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This article was published on September 17, 2008

Amazee launched: start a revolution or lose some pounds

Amazee launched: start a revolution or lose some pounds
Ernst-Jan Pfauth
Story by

Ernst-Jan Pfauth

Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He a Ernst-Jan Pfauth is the former Editor in Chief of Internet at NRC Handelsblad, as well as an acclaimed technology author and columnist. He also served as The Next Web’s blog’s first blogger and Editor in Chief, back in 2008. At De Correspondent, Ernst-Jan serves as publisher, fostering the expansion of the platform.

Amazee, the Switzerland-based collaboration service, has launched today. Co-founder Dania Gerhardt gave me a demo under a cup of coffee at the Web 2.0 Expo yesterday morning. Ever since then I’ve been suffering under an embargo, but now the time is here to get the word out.

Swiss conference tigers

photo.jpg - Gmail
Dania Gerhardt

Every conference I’ve attended since the last Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco has been enriched with the pleasure of meeting the Amazee power couple Gregory and Dania Gerhardt. Somehow, they manage to win tickets for gigs like Supernova, Next08, and both Web 2.0 Expo editions. Maybe it’s because they’re great company, good on stage, and real connectors.

Chihuahua owners for Tibet

Anyhow, between all the conferences, they’ve managed to build quite an interesting start-up. Dania and Gregory have created a platform for people to achieve goals and project together. Subjects can be “Lose fifty pounds in two months” or “Chihuahua owners for Tibet”. You meet people on Amazee not because you already know them or love the same band, no, you meet them because you have the same plans in life. That alone is a challenging starting point for a start-up. But wait, there’s more.

Drupal and Ajax

Drupal-based Amazee is a rather sophisticated site. Personal and project profiles, todo’s, schedule’s, a project magazine – all can be easily edited with the Ajax-based control panels. Although I can imagine that the control panel can be quite overwhelming for first time users. Especially the ones that are less web-savvy. And that’s exactly Amazee’s target group.

Amazee-EN-2-dashboard.jpg (JPEG-afbeelding, 912x760 pixels)

Cold hard cash

“We’re not aiming for the geeks”, Dania told me. She rather attracts “ordinary people”. Anybody who has a certain ideal can find co-workers on her community. Or sponsors. Although Amazee has a bit of sixties flavor surrounding it, the service can also help you to get some cold hard case to make your dreams come true. Dania showed me tree ways:

  • Financial Sponsorship – Projects can request and accept direct donations via PayPal.
  • Non-Financial Sponsoring – Projects can request help in the form of physical activities and supplies.
  • Banner Advertising – Projects can sell banner ad space on their home pages and the revenues are shared between the project and Amazee. Sponsors can instantly upload their banner.

That’s what I love about this service. Dania and Gregory have created a world for Internet users to help each other making their dreams and ideals come true. Not just with moral support, but also with some euros. A good combination, if you’d ask me. The city of Chicago agrees with me, as Amazee has been signed up to provide the social platform which will back Chicago’s attempt to get the 2016 Olympic games to the Windy city.

Respect the web presence

The only thing I’m missing on Amazee so far is the integration with other services. I can’t import my project calendars in iCal, can’t automatically load my Flickr photos into the photo gallery, and can’t add any events to Upcoming, to name a few. When I talked to Gregory about this, he assured me they’re working on that, but that it’s also very hard for them to provide it. Sounds like this Swiss start-up needs another funding round for some extra developers. It will definitely be worth the investment.

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