Category Archives: Start Up

Introducing Buzzr’s New PayPal feature for E-commerce

We know lots of our customers want e-commerce but without the hassle of setting up, paying for and running an elaborate e-commerce website. For example, you might want to sell tickets for a seminar. Or take donations. Or sell a 10 or 15 items from your retail store.

It’s because of this that we’ve added our new PayPal feature. When you turn on the feature (in Features/Permissions on your site), you’ll see a new icon in Add Content to add a Product/Service.

The form that pops up will let you do a few things: add a headline for the product, a description, a few images, a price. Plus there’s a field to insert code for a PayPal button/widget. PayPal offers several types of buttons that can be configured to allow different types of payments. You’ll need to open a PayPall account and get the code to create a button.

After someone pays on PayPal, they are automatically routed back to your website. PayPal accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, plus PayPal online transfers.

You can arrange your products for sale on a menu page on Buzzr (sorted as you please: alphabetically, by star rating, by most recent entry, etc.) or as a widget that can be dragged and dropped into any position on any page on your website. That includes the homepage.

You can also add PayPal buttons to am image gallery if you’d like to take advantage of image gallery features such as large pop-up slideshows.

We think you’ll find the Buzzr PayPal feature to be fast and easy to set up — and much less of a hassle than running a full e-commerce website, which you probably don’t need if you aren’t an online retailer.

Let me know what you think.

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Kudos to Cooperation and Color Picking

As we gear up for the official launch of the Buzzr.com DIY solution, we’re especially excited about our new color picker feature. It’s a pretty amazing tool for creating or adjusting styles — you can change colors, spacing and fonts of virtually any element on the page.

We have the very talented people at ONE Agency, based in Belgium, to thank for this incredible tool, and the lead developers Kristof De Jaeger and Jan-Yves Vanhaverbeke. They are working feverishly on the project, and contributing the code to the world at large, through a new open source Drupal module called Sweaver. We’ve been helping out a bit where we can — our patches are being committed by Buzzr lead developer Karen Stevenson. Time permitting, when we launch, she”ll be writing a blog post about her work with integrating Sweaver into Buzzr. We’ve streamlined it to make it simpler for regular users and are working to make it compatible with our existing styles.

I must admit that despite having now worked with open source Drupal for almost five years, I still can feel a sting when I see a competitor (we really only have one and their platform is mostly for Drupal pros, not the ordinary user Buzzr is targeting) has adopted a tool we spent a great deal of time and money developing. True, we released it for the world to use freely, and in exchange, we get the benefit of any improvements the world gives back to the project. But I still get a little miffed when I know a competitor’s site would be much weaker were it not for ideas we developed.

I’ve confided this feeling in the past to my colleague Angie Byron, or “webchick”, the co-lead of Drupal 7, the next release of Drupal, and an important contributor to the Buzzr project. Angie is always reminding me that the nature of open source is give and take — and that Buzzr gets a huge amount from the Drupal community. It’s allowed us to create a platform for a few hundred thousand dollars that would have otherwise cost many millions of dollars, possibly tens of millions.

Nothing has brought that concept home more than the Sweaver theme module, the result of thousands of hours of work that we now get for free. The ONE Agency is going to do their own commercial work around Sweaver, and I’m delighted we can help make it better in any way we can. For all I know, we’ll end up offering similar services to certain clients. But when it comes to Sweaver, we’re friends and co-workers, not competitors. And that’s pretty amazing.

An update for those awaiting the official launch: we’ve pushed it back just a tad to incorporate Sweaver. We’re coming soon.

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Summer Update for Buzzr.com

We’ve been working under the radar the last couple of months, turning down press interviews and requests for meetings from investors. That’s because we’ve got some great stuff coming out end of the summer, and we’d rather not waste our powder before then. But thing are heating up, so I thought I’d write a quick preview for our followers:

-we’ll debut a service (now in beta) to assist small clients create custom designs and feature configurations, along with coaching to take charge of running a great professional-grade site all by themselves.

-we’ll have our DIY platform ready to take out of beta, with a slew of important new features that will make it easier than ever for regular people to create and run their own powerful websites.

