This is the second in a series of articles about the top widget and gadget platforms. I asked the same specific questions about each platforms usefulness to developers, advertisers, and search marketers. I will also highlight my personal experiences with each platform and provide my own review.
“Dapper aims to make it easy and possible for anyone to extract and reuse content from any website. By doing so, we hope to allow others to realize their creativity and implement new and exciting services and applications.”
Dapper is a great site, that has been very kind to developers since their beginning in 2005. I previously have highlighted Dapper.net with an interview of their CTO, Jon Aizen last year.
I would like to thank Jon for once again responding to my questions, this time he explains the uses of Dapper for developers, advertisers, and search marketers. Here are his answers to the questions I have sent to all the major gadget and widget platforms.
Please describe in a paragraph why developers should know about and use your platform.
Dapper allows developers to build up apps and widgets that consume data from the outside. Dapper abstracts away the content extraction and allows you to create feeds and APIs for any website.
What is your gadget approval/disapproval time?
Gadgets and apps built on top of Dapper do not require approval.
What resources (urls/tutorials) should new developers use to learn about your platform?
There is the developer resource center:
And there is a lot of documentation in our wiki:
Does your platform or it’s products have (or plan to have) a revenue share program for developers?
Do you reward or highlight top developers? How?
We’re happy to blog and promote on our site about any widget or app that is built on top of Dapper.
Do we get t-shirts?
We have some t-shirts around and are happy to reward developers with exceptionally cool / successful widgets and apps by sending them one.
Please describe in a paragraph why advertisers should use your platform.
Dapper enables the creation of special mashup ads which combine dynamic content from the publisher and advertiser right into the ad creative. These highly dynamic ads function like normal ads (i.e., can be distributed with any major ad platform) and consistently out-perform other types of ads. Users find them more useful and relevant and as a result interact with them. The end result is higher ROI for advertisers.
Where should a advertiser go to learn about your platform?
Advertisers can contact us at info at dapper.net.
From the perspective of a small or mid-sized company that is considering using gadgets as part of their promotional efforts, but are not sure of the cost or procedure to do so could you please describe or outline briefly the procedure of creating and/or promoting a widget on your platform?
Currently, using our platform, we build out the advertisement for the advertiser. In the future, we will provide a self-service platform similar to other ad networks so that advertisers can simply create mashup ads themselves.
I want to thank Jon again for his time, and now I will dive into what I think is noteworthy about Dapper.
They have a Facebook App maker that I have used with some success. I made the Sphinn Facebook app with it and that app is used by a good percentage of Sphinn users. The Dapper Facebook App tool has many new features since I first wrote about it last year (while it was still in beta). I would particularly suggest this tool to communities who have constantly updating content that they want made available to Facebook users. The Sphinn app is a very functional and simple display of the latest stories and is a great little app.
Dapper is unique in the sense that they are actually a bridge to information between developers and content creators. Creating anything via Dappers starts with “Dapps”. Dapp are little modules that can be mashed together later. For example to make the Sphinn Facebook app (which displays the latest stories via a feed) I had to create a “dapp” which extracted the data from the Sphinn feed.
I was very impressed with the simplicity and power of the “dapp” creation process. You can, for an overly brief example, tell Dapper the address of any feed and then you will get options of what kind of information you want to get from it (photos, titles, descriptions, etc.) and then use that info to create several kinds of apps or gadgets.
Once you understand the concept of a “dapp”, you can use Dapper to some incredibly powerful things. In my first interview with Jon, I brought this up….
Me: Of all the gadget creation websites out there, I see Dapper as the most simple to use. Having said that, there still is a learning curve, namely you have to know what a “Dapp” is.
Jon: This is something we’ve been asked many times. The concept of a “Dapp” or an API is an abstract one and takes some getting used to, even if Dapper is easy to use. My first recommendation, and one that seems to help most users a lot, is to view the Dapper demo at http://www.dapper.net/dapperDemo/.
Additionally, the landing page of the Dapper Facebook AppMaker contains an overview of the process.
For developers, I highly recommend being familiar with Dapper if only to see the power and possibilities of using and manipulating content that is out there on the web. Many of the features of Dapper allow you to create gadgets and mashups of any content out there on the web, even if it isn’t yours. One of the main concepts that I think is important to being a gadget developer is to look at some piece of public content and understand all the possible ways of packaging that content into different forms (like gadgets).
Using Dapper is a great way to really get a great idea of those possibilities.
Dapper also offers options for content owners as well, and has the very neato and impressive White Label Dapp Factory for content providers that have personal home pages for their users, which allows content providers to brand their content.
Dapper was mentioned in a Wired magazine article…
“The Internet these days is supposed to be all about sharing. Thanks to a common commitment to open access and cooperation, the data mashups that have defined the Web2.0 phenomenon have exploded. Zillow pulls map information from several partners, including Navteq, GlobeXplorer, and Proxix, and combines it with real estate data from public records to estimate what a house is worth. Photosynth, a service that Microsoft is developing, merges pictures from Flickr and other sources into eye-popping 3-D models. A popular startup called Mint lets customers pull financial information from their bank accounts and reorganize it into an interface that puts Quicken to shame. And the tools to tap and manipulate all this data can be found at sites like Dapper and Kapow.”
Being aware of how your content can be used is important for content providers to understand. As the web becomes more embeddable the understanding of how to brand and maximize your contents potential from an embedded perspective will be critical to staying ahead.
Dapper is a great platform to be aware of whether you are a content provider, or a developer. They are way ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding and powering the future embeddable or sharable web.
One of their latest tools to do so is the DapperFox Firefox extension that allows you to create feeds from websites that don’t one, or to create your own version of any websites feed that caters to your own needs as a developer.
DapperFox is a Firefox extention that sits next to the RSS icon in your browser.
Whenever you visit a website DapperFox will show you RSS feeds that other people have created, as well as allow you to create a new feed to share with the community. This is perfect when a site does not have its own RSS feed, or when its feed doesn’t meet your needs.
Overall I feel that Dapper is an extraordinary resource to know about that helps both developers and content providers understand the potential of sharing content. They are also very approachable and have always responded to my questions very quickly and thoroughly.