Welcome to the Netvouz blog
Netvouz - Online Social Bookmark Manager - Save, Tag and Share your bookmarks

This is the Netvouz blog. To visit the Netvouz social bookmarking service go to www.netvouz.com.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Netvouz featured on Profy

Yesterday the technology news blog Profy posted a positive review of Netvouz.

The reviewer appreciates the Netvouz way of organizing bookmarks using both tags and folders, as well as our unique features, such as the broken links manager. He also liked our performance and the fact that we work hard on protecting our users from spammy content.

I was very pleased reading this review as it really manifests that Netvouz is a powerful social bookmarking service which stands out among hundreds of similar services. (I already knew this before, of course, but it's always nice to see it in print ;-)

Read the full Netvouz review on Profy.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Netvouz adds Safe Browsing service - Surf safer with Netvouz

As part of our ongoing activity to improve link quality we have now added a safe browsing service which warns you if you are about to visit a potentially harmful web site by following a link on Netvouz. From now on all bookmarks on Netvouz are regularly checked to discover web sites that are either known for distributing viruses or other harmful code (malware), or are known phishing sites which may attempt to trick you into sharing personal information.

If you click a link on Netvouz which leads to a suspected site, instead of sending you directly to the site (which could be harmful for your computer) Netvouz takes you to an information page explaining the consequences of visiting the site. When you have understood the consequences you can continue to the suspected site if you want. So Netvouz does not block any web sites or prevent you from visiting them, but we do warn you when you are about to visit a potentially dangerous site by following a link on Netvouz.

Below is an example of what the warning page may look like (click it to enlarge).

The Netvouz safe browsing system currently relies on the Google Safe Browsing service to find suspected web sites, but we plan to also take advantage of other safe browsing services to further improve the precision.

The safe browsing system is active for all links displayed on the Netvouz web site (both public and private links) as well as all links delivered thru any kinds of feeds (RSS, JavaScript, or HTML feeds).

With our automatic link checker (which regularly scans your bookmarks and verifies that they are valid) and recent spam filter for our search engine we have already proven that we care about your links, and this new service further manifests our intentions to become the best place to store your bookmarks online. At least if you care about them.

Give it a try! Sign up and upload your bookmarks to Netvouz, and enjoy a smarter and safer way to surf the web.


P.S. Did you notice the new cool icons for the Netvouz buttons Firefox extension? They will be incorporated into the next update of the extension, soon to be released on Mozilla Add-ons web site.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Netvouz is 13th Largest Social Bookmarking Site

According to eBizMBA July 2007 summary of the largest and busiest social bookmarking web sites Netvouz ranks as number 13.

This may not sound like such a great achievement, but considering the huge number of social bookmarking sites that have popped up the last 2-3 years and the fact that Netvouz is not owned by a company but developed mainly by one person, I think it's pretty good. And as you may know Netvouz has been in development since 2001 and came online (silently....) in 2003, so we're definitely not a rookie.

A while ago we were also ranked as one of the top 5 best social bookmarking sites by Pandia.

In my opinion several of the services on the list are not really true social bookmarking sites. I consider digg.com, Technorati, Slashdot, Shoutwire etc. not to be true bookmarking sites but rather news voting sites (and excellent such!). Or do you know anyone who is actually using these services for managing their bookmarks?

Nevertheless, I certainly enjoyed reading the list. And thanks to everyone for supporting us and making Netvouz successful. Your feedback is always appreciated.


Monday, July 09, 2007

More sorts. Less duplicates.

The observant Netvouz user may already have seen the new features we have added the past week, but for the rest of you here's a quick summary.

First there are some useful new sort options which let you view your bookmarks sorted by last visit date and by number of clicks. These let you see which bookmarks you have clicked recently as well as which you have clicked most. You find these sort options in the Netvouz Show menu as "Sort by visit date" and "Sort by visits". A click is registered only when you are logged on and only when you click your own bookmarks.

We have also added a check which notifies you when you bookmark a web site you already have. We then load and display your existing bookmark (if you have several copies we load the last modified) so you can update it instead of saving a new. If you really want to save another copy you can use the Netvouz File -> Add Bookmark menu option or just click the Copy link next to the bookmark.

In addition to this we have also added a P3P Privacy Policy which should make Netvouz work better in recent versions of Internet Explorer which, apparently, have a tighter control of cookies. A P3P policy states what information a web site collects about its users and how it uses this information. Rest assured, Netvouz only collects standard server logs and uses cookies only to determine if you are logged on or not and what your display preferences are, and we do not use this to contact you with any spam email or so, only to improve our web site. We hate spam just as much as you do!

