Archive for the 'Business' Category

Fashiolista in NY

The Fashiolista team is in New York for the fashion week. I’m looking forward to meet some local tech startups. Drop me a mail or leave a comment if you want to grab a coffee.

Thierry Schellenbach
CTO/ Founder

Business &Django &Events &Fashiolista &Python tschellenbach 11 Feb 2012 254 Comments

Facebook open graph publishing simplified

Facebook has just enabled the open graph for 60 lucky apps. The new open graph beta allows you to post a user’s actions to their timeline. This activity is shown to the user’s friends in Facebook’s newsfeed and ticker. Furthermore your data is nicely aggregated on a user’s Facebook profile. Fashiolista’s aggregation for instance looks like this:

Posting these actions on Facebook can greatly enhance the viral growth of your company. Spotify, one of the launch partners, has grown by more than 4mil active users. This blogpost explains how to use Django Facebook to integrate your Django based site with Facebook.

How open graph works

Before going into the code though we need to understand the basic concepts of the open graph: actions and objects. Facebook’s getting started interface explains it best:

Actions are the verb, objects are what the action is applied to. You submit the data for these actions and objects to Facebook. An example would be watching (action) the movie Pan’s Labyrinth (object). Every object should be represented by a dedicated URL. For instance if you look at Chiara’s profile (object) on Fashiolista you will see the following open graph data:

<meta property="og:title" content="ChiaraFerragni" />
<meta property="og:image" content="" />
<meta property="og:type" content="fashiolista:fashiolista" />
<meta property="og:site_name" content="Fashiolista" />

To post to the open graph you specify an action and the url for the object. You can read more about it in Facebook’s open graph docs.

Getting permission

Users only need to give you permission to the open graph once. You specifically need the publish_actions permission. When asking for this permission a pretty permission interface as shown below will appear:

Notice the tiny add to timeline box displayed at the bottom right corner of the interface.

Posting to the graph

The code below will show you how to post to the open graph. There are however a few requirements which you’ll need to go through.

  1. Register your own Facebook app and define actions and items
  2. Have Django Facebook installed

Simple posting to the graph

After receiving this permission we can post to the user’s timeline. Below is the most basic example:

def open_graph_beta(request):
    Simple example view on how to do open graph postings
    fb = get_persistent_graph(request)
    entity_url = ''
    result = fb.set('me/fashiolista:love', item=entity_url), 'The item has been shared to fashiolista:love')

This posts the action love to the users timeline with the object data found at the url
The syntax me/fashiolista:love translates to post to me in the namespace fashiolista with the action love.

Asynchronous posting to the graph

While the above example works, you often won’t want to keep your users waiting for the Facebook API request. Especially since they are quite sluggish at the moment.
Below there’s a version of the code using celery. Celery is a task queuing system which enables you to run tasks asynchronously.

def open_graph_beta(user):
    Example posting to open graph using a celery task
    profile = user.get_profile()
    fb = profile.get_offline_graph()
    entity_url = ''
    result = fb.set('me/fashiolista:love', item=entity_url)


Integrating with open graph is easy. Head over to the github page of Django Facebook to get started. Contributions are more than welcome.

Fashiolista Jobs

Do you also see the beauty in clean code? Are you experienced with high scalability web apps? Currently we’re looking for additional talent over at our Amsterdam office. Feel free to drop me a line at my personal email for more information: thierryschellenbach[├ít]

Business &Django &Facebook &Fashiolista &Marketing &Python &Web Development tschellenbach 01 Feb 2012 81 Comments

5 ways in which Facebook redefines online marketing

In the last few years the landscape for online marketing has shifted towards Facebook. The most obvious point is Facebook’s own ad platform, which currently exceeds 2 billion dollar in revenue. However the more fundamental changes are caused by Facebook’s social platform. This article outlines the 5 ways in which Facebook is redefining online marketing.

About Thierry Schellenbach: Co-Founder of, author of Django Facebook. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook

1. Interest based marketing

Firstly Facebook allows you to target your advertising to specific interest groups. Especially for community driven sites it’s now possible to reach your target audience with almost scary precision. A marketeer can target all single girls living in Amsterdam, which like snowboarding and work at Google. This improved targeting enables you to attract visitors which are more likely to use your product.

Try out Facebook advertising

2. Zero friction authentication

The Facebook effect continues when users reach your landing page. Instead of filling out a form with annoying questions, users just need to find the big blue button on your site and they are good to go.
Having a Facebook login flow on your site drastically increases your conversion to members. Also the Facepile social plugin shows you which of your friends are using the site you’re visiting. This creates another incentive for users to join your site.

A good example of a zero friction signup flow is the Fashiolista landing page as shown above.