-we’ll be adding social features that create a whole network of activity for our site builders and site members beyond site-building tools. It’s what creates the Buzz in Buzzr and is the most ambitious part of our company plan — and also the trickiest to execute.

-we’ll be announcing at least one important new partnership.

In the meantime, check out our Showcase of sites created with the Buzzr platform and let me know what you think. (Keep in mind we have a bunch of new features set to debut that have not yet been incorporated into these sites.)

If you’d like to join us — whether as a customer, staff member or freelancer, feel free to e-mail me at ed@buzzr.com.

Cheers,

Ed Sussman
CEO

Buzzr.com

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Buzzr.com Consumer and Enterprise Editions Open for Business

Big announcements coming out of DrupalCon, the annual conference for the open source platform Drupal, is that Buzzr, our very powerful but easy website building platform, is now available to the public. We launched the consumer edition in beta — a self-service, build your own site tool. And we officially announced the release of Buzzr Enterprise Edition – -a white label, multi-site tool for organizations to empower ordinary users to create social publishing websites. B.E.E. has been in beta for several months, with several clients.

Here’s the press release:

Buzzr.com, a partnership with Drupal powerhouse Lullabot, today announced the official launch of Buzzr Enterprise Edition, a turn-key multi-site white label solution for organizations that need to rapidly and cost-effectively create and maintain many robust websites or microsites.

Buzzr also debuted the beta launch of its Consumer Edition, a self-service platform. Buzzr is fully hosted and features an exceptionally friendly drag and drop interface, as a layer over Drupal, the powerful open source social publishing platform favored by hundreds of thousands of developers, yet previously out of reach for most ordinary users.  One thousand beta accounts will be given out during DrupalCon, a three-day international conference that kicked off today in San Francisco. Trial accounts can be requested at Buzzr.com.

A national sales force will be marketing the Enterprise Edition. The white label platform is initially covering five sectors: non-profits, higher education, media/entertainment, government and consumer goods/services. Sales offices have been opened in the Chicago, San Francisco and New York markets.

“Buzzr can save organizations months of time getting multi-sites to market and can shave hundreds of thousands of dollars off of development and maintenance costs.” said Buzzr CEO Edward Sussman. “Many companies and organizations maintain dozens of websites without any centralized platform. Buzzr is not only a more cost effective alternative, it can also create websites of much higher quality than ad hoc builds, or websites built with less robust blogging platforms.”

Buzzr enables ordinary users, without Drupal training, to create and run a websites that feature critical Drupal features such as custom content types (such as a restaurant review form), flexible views of content (such as restaurant review forms organized by five star ratings) and fine grained user permissions. Scores of social features are available as standard out-of-the-box, or as Drupal plug ins.

“Buzzr is Drupal made easy,” said Liza Kindred, Business Manager of Lullabot and president of Buzzr. “In our experience, many organizations wish they could better empower their day-to-day site managers and Buzzr allows this. We hope to allow this less technical audience enjoy many of the incredible benefits of Drupal.” Lullabot clients have ranged from Sony Artists, to The Economist, to the Grammys.  The Lullabot team includes the co-lead of the next release of Drupal, the head of the Drupal documentation team, the maintainer of one of the two most critical Drupal modules, and the authors of Understanding Drupal by O’Reilly Press.

Even though the user interface is highly streamlined for ordinary users, the Drupal “under the hood” is still accessible to software engineers who might wish to add or modify Buzzr’s out of-the-box features.  This allows clients to tap into the Drupal’s 5,000 add-on modules. Buzzr will provide code review and continuing support services for clients with their own technical teams, and can also provide customization services through its Buzzr Partner network. Buzzr also integrates website performance and scaling into its hosted platform.

TheGiftCardCafe.com, a pilot white label client, uses the platform to upsell websites its thousands of day spa and beauty salon customers. “Buzzr turned out to be the perfect solution for offering full featured websites to our clients,” said Carl Tuinstra, CEO of TheGiftCardCafe.com “We needed a system that allowed us to rapidly build sites but with enough flexibility to meet a wide variety of business needs. Out of all the “website builder” systems we have tried no other comes close to the features and flexibility.”

