About FFFFOUND! FFFFOUND!
Found In: Blogging
Ffffound is an image hosting service with a difference in that it is designed around social networking concepts of web 2.0 properties and the bookmarking of images people like. Further, it is mostly designed around images that people find on the internet as opposed images people have created themselves. That is, a member finds an interesting image on the internet, and flags it in Ffffound with bookmarking functions so that other members or the public at large can also enjoy the image. The resultant database of images is then open for public viewing with Ffffound logging the different ways in which the viewing public interacts with the images and the site tracks image popularity and the links between them all. And so it is a relational database enabling the Ffffound site to be able to recommend other images to users. Created in May 2007, the site was designed by Yugo Nakamura; considered by many to be one of the leading web site designers in Japan.
Ffffound is Free Image hosting, Ranking and Bookmarking Web Site
And so Ffffound is a user created content web site but with the difference that it is about user found content more than what they have them created. Members register for free and then they are able to build up their portfolio of images they have found and uploaded, filed under their username on the Ffffound web site. Because the Ffffound web site is in private beta, new members must receive an invitation from an existing registered user in order to be able to create a new account. The by invitation only membership acts as a self policing system. It maintains a higher quality membership and a greater attention to only hosting quality content with greater accountability.
And Ffffound is very clever the way registered users are assigned their own customized “bookmarklet”. When users are generally surfing around the Internet, they simply access the bookmarklet which sets a blue border around the image the user wishes to save under their Ffffound profile. That is, the bookmarklet contains the user’s Ffffound login details, and it works to quickly and automatically save the image with a minimum of fuss and records the sourcing web site address and other useful information.
The site’s design is quite plain yet simple with the home page showing images of usually about 500 pixels square. They are displayed on a plain white background in one long column and each image is tagged with the name and URL of where the image was found. The images also show how many other people have saved it and the number of minutes that have passed since it was uploaded. Images are displayed chronologically with the most recently uploaded posts appearing at the top of the page. Subsequent members who click on the image have their clicks tracked throughout the site to grow an accumulated history of the each image’s interest level to members.
Ffffound is About User Interests in Images on the Internet
Interest in images leads to clicks on related images and thumbnails and because there is a healthy membership of intelligent users, the resulting catalogue of image popularity and the connectivity of relevance between images tend to always lead to an interested and enjoyable visit to the site. And it is the spirit of the Ffffound to share with others, without any need for commenting about images; rather each person’s click history communications the connections between images of common category and interest level. Interestingly, most of the images are Japanese in origin.
The main business risk for Ffffound is the risk of copyright infringement issues given that images are copied from other web sites; and even though full credit is given for where the original image is located and that Ffffound does provide excellent Search Engine Optimization (SEO) value to the originating web site because of the link popularity being at the core of Google’s page ranking system. Perhaps it is naïve to think it is enforceable, Ffffound includes in its terms of service that members are to hold Ffffound safe from free from litigation for copyright infringement and that the web site will not be liable for the actions of its users
And perhaps there is protection for Ffffound in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 where certain limitations. That is transitory communication of service providers such as Ffffound are only a data conduit, transmitting digital information from one point on a network to another at someone else’s request. The fact that most images are publicly listed on other image hosting sites with no copyright limitations imposed on those sites by its membership also tends to lend support for Ffffound being held safe. However, just in case, anyone can click a “flag” button associated with an image to report to the Ffffound web site that there is an alleged breach so that it can be dealt with on its merits quickly and efficiently.
There is a general classification system used for images shown to reflect images of fashion to be different to other graphic designs serving different niches. And there is a menu system on the left hand side where the most active user’s saved images can be quickly found and when you find a user with similar tastes, it is easy to follow their collection of saved images. Certainly the site is not for everyone, especially given that membership is closed to all people to join unless they have been invited. However, whilst the Ffffound web site continues in its beta phase of development, the growing accumulation of content continues to be at a very high level, at least within the narrow ranges of niches current users have chosen to invest their interest in desired images.
Perhaps the membership will be opened in the future so that a much broader range of saved images can appeal to a wider audience and this will be necessary for the Ffffound web site to grow at viral levels. Until then, check it out. It’s totally free.