Earlier this month, a friend put together a scrapbook for his brother’s 40th birthday. He asked his brother’s friends to mail photos to him, or send jpegs. It’s a time-consuming project for him to take all those photos and put them into a scrapbook. I bet if he knew about OurStory, making that scrapbook would have been far easier.
OurStory is just that - an online version of a scrapbook, a place where people can keep track of events and occasions in a chronological order. The difference is that in this Web 2.0 world, that scrapbook can easily be pieced together with the help of everyone involved, or anyone asked to be involved. And, OurStory makes it easy for anyone to see those events in a timeline. On Tuesday, OurStory plans to launch its umpteenth iteration of the service company founder Andy Halliday launched mid-2006. Halliday will be giving his demo at the Demo conference as part of the launch. (Note: To hear about OurStory straight from Andy and his team, check out the video he created for vator.tv.)
I know what you're thinking. Another site that wants to be the keeper of everyone’s journals and memories? What's so unique about that? Well, nothing. Just like succss is 2% idea and 98% execution, it's not the personal-social-networking idea behind OurStory that's interesting, it's the purpose of the site that makes it interesting. And, OurStory's purpose is to help you create that virtual scrapbook. Moreover, once you're finished putting together a particular scrapbook about someone's life or an event, you can have that online scrapbook published into a real book (which would make really nice presents). As I had mentioned in my post about Geni.com, the social networking sites that will more likely be successful are the ones that offer a value-add to the many social networking sites focused on being the intimate and safe site for personal expression. With OurStory, the value-add is the timeline feature. It’s very cool and useful. One of the new features launched will be an ability to take icons that represent occasions/events - happy birthday cake, wedding anniversary – and drag it into the timeline. Additionally, any uploaded photos can be dragged onto the timeline. The other feature I like is something I’m using to put together a small book about my father’s life. With OurStory, I imported my email contact list and sent an email to my family asking them to email me photos or stories about my father. Now, the beauty about OurStory is that the photos and stories that are emailed back to me are automatically posted in my OurStory journal about my dad. No more cut and paste, the photos and text automatically post. Now, that’s convenient.
Now, there are going to be many sites that will likely try to help people create these scrapbooks. After all, it's a pretty big market today. Here are some stats from Scrapbook Industry Trends.
1) The 2004 SIA (Scrapbooking in America) survey estimates annual industry sales at $2.551 billion, representing a 27.8 percent increase from 2001.
2) There are 4.4 million new scrapbooking households since 2001, for a total of over 26 million households and 32.1 million scrapbookers.
3) Spending on scrapbooking supplies by households that scrapbook has increased 6.3 percent to $96.76 annually since 2001.
4) Almost one in four, or 24.5 percent of U.S. households, participate in the hobby of scrapbooking, with Western states showing the most households involved in the hobby (between 26–31 percent of households). Following is the breakdown of scrapbooking households by region.
Finally, just for background on OurStory, Halliday incorporated in 2005, and received $6 million in funding back then too. Not bad for an idea without a prototype until 6 months later. OurStory has come a long way from that first prototype, which I checked out when Andy first sent me his video.
(Anyone can upload a video on www.vator.tv, and if your idea or business is a really good one, it will likely be featured in the vator reports - a short program on innovation and the great ideas being pitched on vator.tv.