Zapd Bridges the Gap between Blogs and Tweets

Local web developer Kelly Smith and his crew simplify the art of online commentary.

Two distinct classes currently inhabit the world of online commentary. There are the bloggers, who slave over their computers in order to churn out editorial content. On the other end of the spectrum lie Tweeters, whose terse remarks and observation can be whipped up and posted at a moment’s notice. Thanks to Zapd, the new iPhone app from Seattle-based web developer Inkd, there is now some middle ground.

Zapd fills the niche for those who wish to share brief observations throughout the day, but with a little more structure and coherence than Twitter’s 140-character limit affords them. Inkd founder Kelly Smith explains that, in this golden age of technology, our primary gadgets (i.e. phones, laptops and tablets) all enable us to communicate with each other.

“We knew that whatever we did, we had to correctly accommodate this tri-device world that we live in,” Smith said, citing strong iPad sales as the impetus behind this philosophy. “What’s cool about this is that, however people use Zapd, the experience is completely optimized for that device.”

The result is essentially a ‘status update’ app is seamlessly interchangeable between portable devices. Once an account has been created, clients may post updates (known as ‘Zaps’) and embellish them with photos, texts and hyperlinks. Smith says the ability to share video content should be available soon.

Not surprisingly, Zapd has generated a huge buzz. It was the most downloaded new iPhone app during the month of April, with more than 250,000 consumers adding it to their mobile devices. For this reason, Zapd was featured as the iTunes Store’s ‘App of the Week’ — an honorable distinction in the world of downloadable software. Best of all, Zapd doesn’t cost a thing.

Success with web-based endeavors is nothing new for Smith. He has been developing online programs since the mid-90’s, when he cut his teeth with a Seattle-based company named Spry. In late 1994, Smith went to work for Real Networks (known then as Progressive Networks), where he worked for five years.

Following his departure from Real Networks, Smith took on the role of entrepreneur. His first company, Rocket Vox, was an early forefather to YouTube. Next came Image Kind, an online marketplace for local artists that Smith co-founded with Seattle Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer. Shortly afterward, CaféPress acquired Image King and Smith launched Inkd. This company is currently headquartered downtown.

Smith ultimately hopes that Zapd will add some credibility to Seattle’s Web development scene, adding that most notable internet-based companies have gotten their start in Silicon Valley.

“Seattle has a reputation for building big, traditional software companies,” he explained. “We don’t have a lot of really huge consumer names like Twitter. I’d like to see Zapd continue to grow in this trajectory, and it would be the first of its kind to come out of the Pacific Northwest.”

If you’d like to ‘Add a Zap’ today, simply visit the iTunes store — Zapd can be found near the top of the ‘What’s Hot’ list.