Snaglur: SA’s social publishing network

Snaglur is a recently launched social media website from the mind and fingertips of Gerhard van der Westhuizen, a .NET developer based in Pretoria, South Africa.

Van der Weshtuizen launched the website earlier this year with the aim of giving people a place to share links, images, videos, or publish original content on one user-friendly website.

Similar to news boilers such as reddit and Digg, Snaglur lets you post links to articles in particular categories and then users can upvote or “thumbs up” them.

MyBroadband had the opportunity to interview van der Westhuizen and the questions and answers are reproduced verbatim below.

What inspired you to make Snaglur?

The main inspiration behind Snaglur was that I felt there wasn’t really a platform where people could share links, images and videos from external websites as well as a place to generate original user content all on the same website in a user-friendly environment.

This ensures that published content, whether external or internal, is equally represented on the platform, allowing room to share and experience your interests in the medium that best suits you, which then allows overall greater freedom to users. This method of sharing and publishing content increases the possibility of visitors to websites and reactions to published posts, because content isn’t competing primarily against each other as types of medium groups, but rather as interesting individual user driven posts.

Snaglur main interface bar screenshot
Snaglur main interface bar screenshot

How many people on your team?

Snaglur is still in its infancy and I started working on the core concept whilst finishing my degree in December 2011, and soon thereafter launched the beta version on the 6th of January 2012. So, at the moment Snaglur is an army of one. I designed the user interface, structured the database, and developed the code all by myself. But as Snaglur expands it will make room to bring more people on board.

Who is funding Snaglur?

Snaglur is self-funded at the moment, but it’s also still changing and growing phenomenally. I’m definitely interested in possible investment into Snaglur, but I also think Snaglur still needs some more time to find its feet, before I can start looking at venture capital or other types of investment.

I noticed that you’re hosted in the US. Why did you choose to host internationally rather than locally? Are you willing to say which hosting provider you’re using? Why did you choose this provider?

There are various contributing factors like, speed, uptime and price, but the main factor was that I needed a cost effective hosting service that supported both MySQL and ASP.Net, so I decided to go with Brinkster. This however is not a permanent arrangement as Snaglur will soon be getting its own server on South African soil.

Tumblbeasts by The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman)
Tumblbeasts by The Oatmeal (Matthew Inman)

The Snaglur logo looks like one of The Oatmeal’s “Tumblbeasts” – is this where you drew inspiration from for the critter?

That was well spotted! The original artwork of the Snaglur mascot was done by Matthew Inman of the Oatmeal for Tumblr approximately a year ago, but Tumblr apparently only used it for a limited amount of time, so Matthew gave me permission to use and enhance the art work, but the credit for the mascot’s design should be given to Matthew Inman.

How many active users are on Snaglur at the moment?

Snaglur is showing steady growth and currently has about 8 thousand active users, which will increase to an estimated 10 thousand by the end of the month [February 2012]. That amount is also expected to more than double by next month [March 2012], which isn’t too bad for only Snaglur’s second month.

What are your plans to monetise Snaglur?

I am at this stage considering various revenue models. Advertising on the site seems to be the most practical, but great care needs to be taken to ensure that adverts integrate perfectly into the site without irritating users. But I haven’t made a definite decision yet.

Snaglur post screenshot
Snaglur post screenshot

Do you have plans for smartphone or mobile apps?

With cell phones soon outnumbering people two to one on earth, bringing Snaglur to the masses through mobile applications seems to be the logical next step to increase accessibility to Snaglur. This will definitely become a reality in the coming months.

Gerhard van der Westhuizen
Gerhard van der Westhuizen, founder Snaglur

I noticed the .aspx suffix in the URL bar – what technology is Snaglur built on and why did you decide to go that route?

I felt confident that I would be able to develop Snaglur with the use of the ASP.Net frameworking, But I am not restricting Snaglur solely to .Net and might also consider using php in the future.

If the service becomes popular, how do you plan to stay on top of resource demands?

Any growing demand will be met with expansion to the system and operation. Immediate forms of investment will also be sought after to accommodate imminent growth.

All-in-all the site looks cool – nicely done! Reminds me of a cross between Digg and reddit as it stands right now. Which leads me to the last question: Do you stream updates in real-time like Twitter and other social networks using AJAX? Do you plan to add functionality like that?

Definitely! I am currently developing various new functionalities to be implemented in Snaglur shortly to make the platform more dynamic and real-time update streaming will also be included, along with a few other cool new tweaks to increase ease of use and performance.

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Snaglur: SA’s social publishing network