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Could Swipp give Facebook a run for its money?

Being bounced into going pub­lic with your prod­uct by a Face­book rival may not seem like the most pro­pi­tious of starts, but social start­up Swipp is mak­ing a brave fist of it.

Face­book has just launched a sim­i­lar prod­uct called “Graph Search”, a move which prompt­ed the Moun­tain View-based start­up to roll out its own – pos­si­bly more attrac­tive – alternative.

An open network

Con­tent man­agers, social media man­agers and com­mu­ni­ty man­agers are prob­a­bly now feel­ing impa­tient to find what Swipp has to offer.  Put in a nut­shell, Swipp is poised to become the first com­pa­ny to prove that a more open social net­work is com­mer­cial­ly viable.  Instead of keep­ing data locked up a la Face­book, its plat­form allows it to be shared back with users – a fea­ture that’s like­ly to go down well with the grow­ing armies of busi­ness­es and con­sumers who aren’t hap­py shar­ing huge amounts of data with the social leviathan.

Swipp CEO Dan Thorston, an erst­while cre­ative direc­tor at Apple, said:

“The larg­er the com­pa­ny we talk to about Swipp, the more fas­ci­nat­ing it is to them. They have a par­ty between them and their cus­tomer and it’s not tenable.”

He describes Swipp as a new type of social intel­li­gence plat­form: “[A]nd on that plat­form we’ve built a new class of social intel­li­gence apps. What we have with Swipp is a fun­da­men­tal­ly new approach to merg­ing data types, and cre­ate what we think of as a new social data category.”

Swipp’s three prongs

A startup’s three-pronged approach includes com­mer­cial-focused soft­ware, con­sumer-focused apps, and a plat­form that per­mits inte­gra­tion with oth­er prod­ucts via a pub­lic API.  All have the same goal: cap­tur­ing con­sumer opin­ion on any­thing on the Net.

The con­sumer app invites users to give rat­ings and com­ments on top­ics or items in real­time using a 5 point scale, while the busi­ness com­po­nent fea­tures apps tai­lored to par­tic­u­lar events or ver­ti­cals like the Super Bowl. This per­mits talk about the play­ers, per­form­ers and ads while the event is on via an inter­ac­tive sec­ond screen, but any busi­ness or brand could have a sim­i­lar app built. The start­up will make mon­ey by sell­ing tai­lor-made data ana­lyt­ics to these firms.

All of which sug­gests that the con­sumer-focused web and iPhone apps it’s just launched are just the tip of a large Swipp iceberg.

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