My friends at Pidgin / BoardTracker have recently launched Klostu – a site that unifies bulletin boards from around the world through a central access site and unified login system. Klostu allows you to find thousands of bulletin boards in one place: you can make friends via their social network functionality or browse / search through millions of forum topics.
Klostu was recently demonstrated at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco where it generated a lot of buzz, and not surprisingly as there are very few companies operating in this space, despite the potential benefits that connecting bulletin boards offer (see my previous post on a “Technorati for bulletin boards“).
I’ve been demoing Klostu this week, and so far it’s great. Here are screenshots of the main page and my own personalised profile page. The drag and drop features for moving around blocks and customisable tab groupings for blocks are a nice touch. You simply have to double click on any block to edit the properties / features of that section. You can add as many RSS feeds as desired, comment blocks, shared files, etc., and there are many more customisable blocks on the way…
I could say more but it’s best if you try it out for yourself, just signup at klostu.com (Edit: You’ll need to request a beta test key on the signup page). Ron and the team at Klostu will be releasing modules for various bulletin boards shortly, allowing board owners to integrate the Klostu single signon system into their own sites (demo here).
Forum search with BoardTracker.com
Last August I blogged about a “Technorati for Bulletin Boards” and how forums could make use of tagging, just as blogs have done. About three weeks ago, I heard about BoardTracker, and they’ve done just that, and more!
So BoardTracker is a search engine for bulletin boards, allowing you to find specific information from discussion communities. But they’ve gone beyond being a vertical search engine by creating PHP modules for specific bulletin board systems such as phpBB, vBulletin and Invision Board that allow you to integrate their bulletin board search functionality directly into your site (thereby relieving bulletin board servers of the added load of search). Also, they’ve written the nifty tagging for bulletin board posts I was on about, allowing cross-forum and cross-site tagging of post content! (Now to look at how SIOC can fit in with this…)
We’ve installed BoardTracker search at boards.ie, and now have a nice tag cloud on our front page. Interesting to see that the 20 main tags used so far (on ~800 tagged threads) are:
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Alexa Web Search – Top 500
Well it can’t really keep on going upwards for much longer, but I’ll keep blogging about it as long as boards.ie moves up the ladder of Ireland’s most popular sites:)
I think that our recent success is due in no small part to the help of BoardTracker and their integrated searching system, which I’ll talk about shortly.