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From the Cash Register to the Store
After 6 incredibly difficult years of attempting to do what most people said could not be done -- FanBox had succeeded in enabling billions of people to electronically pay for knowledge -- the missing piece of the Knowledge Economy.
It is noteworthy that this had been accomplished this without capital and investors. (FanBox has been consistently approached with offers from the biggest names in venture capital financing -- we'll cover that later).
The importance of not having outside investors is that FanBox has preserved its right to share its profits with the community (users) and their local communities (charitable causes).
Now it was time to build the next aspects of the FanBox platform.
In other words, now that FanBox had a Cash Register, it was time to build the Store.
The largest technical challenges emerged in creating the algorithms for compensation of the world’s Knowledge Workers.
The most complex, time-consuming and expensive aspects related to fraud detection:
FanBox’s scientists and engineers needed to innovate beyond the capabilities of those that would attempt to steal from the world’s Knowledge Workers.
I have confirmed with the FanBox accounting team that FanBox’s fraud detection algorithms took almost 600 man-years of engineering time to develop.
To this date, the fraud detection algorithms stand as the most complicated aspect of the entire FanBox platform -- even more complex than the FanBox mobile payment platform that integrated the billing systems of over 400 mobile carriers around the world.
At any one time, almost 200 scientists and engineers were simultaneously working on developing and integrating the approximately 50 disparate layers of the fraud detection technology.
It is this fraud detection technology that uniquely enables FanBox to offer Knowledge Workers the ability to get compensated for their work, based on user engagement.
In other words, this is how FanBox can provide bloggers a way to generate earnings based on the AMOUNT OF TIME readers spend enjoying their blogs.
If FanBox had not spent years developing this technology, either bloggers wouldn't get paid for their work, or readers would have to pay to read blogs.
Now, FanBox needed a “Shopping Mall” to house all the “Stores”.
In order to create a fun and effective “shopping” environment, FanBox chose Social Networking as its “Shopping Mall” approach.
As you’ll see in a future chapter, FanBox’s founders have a deep history and understanding of social networking and online community.
For its first store “Shelves”, FanBox invented social networking apps (applications).
Yes, you read that correctly. In 2005, FanBox invented the technology that allows application developers to launch apps into a social network.
And it called its app language XPML.
In May 2007, Facebook launched Facebook Apps.
Facebook called its app language FBML:
Interestingly enough, some of the typos (typing mistakes) in FanBox’s original documentation still exist in Facebook’s documentation.
The origin of the invention of apps in a social network did not go unnoticed by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
Just this year, the USPTO awarded FanBox the patent for applications in a social network – providing protection and covering such broad capabilities such as:
-- The ability for a social network to give developers a place to register their apps
-- APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) for developers to access with their apps
-- A place for consumers to access those apps
In other words, any social network that allows a third party application developer to launch applications or access developer APIs, among a host of other essential activities, is violating the Intellectual Property rights of FanBox and its users.
In order to tell the FanBox story as honesty as I could, a few weeks ago I traveled to New York City, where I provided the FanBox intellectual property portfolio to a patent expert.
This expert has written authoritative books on the subject of intellectual property and patents. I asked him for his unbiased expert opinion.
After reviewing the FanBox patents, as available publicly on the web site of the USPTO, his stated opinion is that:
“It is virtually impossible to monetize (create revenues in) a social network without very clearly violating FanBox’s patents”.
The USPTO is currently actively considering approximately 25 different FanBox inventions.
As a result of its research over the last 6 years into FanBox's inventions, the United States government recently awarded FanBox a number of official patents relating to such things as packaged billing (such as offered by Facebook with its Facebook Credits), social mapping of relationships (also known as the “Social Graph”) and other fundamental building blocks required to successfully offer and monetize any social network.
I promise that I will return to this chapter soon to add to it -- expanding on the many other inventions that originated from the FanBox employees in their quest to assist Knowledge Workers -- but for now:
You can find a list of official patent filings and awards on United States government web site (USPTO):
The question many of you have asked -- and are probably asking now -- is:
“How -- and why – is FanBox allowing Facebook -- and others -- to get away with violating its intellectual property rights”?
The simple answer is that FanBox is dedicated to helping knowledge workers get fairly compensated for their work.
To the degree that Facebook and others are offering valuable services that help knowledge workers, it appears that FanBox has previously turned a blind eye to it.
One thing I've noticed is that management of FanBox has great admiration for the management of Facebook, and the job they have done in bringing communication services to users around the world.
On a related note, interestingly enough, starting in 2009 Facebook began violating FanBox’s trademark rights – by launching a product called “Fan Box” – which some say it did as a clear attempt to confuse users.
FanBox has written to Facebook management to remind them that FanBox has an official trademark on file with the USPTO – covering the words “FanBox” and “Fan Box” -- and that it is creating a confusing environment by illegally using FanBox's (U.S. government-blessed fully trademarked) name.
To date, Facebook has not given FanBox the courtesy of a response to its polite notice.
If interested, you can look up the official FanBox trademark at the United States government’s trademark search web site:
(Just visit that link and search for the word “FanBox”).
It will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months, as Facebook attempts to become a public company -- when it appears to be violating -- in a very obvious and public way – both the intellectual property patent and the trademark rights of FanBox and its community members.
Recently I asked someone in FanBox’s management team about this subject, and their quick and simple response was: “Facebook’s management is aware of us, and they’re smart people: We’re confident that they’ll do the right thing soon”.
When I first started writing this blog, I promised I would write about "the good, the bad, and everything in-between".
I am almost done doing my research on it -- so in the next chapter, we'll waste no time getting to the dirt.
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