Monday, June 27, 2011

Hmm -- Yackit Looks An Awful Lot Like Vlip It! (& I Don't Mind)

Well, THIS is interesting. Straight from the "deja vu all over again" department.

Imagine my surprise this past week when I was merrily working away and came upon "new" Twitter-like micro-vlogging (video blogging) site "Yackit" (click here). Users of the service can easily enable their webcams, record video messages on any topic not longer than 11.5 seconds, post them, and then have others respond with their own video replies that are threaded together.

Hmmm ... where have I heard of that before?

Back in 2007 when I worked as CEO of SightSpeed and we launched Vlip! Check out this post about Vlip in TechCrunch from back in the day. Sounds very familiar, don't you think?

Even more interesting and intriguing is the tagline for Yackit -- it sounds almost precisely like Vlip's!

Yackit's tagline is "Voice it. Share it. Yackit." Vlip's tagline was "Say it. Share it. Vlip it." (I have the t-shirts to prove it.)

But hold on, the resemblance doesn't end there. Take a look at Yackit's cartoon bubble-like logo on its website -- click here to see it. And, then click on the TechCrunch article here to see Vlip's, yup, cartoon bubble-like logo!!!!

If imitation is the highest form of flattery, then I am most certainly flattered! Hey, Yackit did nothing wrong here. They liked what they saw in Vlip -- understood that the project had been essentially abandoned -- and they took the bull by the horns.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Vlip (I still have my precious now-collectors-item Vlip t-shirts). I always felt that it was a great idea and had the potential of being big, big, big (if you Google "vlip", you will see all the buzz we generated back then). But, we simply never put the requisite resources and focus on it back at SightSpeed because we had our main business to do (which ultimately did well for us, as we sold it to Logitech later in 2008). The idea of having micro-threaded "living and breathing" video conversations/debates on any subject always seemed like something that had the potential to be embraced in a big way. (I was so enamored with the skunk-works project at the time that I was negotiating with the iconic band Devo to use their song "Whip It" in Vlip's marketing campaign).

Hey Yackit team! If you ever need an advisor, I would be happy to oblige!