Buzzr announced the appointment of Chris Sayre and Chuck Simmons as Vice President of Enterprise Sales. Sayre is a 15-year veteran of software sales. He previously served as senior account executive at Northrop Grumman, an account executive at AT&T, and Director of Business Development at SaaS platform vendor Corent Technology.

“I was attracted to Buzzr because of the large market for organizations that need a lot of websites, yet want to migrate away from static brochure-like websites to more dynamic websites,” said Sayre. Sayre will be focused on the non-profit and higher education markets.

Buzzr will be represented on the west coast, especially for the entertainment and technology sectors, by Communicate.io, a San Francisco based sales and marketing firm.

Sales of the Buzzr platform will primarily be led by Peter Karnig, co-founder and former director of Business Development for Five Across, as well as the current CEO of Grabbit.net. Communicate.io CEO Lisa Padilla (who has worked with Apple, Intuit, HP and others) and partner Fred Davis (a founding team member of Wired, CNET and Ask Jeeves) will also assist in sales and marketing. The team plans to offer some clients an integrated offer of Buzzr and Grabbit, a social media aggregator tied to a social network.

East Coast sales, especially for the media, will be led by Edward Sussman, the CEO of Buzzr and former Executive Vice President of Mansueto Ventures (Inc. and Fast Company magazines).  The office is in New York City.

Instructional videos about the front end of Buzzr can be found at http://buzzr.com/how-to-videos . Buzzr today announced a limited time trial offer of $99 a month for up to 5 sites, a $99 one-time fee for installation and $99 for a one-hour monthly support contact.  Pricing is incremental based on usage, starting at $30 per month, per site, and saves organizations from committing to leasing servers before they know how widespread their adoption will be. Monthly site fees can drop to as low as $14 a site for large organizations.

Buzzr is a member of the Polytechnic Institute of New York University Incubator, supported by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

“It is great for the reputation and image of our Varick Street incubator to have a tenant with Buzzr’s market presence and technical knowledge,” said Bruce Niswander, director of the NYU/Poly Incubator.  “The nearly universal need for the simplified creation and maintenance of promotional web sites makes Buzzr’s product attractive for use by virtually every resident tenant looking to enhance the commercial impact of their on-line image.”

Contact:

Sales:

1-877-77BUZZR (772-8997)

Chris@Buzzr.com (Non-profits and Higher Education, and the Midwest)

Peter@Buzzr.com (Entertainment, Technology Companies, and the West Coast)

Ed@Buzzr.com (Media and the East Coast)

sales@buzzr.com (General sales information)

Media and General Inquiries

Ed Sussman

Ed@Buzzr.com

or call, 1-877-77BUZZR (772-8997)

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Ten of Thousands of Websites Are Using Buzzr Software Before We’re Even in Public Alpha. What’s the Deal?

Buzzr, our platform for simplifying the creation of sophisticated websites, has been in development for more than a year now. Yet even though we aren’t public yet, tens of thousands of sites have already adopted software from the project. More than 100,000 sites, we estimate. How? Open Source.

For this of you not too familiar with open source technology projects, a word of explanation is necessary. Strange as it may seem, we’ve released, free of charge, interesting parts of our work (“modules”) well before we were ready to release it on our own site. We’ve also contributed extensive work we’ve done on existing modules to make them much better.

The work ranges from making it easier for website visitors to vote on content they like, to making it easier to create a custom form, to making it easier to configure a website to begin with.

The open source deal is this: you can use the module for free, but once you come to depend on it, you’re probably going to want to see it working well. So you help by reporting bugs, submitting patches and making suggestions.  And we end up getting free help supporting our work. Below, I’ve listed some of the modules we’ve created or done a great deal of work on, along with some usage statistics.

We’re building Buzzr leveraging the Drupal project. A big part of what we’re doing is creating a usability on top of Drupal, as well as integrating a bundle of Drupal modules that work as a simplified solution for creating, hosting and running websites.  You can see a preview of the work here. http://buzzr.com/buzzr-demo-video-making-drupal-usable

We have lots more good stuff coming.  And if there’s a particularly important feature you hope becomes part of Buzzr or one of the modules we release on Drupal, please let us know!