3. Instant personalization and Friends

The first two points allow you to acquire more users at a substantially lower member acquisition cost than previously possible. In addition the user accounts created by the Facebook connect flow immediately contain very rich information. You know their birthday, their age, their email, their gender and more importantly their real name. Using real names on online platforms substantially reduces spam and trolling. Furthermore since you know the user’s Facebook id you can connect them to their friends.

Pinterest for instance makes it extremely easy to follow your Facebook friends on Pinterest.

4. Like based personalization

Facebook started focusing on likes about a year and a half ago when they released the open graph protocol and like buttons. Currently many users have indicated which sports, movies and brands they like. You can utilize this data to immediately connect the users to topics they care about.

Quora is the leading example on how to personalize your content to new users. When you join Quora topics will be suggested to you based on your interests. So someone interested in Entrepreneurship will see entirely different content than someone interested in gardening.

5. Social sharing – Evangelists

Some of these users you just acquired will absolutely love your product. (Stop marketing and improve your product if they don’t). Previously these users would maybe email a friend or two and if you’re lucky tell their colleagues about it. Facebook however empowers them to easily share your product to all of their friends. Evangelists which would maybe recruit two new members are enabled by Facebook to recruit dozens. It is very common for user’s of Fashiolista to invite more than 30 of their friends, many of which become members.

The invite flow on Fashiolista smartly shows your female friends, which are not yet on Fashiolista and enables you to quickly send an invite message to their wall.
Similar, albeit less pretty invite flows are a strong component of games like CityVille and Farmville.

Conclusion and on to F8

Facebook has so far reduced the cost of getting visitors to your site. In addition it has become easier for these visitors to become members and receive a personalized experience.
Finally Facebook empowers your evangelists to reach more of their friends than was previously possible. Throughout these steps the cost and friction involved with recruiting new members have been substantially reduced.

On September 22nd Facebook will make several announcements at their F8 conference.
Have a look at the livestream to find on how they will change online marketing again.

About Thierry Schellenbach: Co-Founder of, author of Django Facebook. Follow me on Twitter or Facebook

Business &Facebook &Fashiolista &Marketing &Web Development tschellenbach 21 Sep 2011 63 Comments

Fashiolista raises $500,000 from Atomico :)

Some good news while new code is compiling :)
Champagne moment over here!

TechCrunch – Fashiolista raises funding from Skype founders

Business &Fashiolista &Web Development tschellenbach 12 Jan 2011 99 Comments

Twitter button to pull down the internet?

I was thrilled to see twitter releasing their own button. This is good news all around for us bloggers looking to promote our content. After looking at their code snippets a warning is in place though. The current twitter button implementation will severely break your site if their servers face load issues. Fortunately you can work around this issues by slightly modifying their implementation.

Technical explanation

For we have been writing a lot about the various techniques for implementing these type of buttons. Especially important here is the way the javascript is loaded. Twitter uses a simple blocking script approach, where as digg, facebook and fashiolista use the async dynamic script approach. There are two large differences:

  1. Blocking script loads make your site slower
  2. If twitter goes down, your site joins in


In this example we are faking slow twitter servers. (By routing it through google’s app engine and delaying the response). You can see the difference for yourself (be patient and be sure to clear your browser cache using CTRL F5).

Default twitter version
(note that site content is not loading until the twitter button is loaded)

Async twitter script
(everything loads and then we wait for twitter)


Solving this is quite simple. Simply change the way the twitter javascript is loaded from the first example to the second version.

Twitter version

<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>

Async twitter implementation

<script type="text/javascript">  
  //async script, twitter button style  
  (function() {
   var s = document.createElement('SCRIPT');  
   var c = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0];  
   s.type = 'text/javascript';  
   s.async = true;
   s.src = '';
   c.parentNode.insertBefore(s, c);  

Hope the difference won’t matter and Twitter will stay up :)

Follow me at:

Thanks for spreading the word:

Business &Fashiolista &Google app engine &Javascript &Web Development &YouTellMe tschellenbach 13 Aug 2010 80 Comments

YTM launch!!

No more beta for
The website which is taking over the Dutch product comparison market is officially going out of beta @ 8 o clock.
Party in Amsterdam, Keizersgracht 182 :) Festivities starting right now!


Things are going well, looking very forward to international launch.
We’ve changed a lot since the first reviews!


Beter pictures coming after the event :P

PS. Thanks to Python and Django, for enabling us to beat the competition :)

PSS. Next2News, eduhub, come and join :)

Apache &Business &Css &Django &Dutch &Events &Javascript &PHP &Prototype &Python &Symfony &Web Development &YouTellMe tschellenbach 11 Dec 2009 150 Comments

New YouTellMe release

We have been rolling out some awesome new features at The new version of the comparison system allows for the most flexible product comparison queries. Furthermore we now fully support product variations with easy selectors during price comparison.

Read the full story (in Dutch)

Business &Web Development &YouTellMe tschellenbach 08 Jun 2009 6 Comments

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