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Gabbly, latest instant messenger start-up, a lark

(Update: For now, we've decided the embedded chat box was too small for people to really follow the conversation. And feedback for Gabbly: Set the default to "mute." We may tinker. Meanwhile, if you're looking for easier reading experience, go to http://gabbly.com/SiliconBeat.com)

Gabbly, a new start-up based in Redwood City, has built a nimble instant messenger chat box that you can throw up on any Web site.

We have put it up on our Web site this morning to show how it works. As administrators of SiliconBeat, we can choose to embed the box, as you see here (it is on the home page; we may take it down later, or at least move it further down on our right-hand pane; the sound can annoy after a while, though you can turn it off by clicking on the "speaker" icon).

But there's also a guerilla-tactic option. If you visit a site, and want to chat about it, you can throw up a box yourself -- even if an Web site administrator hasn't put one up themselves. Just hope others will join you in the chat.

Here is how you do it: You add http://gabbly.com before the URL of the site you want to chat on. So in our case, it is http://gabbly.com/SiliconBeat.com. Gabbly will automatically assign you a username, something like gabbly1004. Presto, you can gab a way all you want. It lets you change your name by providing a box that says "name."

This company won a seed investment of less than $1 million about a year ago from Amidzad, which is a small investment firm run by the Amidi brothers and their team over at the Medallion Rug Gallery in Palo Alto. (Amidzad is quite a story itself, which we'll get to later). Another investor is Vafa Kordestani, who is on the Gabbly board, and works closely with Amidzad.

Gabbly is run by two founders named Teck and Flora, and three other employees. As we write, Teck and Flora are frantically working on Gabbly's infrastructure to handle the growth in traffic since Saturday. That's when the company was unveiled -- at Techdirt's Greenhouse conference -- and Alexa showed it already at the 2,000th most popular site (though, granted, there is always a jump when a site is first discovered and talked about). Teck, who studied at Cornell, worked at Oracle and Bitphone. Flora studied computer science at MIT.

So we caught up yesterday with investors Kordestani and Pejman Nozad, who is a founding general partner at Amidzad. Kordestani said the Gabbly folks have "been up 24 hours handling scalability issues...our servers are just smoking." He said the company will soon unveil several more exciting features.

Somebody "digged" Gabbly shortly after its presentation, meaning it got a lot of attention at the Digg website from tech geeks. Below is a screen shot of Gabbly's chat around that time.


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are they blocking me specifically, or did it just crash for everyone?

01234567890123456789 on March 16, 2006 10:42 AM
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They've been overwhelmed by the traffic, and their servers are overloaded. So you may have trouble getting to their site. It was slow for us too

matt marshall on March 16, 2006 10:50 AM
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This is AWESOME (pardon the caps). I'm the web administrator for two Harley-Davidson dealerships (actually, the second is deemed by the "Motor Company" as a satellite store) and we could use this immediately with our customers. I can't tell you how many customers don't have any idea about IM programs or options. Now, a customer could be visiting our site and instantly pop us a question. Of course, we could be doing something similar now, but our employees are all WAY to technophobic. This might relieve that as well.
Regardless, I'm plotting right now who would be responsible for monitoring/messaging people, shifts, and how I could explain it to my bosses...who don't really want to hear about any of this.
Thank you Silicon Beat! I just recently discovered your site. It's awesome.
EJ Passeos

EJ Passeos on March 16, 2006 11:05 AM
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they don't verify lengths server-side, so you can have as long a nickname as you want

in fact, they don't verify the nickname either: you can just change the nickname and POST manually (or do it in a js debugger if you want to take that route)

01234567890123456789 on March 16, 2006 11:10 AM
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This is an excellent way to discuss news items, student term paper, illnesses, latest cars and many many other topics. What a creative site. Congtratulations to the entire team!!

Surekha on March 16, 2006 4:31 PM
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So is this really useful for sites?

Tim LinFin on March 16, 2006 7:52 PM
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