploading a picture.

Interfacing with MySpace would be easier because I can obtain the 'base image string' from it via a search without having to log in. FaceBook, however, makes it necessary for you to log in before viewing images.

The 'base image string' is a cryptic string used by many sites where users can upload their own content. The systems usually store a thumbnail version and a larger version. However, there is an easy way to obtain the location for the full-size image given the location of the thumbnail. This makes it possible to see people's full sized images without logging in or registering or (for some sites) paying. And it wont be bad for me because I’d simply be linking content that is already available on the web. Gotta love them hyperlinks.

This would certainly be an example of a front end. Which leads me to another idea-- just how many people would like to view people's FaceBook images but are unable to register? What if there was a free site to visit which allows any visitor to look up a person by name, school, etc... Hmmmm, can u say a classmates.com for free? All those people who didn’t go to college could look up their friends who did. Just an idea. A front end like that would have to be relatively sophisticated. But it's certainly possible.

Oh and for those wondering how I could possibly make money from hosting a free online meet-people site-- I will definitely be looking into ads. Nothing too major, but maybe enough to help pay off student loans.