Thanks to the entire Lullabot team, including Karen Stevenson, Nate Haug, Jeff Eaton, Angie Byron, James Walker, Jeff Robbins, Addison Berry and Matt Westgate for their work on these and many other Buzzr tools.

New Modules:

jQuery UI ; SimpleViewsViews Attach; Views Gallery ; Form Builder;

And here are some of the modules we’ve made significant contributions to:

Embed Filter ; Fivestar; jQuery Update ; MultiblockVoting API

Sample Usage Charts:

Picture 3

Picture 2

Simple Views Usage

Picture 6

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Guess Who’s Buzzed?

by Ed Sussman

Everybody.

On April 13, a little over two weeks ago, we released a demo video and blog post about our new business, Buzzr.com. The demo, which is kind of wonky, is aimed at the crowd of developers who live and breathe Drupal, the publishing platform underlying the new business I co-founded with Lullabot and Bond Art & Science.  About 10,000 geeks have come to check out the blog so far.  Our ultimate audience will be more ordinary people who run businesses, write blogs, publish online newspapers and magazines, operate non-profits and just want to create cool, great websites. We should have something ready for them to play with before too long.

For now, though, it was pretty amazing to hear from the developers who are immersed in website creation. Along with the comments from the blog post, we set off a twitter storm. I thought I’d select a bunch of the comments and tweets, edit them down a bit, and give those who didn’t follow the chatter a feel for the overwhelming excitement. “Jaw droppingly awesome” from @torgospizza is probably my favorite.

Twitter-logo-small

Comments from the blog:

terrific

Well, this is a masterpiece, that won’t easily be topped. Just like Drupal builds upon Apache/PHP, Buzzr builds upon Drupal. It takes unusual vision and talent to execute a leap like this. And buckets of hard work. Thanks for taking drupal and content management to the next level.

Now I can see how Drupal will take over the world

It’s always been powerful – but now I can see how it will be easy to use too!

Thats hot.

And its real. Nice!

o_O

This is a very impressive demo! Holy cow! You took every recent Lullabot-related module and put them altogether!

Nice

This will be fantastic when it’s available. It’s an “everything not Drupal” killer.
Favorite line: “Mildly OK-looking stuff…” LOL.

It looks amazing

But you knew that already.

WOW!

All I can say is “wow!” Drupal is now a product.

This is #!@&$ awesome

This is #!@&$ awesome, it’s something that I have thought about but didn’t have enough Drupal mojo to actually do. I guess if anyone can get it done it’s you guys.

Smooth…….

gr8 work guys cant wait for Buzzr to be realized & get my hands on it…

Holy Crap!

LOVE THIS!Believe it or not I think the “features instead of modules” UI enhancement is the best thing… and you saved it for last!

Just a thought. VERY VERY nice work. This is the future.

Kudos!

This is a very good example of the type of thinking that developers have avoided and that designers and administrators need. Drupal is very back-end oriented and that is it’s greatest strength. While not losing any of that layer, you’ve captured many of the issues that the end user has to struggle with after the development is done.Keep up the good work and for the bravery to unveil something at the right time even if it’s still a work in progress and even if you were looking for VC for it. L

holy crap!

Finish and sell this! Right now, I’ll buy it and finally leave ning.com!

Very exciting

Ah this demo makes me happy in so many ways.I hope this demo give the money tree a solid shake for you.

excellent

That’s what I’m calling pushing forward functionality

It’s very original

The concepts are very original and the result is very cool. The UI is really more friendly (you have a feeling of less settings to ‘touch’ to customize drupal and it definitely don’t look like drupal :)).Keep on guys, you are doing great as usual 🙂

damn … this is so cool. i

damn … this is so cool. i was mentioning some of the issues i was busy trying to address in the blog post http://espresso-online.info/site/node/114. you seem to have covered the issues and then some. this is really exciting, drupal is beginning to become appealing to normal people and is not just something used by programmers surrounded by pizza boxes and empty beer bottles.

Awesome. Photoshop for web

Awesome. Photoshop for web sites.

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What’s In a Name? Buzzr Unveiled.

by Ed Sussman

On Monday we released the first public demo of a product I’ve been working on for almost a year.  It’s great to be able to show people that you’re not just imagining the company you started.

