"An Open Letter to Intercasting Corp" or "Rabble WTF" or "Where Is Wikipedia When You Need It Most?"

I’ve never made a big deal out of things Winksite has done “first” but after one too many statements put out by companies claiming to be the “first,” I’ve decided to call one of them on it as it impacts Winksite’s history. I’m simply calling it as I see it and if anyone thinks I have any of this wrong please feel free to respond in my comments otherwise. I suspect this will be the first in a series.

1. Intercasting/Rabble

“In 2005, we shipped the first carrier-grade social networking product in North America and have leveraged our experience to build the absolute best consumer application available.” — Intercasting Web Site

I politely called these guys on this type of thing once before in 2005 when they claimed to be “the first mobile blogging community ever.” Various Japanese and European services had them beat by several years at the time. I playfully suggested they were actually, “the first commercial, BREW-based, fully mobile-only, self-contained community of mobile content creators and consumers, incorporating LBS, launched on the Verizon Network in the US in 2005″ – but we agreed that would sound a bit silly and settled on that what they did was “cool.”

Well now several years later the Intercasting guys have rewritten history circa 2005 again and claim to have been “the first carrier-grade social networking product in North America.” Sorry guys – I’m going to have to call you on this one also.

You were not the first. Not then and not now either. Winksite beat you by four years. In 2002, Winksite was using RSS feeds to mobilize blogs and otherwise publish content to mobile communities (a true first). These mobile spaces came bundled with mobile-tuned social services like chat, forums, events, and polls making these syndicated content spaces social and interactive in nature (also a true first). As far as carrier-grade, I’m confident our open “internet-grade” platform is serving more regular users (250K mobile uniques per month), on more carrier networks worldwide (150 plus), than Rabble is. I also suspect that we have spent a fraction of the money to get there (bootstrapping it with a few hundred $K over 5 years — yes we got in perhaps a bit early) than Intercasting’s investors have laid out to date for Rabble (approx 6 million). … And if the definition of “carrier-grade” means having been “approved” to run on a carrier portal – talk to Helio.

I’m sure the guys from Intercasting will respond with brilliant repartee and disagree with me on their blog (or in private) but when we sat down for breakfast in NYC in 2004 or so they already knew Winksite was a web services and social network mash-up — long before the term even existed. No amount of PR spin, event panel rhetoric, or VC money can change that.

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