Movietally – keep track of movies you’ve watched

I Discovered MovieTally today (via eHub). It’s a real basic, neat little app that let’s you keep track of movies you watch and ones you want to see. I was thinking of something like this just last week as movies are a common/easy discussion starter around the water cooler and I always seem to forget what I’ve seen recently. By keeping an inventory, it will be much easier to remind myself.

Now, I’m not a Netflix user, so I imagine there’s something like this built-in to it? I know Blockbuster online had this, but who uses them (other than for the free trial anyway). And, of course there’s also IMDB which has some ability to make lists of movies.

As far as Movietally goes, I dig the basic idea, and see some potential there to be an extremely sticky and fun site. But, there needs to be a lot more data to seed the system. There is a very small amount of movies in there, requiring users to build the database. It would be a whole lot nicer if the data was already in there (movies, directors, actors, acresses, etc) making the search more effective and decreasing the amount of work a user has to do. Perhaps using IMDB data which is available (but maybe not free) would be good start. There are continuing rumors of an IMDB API too, and Movietally would be an excellent use case for it. But, who knows where that’s at? The tagging approach is ok, but tag suggestions (what other tags have people used) on the add page would be helpful. I wouldn’t mind seeing clean urls too, making it easily hackable.

Other reviews:
PostBubble sinks MovieTally, with a focus on the movie review aspect, which I barely took notice of in my first pass. Though the reviews could be valuable long-term, I looked at it as solving my problem with remembering what I’ve watched and hopefully finding some related movies to check out, which while minor, is still a pain-point.

MovieTally got written up by TechCrunch this week. Turns out it was built by a 15-year old. Nice work.


Goodbye Basecamp

Hello activeCollab. I’ve been wanting to have more projects in Basecamp for a while, but am extremely resistant to shelling out money on tools. Now, thanks to activeCollab, I don’t have to. I downloaded it earlier this week and was going to set it up on one of my domains, then I noticed that it was a one-click install on Dreamhost (affiliate). Even better! 5 minutes and it was ready to go.

Now, it’s not a complete clone with features such as writeboards (use writely) and time-tracking not there (a feature which I’ve yet to look at in basecamp), and I think basecamp feels a little smoother and more polished. But, I can sacrifice these if it means it’s FREE! (assuming you already have a hosting account or server). Check out Slacker Manager for more detailed comparison of the two

Now, here’s the thing, I’ve read comments defending the Basecamp business model, saying how activeCollab won’t make an impact because it’s not hosted and you have to install it. Well, in my opinion, with the one-click install path, it’s easier to get activeCollab up and running than signing-up for Basecamp. Plus you’ll have a full-fledged hosting account (which you can run other apps on), all for less than a Basecamp account. Finally, for the concerned corporate people, you can keep the app (and the data) behind the firewall.

As a side note, I feel myself tiring of 37signals. I generally like their apps and message (I bought the 10 seat Getting Real to share with co-workers) and I’ve been inspired in many ways by them. But, I thought this post was complete bullshit. I mean, it’s a freakin’ magazine cover. Misleading? Sure, but aren’t most? That’s how they get people to buy them. 37signals gets lots of press, but as soon as a Web 2.0ish article appears that doesn’t include them and includes companies not following their mantra of no VC, they have to get all pissy. Let the guys enjoy their press. Digg may not sell for $200 million now, but it’s surely big enough to make Rose a lot of money someday.


Jot sucks

It seems that Jot has removed our one page PDX Web Innovators wiki ( Why would they do such a thing? Becuase it suffered a major case of comment spam and that caused the page count to be exceeded for the free plan. Sounds reasonable? Well, I see a few problems here:

  1. The fact that it was so easily comment spammed
  2. The fact that comments are considered pages in their plans
  3. I could find no way to mass delete comments and I was not about to delete several hundred of them by hand.
  4. I replied to their automated warning (automated, but the from address was apparetnly an actual person, Michael Lee – [email protected]) about this issue and never got a response.

Even though this was just a temporary home until the group can build something, I am not happy with this outcome. Go use a competitor like PBWiki if you’re looking for a free hosted wiki.


Monetization happenings

Couple of interesting bits recently. First, looks like Google may be readying a CommissionJunction rival. I think that would be pretty cool. We haven’t had a lot of success with affiliate marketing on NetworthIQ (ok, actually zero success as in not a single conversion) through CJ. But, I don’t really blame that on them. It just hasn’t been a priority, so I haven’t done much research/tracking/experimenting, other than throwing a coupld LMB, ING, and Vonage ads up. However, it never hurts to have competition in the market.

Then we finally learned what Amigo is all about. Adsense for newsletters. Pretty simple, but one of those ideas that strike you as “hey, that’s pretty cool, hasn’t somebody done that already?” I’ll try to give it shot, especially now that we have over 1000 subscribers to our newsletter. Maybe this will be the motivation I need to actually send a newsletter consistently.