The release create a mini-twitter storm because of it could lead to a dramatic improvements to the open source platform Drupal.  It’s also the foundation of my business – a hosted platform that makes it easy for ordinary people to create dynamic, cutting edge websites. Good stuff.

Even more fun for me, though, was the unveiling of our name: Buzzr.

Since October, I’ve been the CEO of a company called Codename Enterprises, Inc. At first, we called it Codename because we kept it hush hush for several months and Codename seemed to be a pretty good codename for the project.  Easy to remember and say. Kind of a meta joke.

The name quickly became second nature for those of us inside the project – not a joke at all. “Did you see the new Codename form builder Nate built!” or “Codename is driving me crazy” or “Will Codename make us very rich or very poor?”

Many, many hours went into brainstorming a suitable “real” name. I am the wistful non-owner of the parked “SiteMama.com” (is every aspect of one’s naming imagination already in existence on GoDaddy.com?) and proud owner of the rejected gem “BuzzGod”  (yours for a song!) If memory serves me correctly, several very off-color names were concocted and snapped up promptly by the creator after rejection by the team.  I am afraid to check if any came to fruition as websites.

Nothing we thought of seemed just right, though. And so, Codename remained Codename month after month.

After a while, the name stuck, to the point that it now feels odd to call the company by its new name. Buzzr. Buzz – R. Buzzr.com. It’s going to take awhile for me to get used to it.

Here’s an initial list of the characteristics we came up with for the ideal name:

All that, in 5 or 6 characters. Plus we wanted a name that would look good on T-shirts. And possibly spawn an adorable icon. And please, not for more than $3,000 bucks.

The naming exercise was led by Evan Orensten of Bond Art + Science, our usability and design partner. Liza Kindred, Jeff Robbins, Karen McGrane and I were probably the most active name brainstormers, but a lot of the Lullabots pitched in: Kent Bye and Jeff Eaton come to mind. We even sent Kent on an undercover mission to suss out background on the owner of a domain.

At first, an orderly process was followed: a formal name and branding strategy workshop was convened. A seven-page brand characteristics survey was completed in several multi-hour meetings. A wall-sized whiteboard was organized around themes and the names springing from these themes. Lots of springtime themes kept popping up. Flowers, bugs, trees, birds, bees and fecund rabbits.

We actually settled on one, then another, only to discover their owners were recalcitrant to part with non-earning domains that had been parked for years. I’m not exactly sure why, although I can speculate: either it’s the fantasy that if they hold out a bit longer, that $2,000 offer is going to turn into $1 million. Or, perhaps they harbor a dream of a building a website they just haven’t got around to yet. (Buzzr.com will help with that.)

I ended up pre-occupied with possible names for months. I’d post long lists on our team blog (always to tepid responses.) I became a fanatical user of www.makewords.com Throw in a few letters or word, enter a category (e.g. business, medicine or music), a base language (Finnish is a good one), and MakeWords spits out a long list of possible domain names, along with whether the names are taken or available for registration. (The site could use a makeover, but the technology works just fine.)

I think it was MakeWords that led me to BuzzGod. We were doing various takes on “Buzz” and I was immediately drawn to BuzzGod. My narcissism unveiled in the name of branding.

I wasn’t the only one making lists. By the end, we had considered several hundred names and were only been pleased with a handful.

Jeff Robbins came up with Buzzr. He and his wife are good namers. As a musician/lyriscist and artist, respectively, they have the proper credentials to create silly icons and names.

The bee, most lately shanghaid for mass-market commercial purposes by Jerry Seinfeld’s Bee movie, is our intended symbolic stand-in for our website. Bees get around, they make a lot of love, they fertilize a lot of flowers. And when they get together, there’s an audible buzz. Good subliminals, no? Plus anytime you put together two “z”s and roll them off your tongue, it tingles a smidgen in your mouth. Jazz. Fuzz. Buzz.

Ok, if you piss off a bee, it’ll sting you and possibly send you into shock. That’s a negative. So the Buzzr bee has to be very friendly. We’re still playing around with a few different bees. Some seem more fertile, some more frenetic, some more fuzzy. You can see the current contender here.

All in all, I’m pretty pleased.  At the very least, my tongue gets to tingle night and day.

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