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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

June 18, 2007 at 10:51 AM

More of the iLike story

There wasn’t enough room in today’s for all the details I had about iLike‘s breakout moment.

Also cut for space reasons was my speculation that iLike may be acquired before the Partovis need to worry about profitability.

iLike / Brew Media Relations

Hadi Partovi

One comparison could be Last.fm, another social network/music discovery service, that was acquired by CBS last month for $280 million.

That’s more than 10 times the capitalization of iLike, which now has nearly three times the audience. Last.fm had 2.3 million unique visitors last month, according to comScore’s survey, while iLike is now reporting 6 million users.

Seattle tech blogger Mathew Johnson brought up Last.fm in a conversation we had today, after he made a good point on his blog about my Rhapsody comparison.

Rhapsody is a paid service and iLike is free, so it wasn’t apples to apples, but I was trying to show the scale that iLike has achieved in just a few weeks.

Some readers may also wonder why iLike didn’t turn to Amazon.com’s Web services to handle its surge.

Hadi Partovi said that wouldn’t work because iLike is too query intensive, and performance would suffer if part of the system was offloaded. But they’re talking to Amazon about changes that would make the hosted services work in a situation such as iLike’s.

Some may also wonder how iLike was able to pounce so soon on the Facebook platform. That’s also an interesting story.

Hadi has been a longtime advisor to Facebook and caught wind of the platform opportunity in February. He had it confirmed directly by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and iLike was one of about 50 companies invited to preview the platform.

From there, it was like a LeMans start, sort of. Here’s how Hadi put it when we talked last week:

“We were in the group, but it was an incredibly cowboyish process — there was no documentation, no samples, just a mailing list where people would ask questions and get confusing answers. We had to read the tea leaves and figure out what the system would look like.”

Yet Partovi is still a big fan of the Facebook platform. He said that’s where he’d build a new company, if he was just starting now. The new platform “is a game-changing kind of thing where it’s a paradigm shift, not a one-time fad,” he said.

But as the old saying goes, the lead dog has the best view.

Comments | More in | Topics: Startups

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