Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Re: Exploring epinions

Author:Naval Ravikant
Posted:9/18/1999; 12:10:15 AM
Topic:Exploring epinions
Msg #:11252 (In response to 10919)
Prev/Next:11251 / 11253


Thanks for coming by and taking a look at our site. We're constantly trying to improve by adding content and features, so frank feedback is always welcome.

Re: your searches - We've tried to focus on the 20% of products that account for 80% of the buying decisions. We link to professional content about those products, and that's a tedious manual job. However, it keeps the site from looking empty on day one.

Re: Weblogs and navigation - We're huge fans of weblogs over here, and you'll notice that we now have a "more" button after each "Just In" section that will show you the most recent reviews within any given category. Another (very popular) way to browse the content is by moving within the "web of trust" exposed in the reviewer biography pages.

In a sense, we apply the weblog concept to almost every page in the site. A weblog allows one to use a trusted author to cut through all of the noise on the web. In our system, you identify groups of trusted authors to cut through all of the noise in recommendation / opinion sites. There's less of a temporal aspect to our system, so we need a full taxonomy instead of a scrolling log, and the content is built by multiple, independent authors, so the trust mechanism is more sophisticated and more explicit.

We can use our system to build a dynamic weblog, in which anyone on the net can submit a link and commentary on any given day. Then, when you come to the site, your trusted weblog is automatically built according to your trusted weblog-maintainer list. Such a dynamic weblog is custom-tailored for each individual and doesn't require each weblog author to write every day.

Re: framing. This is unfortunately a necessary evil. We want to be able to gather the users' feedback on opinions outside of our site, so we know which links to present to them in the future or which ones to hide. Frames are better than popups, but both are intrusive. Perhaps we could have a button on the frame that, when clicked, records that you dislike frames and never uses them again for you. We could also have it as a preference setting in the account page. Of course, if all sites kept a globally-readable "prefs" file, we could read that and take the appropriate action.

Re: Ranking products via reliability, customer service, etc.. You'll notice in our review submission forms that we gather lots of quantitative data like this. We'll use it later to allow sorting and searching on those fields, but we need to fill out some more content first.

Re: Scripting - Not included for a number of reasons. It's free, so there's a lower cost of commitment for the user, and thus the user is less likely to do research. It's not very mass-market. We're also focused on consumer items right now. If someone does write a review on it using the generic submission form, then we'll file it into the appropriate part of the taxonomy and reveal it. Long term, we do need to move to a self-service product addition model.

There's more content showing up every day, so keep coming back, and let me know if you have any more suggestions.

Naval Ravikant

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