Work continues - this week we will work further on improving link quality and also implement Safe Browsing!


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Netvouz Firefox extension now live on Firefox Add-ons site

The Netvouz buttons Firefox extension, developed by Netvouz user John Pedersen, went live today on the Firefox Add-ons site after a few days in the Sandbox.

You can install it in the same way as any other Firefox extension (select Tools -> Add-ons menu and click Get Extensions in Firefox, then select Browse by category -> Bookmarks on the Add-ons web site). You can also get it directly from http://addons.mozilla.org/addon/5194.

If you are using Firefox we highly recommend this extension instead of the two bookmarklets previously available.

For more information see this previous post (or just scroll down ;-)

Thanks again John!


Monday, June 25, 2007

Netvouz buttons integrates with Firefox

John, a Netvouz user, has developed a Firefox extension for Netvouz. Netvouz buttons 1.0 provides the same functionality as the "bookmarklets" you use to save bookmarks to your Netvouz account and to visit your Netvouz bookmarks. But because it adds two buttons to the Firefox navigation toolbar (back, forward, stop, home etc.) you do not need to enable the Firefox bookmarks toolbar just to make the Netvouz bookmarklets visible.

Here's a screenshot of what it looks like in my browser:

When you install Netvouz buttons it tries to configure itself automatically and in most cases you do not need to do anything, it should work right out of the box. But if it fails you will see the Netvouz logon screen and it will then configure itself after you have logged on.

Netvouz buttons 1.0 is currently on the Mozilla Sandbox web site and has not yet been promoted to the public Firefox extensions web site.

If you want to give Netvouz buttons 1.0 a try (and we highly recommend it!) you can install it from https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/5194. You will need to sign up with Mozilla and then edit your account (click "My Account" on the top right) and enable the Sandbox. If you want you may also post a short review.

Thanks John!!!


Thursday, June 21, 2007

New search engine delivers better links, faster!

I am very glad to announce that we have now deployed a completely new search engine on Netvouz. This new technology has been developed during the past 2-3 months and a week ago we began migrating the existing database onto the new improved design (a design which will also allow us to roll out a number of new features which will improve the social aspects of Netvouz). So after several days, weeks, months of hard work it was finally time to make the switch.

This new search engine technology is capable of delivering the best and most relevant results from the links on Netvouz for each subject. Regardless if you search on tag (i.e. browsing by tags) or perform a free-text search using the search field it will return relevant content, free from spam and nonsense links. This is a huge improvement over the old search engine which always came back with lots of spam and irrelevant links, pretty much regardless of what you searched for.

But improved link quality is not all. The new engine is also a lot faster. And because it is also highly tunable we will constantly tune it to deliver better and better results, faster and faster.

For an example of what the new engine delivers, let's shoot a few queries. Let's say we're interested in web design and especially CSS. Netvouz then suggests we take a look at A list apart, css Zen Garden, and HTML Goodies, web sites which all deal with web design, HTML coding and CSS in particular. Good choices, and we could learn a lot from visiting these sites. OK, so now we want to go shopping and what could be a better place to start than by finding the best prices at Price Watch, Priceline, or PriceGrabber. Now let's try to see what Netvouz suggest on another popular topic, cooking diet food. I haven't visited these sites myself but their names sound promising; The World's Healthiest Foods and Over 100 Quick and Easy Healthy Foods.

I hope you all appreciate the much improved search results!


P.S. I recently googled for a radio controlled helicopter, the Lama v4, and much to my surprise Google turns up my own Netvouz bookmarks as hit #4! It must be a sign, so I have now bought one of these as well!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Who pulled the Internet plug?

Today I got an alert from the monitoring service that constantly checks that Netvouz is healthy. It said Netvouz was down. Strange, because at that same moment I was using it and it worked without a glitch. So it must be something else. And so I started digging....

First I went to my long-time friend GrabPERF, which also keeps track of how we're doing (also see this post). It also reported Netvouz being down. But not completely. So I took a closer look at the GrabPERF details to see what was going on. It told me that some of it's monitoring agents, such as Zurich and Technorati #2 (but not #1!), failed to reach Netvouz but others didn't. So about half of them could not reach Netvouz, while the others could. This is shown in the GrabPERF graph below.

