YML.COM is built on top of a business website management platform that I've created called formVistatm. YML.COM has been running that software for years now. Over the last 12 months I've put together the largest new release to date.
formVista is used commercially in two ways:
- as the platform upon which DTLink Software CollabInvest.net service is run.
- as the platform upon which Nuts & Bolts Interactive, Inc, run by my good friend Ryan, builds and hosts business websites for it's customers.
Until recently, I had not planned to do anything "for real" with YML.COM. I had intended for it to just be a test site for formVistatm. However, not too long ago at a German language group meeting I attended, one of the organizers mentioned "do it yourself" social and group sites that are starting to pop up around the net. After talking to him for a while, I decided that I would add the capability for members to create their own social mini-sites under YML.COM.
What you see on the site right now will be the kinds of things you'll be able to do with your own mini-sites.
The features I'm planning out right now are:
- members will be able to create their own mini-sites under YML.COM. (e.g. ryan.yml.com) which they will then manage.
- Mini-site managers will be able to invite other YML.COM members to join their mini-sites.
- Managers will be able to ban members from their mini-sites.
- Managers will be able to promote members to be co-admins of a mini-site.
- Managers will be able to create a number of different kinds of pages on their mini-sites:
- free flow content pages
- photo albums
- discussion forums
- and more as time goes on.
- Managers will have some kind of control over the appearance of the mini-sites. I haven't fleshed this out completely yet, but at a minimum, managers will have some template options to choose from and will be able to set colors and upload background images.
- Managers will be able to send announcements to the members of their mini site.
- Mini-site members will have the same abilities you see on the main site here, namely:
- members will have a profile on the mini-site which may be distinct from the profile on the main site. If a member does not fill out a profile on the mini-site the main profile will be used.
- members will, depending on how the manager has set up the mini-site, be able to invite other members.
- Mini-sites will initially be ad supported using google adsense in a fashion similar to what you see on the main site. If there is demand for it I may offer a fee-based version that removes the ads and/or let's managers place their own ads. If the site gets large enough, I believe there may be a way through google for me to share revenue with mini-site owners. That'll have to be explored at a later date.
As such, what you see on the site right now is just a test run of the basic building blocks I will need to build the mini-site concept. We'll be running the same codebase and feature set on our CollabInvest.net service as well as it should play very nicely with the investing crowd when combined with our desktop stock tracking software.
I also imagine we may run a similar service through Nuts & Bolts Interactive, Inc targeted at businesses.
As for time frames, my thought is to do it differently than I have in the past. I plan to roll out individual features and start getting feedback on them instead of doing what I did with the current release which was to suffer in silence building a monstronsity.
If you have any thoughts on the kind of things you'd like to see in a do-it-yourself mini-social-site system, please post comments to this blog article.