I took the bait (Google Spreadsheets is sweet)

I jumped at the Google Spreadsheets launch (more here) and wanted to share my first impressions. It sure gets the closest to Excel that I’ve seen so far. I was incredibly impressed. The editing, formuals and sheets functionality is very well done. You can even change sheets with CTRL-PgDn like in Excel, although if you have mutliple tabs open in Firefox it will change the sheet in your spreadsheet and then change tabs (so if you want to use this feature, make sure you have your spreadsheet in a single tab instance of Firefox). The only thing that I couldn’t find that I use regulary in Excel, was autofill.

Google’s office suite is rounding into good form. I’m now using Gmail, Google Calendar, and Spreadsheets. I’m sure I’ll use writely as well when the need arises (currently just have one document in Writeboard in Basecamp’s free plan).

Redfin making a comeback

They probably don’t think they ever really went away, but Zillow and Trulia stole most of their thunder. Being that Redfin was only for Seattle, I can see why nobody ever talked much about them. These guys were the pioneers though, in merging maps, listings and recent sales data. When it came out, I was just dying for something similar for Portland. I’m a real estate, map and data junkie, so this was just awesome. I’d love to work on something like that. The local brokerages’ stuff simply cannot compete with the robustness of these new mashups. And no, this does not count. Having to sign up so you can be harassed by an broker is not the same as having an open site.

Anyway, I see that Redfin is in the news again with a recent funding and plans to expand to other markets. They’re also expanding their services, including representing buyers and refunding 2/3 of the buyer’s broker’s commision. Wow! That’s huge. We just bought a house without a broker and got the whole commision reduced off the price, so I know how helpful this is.
Oh, and I loved this quote from TechCrunch:

(and that is based on relatively low Seattle home prices)

Are you joking? Now, I know Mr. Arrington lives in a very high priced area, and that’s where he’s getting the relative from. But relative nationally, Seattle is one of the most expensive places to live (Adam, great data master, correct me if I’m wrong) and I bet that most people in that area would get a good laugh out of that.

Web 2.0 Awards

I’ve talked before about tracking Web 2.0 and mentioned the following:

But, say I want to find the best calendar app with reviews, ratings, a screenshot, in a easy to navigate list. Where do I go to get that info?

I’d say the Web 2.0 Awards is pretty close to the answer to that question. The Web 2.0 awards is a beautiful list that has rated, ranked, and awarded the best of Web 2.0 sites across many categories.

Of course I also like it because NetworthIQ got an honorable mention in the “Business, Money, and eCommerce” category going up against some pretty big competition.

The other lists I mentioned before are still great going forward to keep an eye on new stuff and there’s still room for the type site with more user opinions, and tracking new features. But, we have to stop and admire the Web 2.0 awards for a while. Well done.

More on Ma.gnolia

I checked out Ma.gnolia today. First the good: groups and private bookmarks are nice and the UI is clean and simple. But, there is some bad, enough of which to keep me away for now. A few things really bug me:

1) The domain name is terrible (as mentioned previously).

2) The masked URLs are lame. Use some unobtrusive javascript or something to track clicks if you must. But, I’d really like to see the real link in the anchor tag, so I can easily right click and copy the url (should I want to). This is too obtrusive.

3) Build a firefox extension. Bookmarklets are ok, but an extension with quick access to adding, viewing, viewing popular, viewing tags, etc. makes it much easier to use a social bookmarking site.

So, it’s back to delicious for now, but if they keep at it, I’ll try it again later on.

I emailed them this same feedback and I got a response back from Todd Sieling, the product manager. Sounds like the domain name is here to stay. But, they may be open to changing the re-direct urls into something a little less obtrusive. Todd also reports that an API is on the way which may spur more tools/extensions. launch

Wow, I bet heads are rolling somewhere in Seattle today. launched today (more here), complete with $32 million and 75 employees, and what do we get for that? A nice big outage message. I’ll say it again, wow! $32 million and you can’t run a load test?

Zillow promises to be able value your home for you, which is an interesting idea. I’m in the middle of buying and selling a house so I was really excited to try it out. I managed to get in to value my house and Zillow valued it about 10% under what we just sold it for. But, considering the market these days, I don’t think that’s too terrible. With the lack of comps for our neighborhood, I doubt an agent would have done much better (we sold by owner). I didn’t get a chance to value the house I’m buying, but hopefully will soon, if they can come back online.

I will definitely keep an eye on it, though, because this would be a great tool for NetworthIQ users to be able to value their real estate. I wonder if Zillow will have an API at some point we could tie into?

It’s back up now. The house we’re buying comes up less than 1% under what we paid. Not bad. According to Zillow we’re selling for 10% more than our house is worth and buying for 1% more than the house is worth. Aren’t we the dealmakers 😉 (of course it never feels like it when you’re paying as much as houses cost these days)