January 16, 2009

Content Sharing Platform Fachak Launches In Alpha, But Is Raw

By Eric Berlin of Online Media Cultist (FriendFeed/Twitter)

Fachak, a new content sharing platform, has debuted its "alpha version" and describes itself as "somewhat like Meebo of content sharing platforms that assimilates YouTube videos, Slideshare presentations & Flickr photos in a single Web service. It’s not a pure aggregator, neither is it a pure bookmarker, but instead a independent ‘multi-format’ & ‘multi-source’ content sharing platform."

If that description tells you what Fachak is, also tells you what it's not, but leaves you with a bunch of questions, you're at the same place I am after giving it a once over.

I have a little rule that I use when I visit a Web site for the first time. If I don't know "why I'm here" and what I should do next within a few seconds, it's usually a bad sign. When I arrived at the Fachak homepage, I sort of knew why I was there (stuff to do with video and images and "docs") and sort of knew what do next (look at stuff and share stuff… from "anywhere," we're told, though the choices at present are YouTube, slideshare, and Flickr). But to be honest I was left wondering: why?

Fachak is trying to differentiate itself by being a place where you can aggregate and share your content from places like YouTube, but is also a UGC platform where you can upload and share your media with a particular emphasis on PowerPoint and other "documents." So I'm not sure if Fachak is trying to be a consumer-facing entertainment and social media platform, a B2B collaboration suite of sorts, or something in between. Also it must be noted that much of what Fachak is working toward has already been perfected (or very nearly so) by FriendFeed, in my opinion.

Fachak, at present, is really rough, and really early. There's simply a lot of little things that need to be tweaked, improved, or revised. For example, three little stars appear underneath videos, giving the indication that you can vote for the content. The expectation is that if you click a star as a logged in user, you should be able to submit your own vote. Instead, you're brought to the content drilldown page. When you relocate the stars on the drilldown page, the voting mechanism is again a little bit clunky. No matter which of the stars you hover over, the text "Rate 3 to Fachak It" appears. And when you final select one of the three, your vote is collected, but you're not informed of how your input affected the overall ranking of the content.

Since the site is still in alpha, I can forgive some of these smaller issues. But it must be stated that Fachak has a long way to go before it's ready for prime time.

I hate to be harsh, as I have great empathy for web developers and entrepreneurs, but I don't see anything really special about Fachak right now. Maybe it'll get there as it travels from alpha through public release.

Fachak is backed by Morpheus Venture Partners, which has been called "India's YCombinator".

Read more by Eric Berlin at Online Media Cultist