In the middle of the graph you see several measurements which have failed (the purple dots at the bottom), while others have succeed (the green ones above them). That's odd. But at least it's not a problem with the Netvouz servers or the network connection we're hooked up to.

Hmm... let's go check the Netvouz real-time web traffic statistics.

This statistics shows that at noon local time (Central European Time) there was a sudden drop in the number of visitors. OK, so it's a fact. The Netvouz service is healthy as ever, but apparently we can not be reached from some locations on the Internet. Interesting, but why?

So this means that somewhere on the Internet a major core router that handles a lot of traffic went down at about noon today. That could happen. But it also means that the remaining routers did not manage to route via alternative routers, and that should not happen. Luckily, as both graphs show, traffic was reestablished again after about 20 minutes.

So what happened out there today? Was it just a hardware failure at an important router? Or a successful hacker attack that managed to bring it down? Or was it just a "oopss" when someone accidentally pulled the wrong plug?

I don't know, do you?

The mystery remains........


Monday, May 28, 2007

This post has really nothing to do with Netvouz but I just feel like mentioning it here anyway... I have bought a new toy!

I've been looking for some small radio-controlled helicopter to fly a little now and then. And just recently I discovered the amazingly cool PicooZ from Silverlit. So I picked one up at a local store today. And I don't regret it. Can't see how you can have much more fun for just $40. At least not if you like radio-controlled stuff like I do! It's also the perfect companion for any programmer - charge it for half an hour and fly for 5 minutes. Gives you a perfect break from the keyboard!

Once you've trimmed the control so it flies straight it's very easy to fly, and it looks amazingly cool when it passes your head just an inch away. Highly recommended! See it in motion

Anyone can think of a more sophisticated way to blow out your birthday cake candles!?


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Better links! Much much much better links!

Today we deployed a beta version of our upcoming search engine on Netvouz. The new engine will turn up much better links for all your queries, and equally important, reduce the amount of spam (porn, self-promoters, tag-and-ping bloggers etc.) that you see.

Note, however, the engine is still in beta and currently returns many duplicates, so if you search for e.g. dvd you will notice that doom9.org shows up several times. However, with the previous engine doom9.org didn't show up at all because everything that was shown was just spam bookmarks. So we decided to roll out this early beta version even though it is not yet quite ready for prime time.

So stay tuned and you will soon see much much much better links delivered by Netvouz.


Friday, May 11, 2007

Servers on the move

Today, Friday May 11th, we moved the Netvouz servers to a brand new server room at our hosting partner Infracom. During the move we had only a 60 seconds downtime, and the move went smooth and all systems came up fine.

In the next week or so we will roll out our long-awaited improvement to our spam filter. This third generation filter should make most kinds of spam less intrusive. And in addition to that we will also make significant improvements to our search engine which will return better targeted and more relevant search results.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

Netvouz becomes a GrabPERF monitoring agent

I've been a long time user of GrabPERF (hey - I've even sponsored the site because it was so useful to me!) and when GrabPERF needed more monitoring agents, I decided to help out. So now I am hosting a GrabPERF monitoring agent on a dedicated Linux box in my apartment in Gothenburg, Sweden. This has nothing to do with Netvouz really (the GrabPERF agent and Netvouz servers are not in the same location), but I have always used GrabPERF to keep an eye on the Netvouz performance.

In addition to that I have also done some DNS changes to Netvouz and these have also improved the responsiveness of Netvouz. Here's what the GrabPERF top 20 list looked today - Netvouz has climbed to 3rd place for the homepage (a new measurement) and about 10th place for the tag search. These figures vary as site response times vary, but it's nice to see that the DNS change clearly made a difference.

I also have some other performance improvements on my to do list which I will implement and roll out as soon as possible. And the neat thing is that these will also have side effects which will improve the quality of the bookmarks and the value Netvouz brings to our users.


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Silence is good! Silence means hard work...

First I must apologize to everyone for not posting more often to this Netvouz blog. I know there is a stream of Netvouz users that visit the blog regularly, and if I were you I would be turned off by not having any news to read.

But silence on the blog is actually good! Because when I don't write blog posts I work hard on developing Netvouz and our service. So less posts means more development time. And more development time means a better service. And a better service means more users!

So today I post because I want to share some figures with you. As you can see from the graphs below Netvouz is seeing a substantial increase in traffic (read members and visitors), and the traffic increase the first quarter this year is quite impressive.

Statsaholic traffic graph

This graph shows the Netvouz traffic according to Statsaholic (who gets their data from Alexa). As you can see Netvouz has been gaining traffic at a healthy rate for quite a while. And after a slight drop late 2006 (perhaps because of our DNS problems), we are seeing a substantial increase in traffic the first quarter this year.

Compete traffic graph
The second graph comes from Compete and just as Alexa they also measure a significant increase in traffic in 2007. Quite impressive, don't you think?

Quantcast traffic graph
The third and final traffic graph is from Quantcast, another company trying to measure site traffic. Their analysis follows the same pattern as the other two and also shows a massive increase in traffic in 2007.

But more traffic means a slower service, right? No!

Netvouz has also been tracked by GrabPERF for a couple of years, and the graph below shows our response times from their measurement locations in the US over the past year.

As you can see, since we upgraded our servers in mid November our response times (from the US) have been cut by 50%, going down from 1-1.5s to 0.5-0.7s. The spike in mid November was when we ran on our slower backup servers for a week. Now, overlay this graph with the traffic graphs above (you have to do it in your head yourself) and you realize that as our traffic has increased our response times have actually gone down! How come? Well.... That's how I spend my time when I don't post to the blog....

Another fun thing is that Netvouz has also made it into the GrabPERF top 20 list (albeit in the 20th place...).

This may not sound like a big achievement, but if you look at the details of a GrabPERF request, shown below, you will see that it actually is.

On this particular request detailed above, GrabPERF could quickly find the IP address for www.netvouz.com (because most of our DNS servers are hosted in the US). But then it took 0.17s for the GrabPERF request to travel from the US to Europe, where the Netvouz servers are located. GrabPERF then received the reply after 0.24s, and after an additional 0.18s the whole page (only 6kB) were transmitted. If you sum this up you end up with a total response time of 0.59s, which is what is shown in the GrabPERF response graph above.

But how much time did Netvouz actually spend processing this request? Well, approximately 0.24-0.17 = 0.07s, or 70ms. The bulk part of the remaining time (0.5s+) is "penalty" because the Netvouz servers are located in Europe. So if we would have our servers in the US and we would have the same transfer times as most other sites being tracked (such as Technorati, Google, Skype etc.) we would probably be among the top sites.

But performance isn't everything, and every Netvouz visitor is not in the US, and Netvouz is among the top 5 bookmarking services in other aspects, so I'm very happy anyway!!

And rest assured, while we continue adding new useful features, we will always always keep an eye on performance.

Next feature to launch is our third generation spam protection. It's in the works...


Saturday, March 10, 2007

Access your Hotpicks even faster!

Today as part of a maintenance release, I have added support for so called access keys (or accelerator keys) on Hotpicks. This means that you can now access the first nine Hotpicks displayed on any page using the keys 1-9 on your keyboard.

Depending on your browser you need to combine the numeric key with other key(s). The list below shows the combinations for some popular browsers:
Firefox: Press Shift-Alt-[Key#]
Internet Explorer: Press Alt-[Key#] and then Enter
Opera: Press Shift-Esc and then [Key#]
Safari (Mac): Press Ctrl-[Key#]

Where [Key#] is the key 1-9.

If more than 9 Hotpicks are displayed only the first 9 are accessible using access keys. To access the remaining you have to click the link with your mouse, as usual.

Access keys was added to better support our mobile visitors. Using a cell phone or PDA and Netvouz as the start page mobile users can now access their favorite web sites with just a single click or keypress (depending on the mobile device).


P.S. I am now working on some major improvements that I will roll out over the next coming weeks. I am really excited about these changes so I have a big smile on my face, 24h a day :-)

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

RawSugar import broken

Due to a problem with RawSugar, Netvouz is currently not able to import bookmarks from RawSugar. We have contacted RawSugar about this and they are working on fixing the problem on their side.

Update: RawSugar has now fixed their problems so importing from RawSugar now works again. Hurray, and thanks Frank!


Friday, March 02, 2007

New server, and new location

It wasn't long since I set up new servers and this coming weekend it's happening again. This time I am also setting it up in another hosting location to provide even higher availability in case there are any problems with any Internet Service Provider (ISP).

So keep bookmarking and I will keep installing new servers, develop new features, reply to emails, and have lots of fun watching the traffic and member stats go absolutely the right way! :-)


P.S. Next on the to do list are features which will both improve performance of searches and give you better quality of the search results. So stay tuned...

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Netvouz wants some del.icio.us RawSugar

I read on TechCrunch that RawSugar is having difficulties and may shut down or sell. So after a conversation with the RawSugar team I decided to offer RawSugar members an alternative.

So now Netvouz imports bookmarks directly from a RawSugar account. Just enter your RawSugar username and password and we will retrieve your RawSugar bookmarks and import them to your Netvouz account. The import is done in real-time and your bookmarks will retain the same visibility settings as they have on RawSugar.

But we will not just import your bookmarks into a flat hierarchy as on del.icio.us and most other services. No, we will actually convert your RawSugar tag hierarchy into Netvouz folders and put the bookmarks in the most relevant folder! So this will mimic your whole RawSugar account in the Netvouz way. If you do want a flat structure you can of course choose not to create Netvouz folders. But I understand many RawSugar users are concerned about moving to other services and losing the power of folders.

Take a look at http://www.netvouz.com/RawSugarDemo for an example. This import was done from a RawSugar account and as you can see Netvouz has recreated the whole tag hierarchy as a folder structure. Isn't that beautiful!

So from Netvouz to all RawSugar users - Welcome to Netvouz!

Oh, I almost forgot. We can now also import straight from del.icio.us as well. Works the same way except your bookmarks are imported into a flat structure.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Netvouz blog has a fresh new design - and a new address

After having updated the Netvouz color scheme I felt it was time to also put some effort into the Netvouz blog. So I did. And here it is. The Netvouz blog 2.0 :-)

And while doing the update I also moved the blog to it's new address, http://blog.netvouz.com.

It's my vision to post more frequently and to keep you all updated on the development activities going on. (Hmm.... haven't I said that before....) And when new features are rolled out I will also add a small banner on the top of the Netvouz page so you all know that there are new stuff.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Netvouz on Sociable's short list

A few days ago the popular Wordpress plugin Sociable was released in an improved 2.0 version.

Sociable is a tool that offers Wordpress bloggers a simple way to add buttons to their blogs which blog visitors can click on and instantly save the blog post on their favorite social bookmarking service.

In Sociable 2.0 Netvouz is now one of few pre-selected sociable bookmarking services, along with digg, del.icio.us, and some others. You'll see the icons under Share and enjoy.


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Netvouz in spring colors

Today, February 3, Netvouz greets you with a brand new blue/green color scheme. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and finally it has happened. Because most users feel comfortable and like the way Netvouz navigation works all of the navigation still remains the same, so this is purely a spiced up color scheme.

In addition to this new color scheme there's a bunch of under the hood improvements, and as usual you won't see them - but they're equally important. This new release is actually the sum of no less than 20 sub versions of Netvouz that I have been working on for the past month.

So enjoy the new Netvouz color scheme!

If you have any comments or feedback, I appreciate it as usual either as a post here or to the Netvouz contact email.


Sunday, January 28, 2007

Netvouz automatic link checker improved

Today I have installed a new version of perhaps one of the most sophisticated components of Netvouz - the automatic link checker. With the new improvements made there should be a lot less false alerts thanks to an even smarter decision engine.

The link checker is without competition the single component I have spent most time on in Netvouz. For anyone who hasn't yet written a link checker (are there really people out there who still hasn't? ;-) you should now that just getting the status codes from a web site and blindly assuming that they are right won't get you far.

No for me, Netvouz and you to be happy it requires quite a bit of logic to decide among all the various responses (or lack of responses) whether a link is working or not. As you know we flag the links as working, confirmed broken, unreachable and doubtful, and the Broken Links Manager (Tools -> Manage broken links) allows you to easily delete your broken links.

As before your links are scanned weekly and if a link has been broken for more than a week it is flagged and shows up in the Broken Links Manager.

So keep on bookmarking and rest assured that the Netvouz link checker takes good care of your links!


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Ahooooooo..... off you gooooooo......

No Ahoo from Yahoo. Uploading 8700 bookmarks all pointing to your own web site is not the way to use Netvouz. Sorry if I haven't made that clear during the registration process.

And to be honest, the articles on your web site really suck so if you plan on making some money on Google ads I suggest you start writing some decent stuff.

I have a button specially made for users like you. It's shaped like a rubber. And it's sooo easy to use.


Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Successful maintenance Saturday 6th

As some of you noticed Netvouz went up and down on Saturday, just as planned. I have upgraded several parts of the system, found memory leaks which caused instability, performed tuning activities which cut down on CPU resources and made several other improvements. So there should be a lot less smoke coming from the server rack ;-)

Hope you all had an equally good weekend!