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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Buzz Page - new screen

Another new page, this time the buzz area of the site where you can explore a range of fun stuff regarding the buzziest products for particular tags, most active users, most commented on products, least active products, and so forth.

We are also introducing a range of widgets and tools which you can use to help explore products further, such as a slider bar-tastic function for playing with no. of comments, no. of recommendations, and buzz scores to get it to churn out products matching those criteria. This one is best to see in action :-)

Bottom line - if you've no idea at all what to buy then this page is great fun to explore and see what is buzzy.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Want to join the Crowdstorm startup team?

Yep - that's right. We're looking for entrepreneurial individuals who want to get involved with something potentially big and exciting, while we are still in the early stages. Start-Ups have pro's and con's so you need to be aware of those before getting in touch - but one thing we can guarantee is the opportunity to play a role in shaping the new web 2.0 and working alongside me and Chris who have made a success of things before. We're even quite generous with team members down the pub :-)

We're always after really good people and specifically looking in the following areas:

  • Marketing - do you know how to generate word of mouth and "buzz" about products and businesses without a massive budget? Can you identify all the opportunities for communicating what we do to the world at large and how we benefit customers? Have you had experience about building a userbase before and retaining people?

  • Commercial - are you familiar with setting up and building revenue streams for internet based ventures? Do you have experience with speaking to product brands and creating innovative deals that you can close?

If these sound interesting to you, then why not get in touch with me direct: "philip.wilkinson@crowdstorm.com" and we can talk more.

Trust me - it'll be a storm!

Our new logo!

Well I think this is the final one after going through about 25 different versions! We really like the two shades of blue and the gradient texture that has been applied to it. Also, the lightning bolt is quite funky and plays a roll in the site for "points" and recommendations.

Right now we're also coding up the site with our new designs, getting ready for our upcoming beta launch. Both Chris and I can't wait to get this thing live and start building the community and our own team.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Kicking up a crowdstorm!

Check out a post about us on the Mashable blog by Pete Cashmore. As he said, we should continue to work on some distributed features to let users take content and put it on their own sites.

I'd definitely recommend Pete's blog by the way, if you're interested in keeping up with web 2.0 businesses and trends.

Monday, May 15, 2006

What is Buzz?

Buzz is the net effect of activity and recommendations on an individual product. Lots of actions can generate buzz such as viewing a product, blogging it, writing a comment, and many other factors. The net effect is that good products propagate to the top of the listings while bad one deservedly fall off the end. The crowd works out the best products on the market!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

and another...

Ok - one more...

These are the products with the most "buzz" around them based on user recommendations, views, comments, blogs, and so forth...

(note: you will notice the design is slightly different again here but that's because we are going through many different iterations before settling on the final design.)

A sneak preview of the new site

Well, this was about two weeks ago and although it has evolved even more since the screenshot below - it gives you a good idea of the feel and usability styles.

This particular screen is a "product details" page which has the most information about a product, with ALL the data entered by our users.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Team Buying - "Tuangou"

A new shopping craze has sprung up in China which embraces the direction Social Shopping is heading in and really starts to show some of the power behind it.

"Tuangou" is where a group of people use the internet combined with flash mob stealth tactics in order to meet up somewhere offline and drive hard bargains at an agreed store.

Imagine 15-20 shoppers congragating on a single store for the exact same LCD TV screen - how could they not give everyone a discount in order to get the 15+ sales!  Genius.

Our site Crowdstorm will offer similar group buying or team buying experiences over time.  After all, if a large group of people are buzzing around a group product - who better to organise the best deal for you than us :-)

You can read the full article on this at:
this site

Monday, May 01, 2006

The problem with price comparison sites

It has always been the case that shoppers have been expected to know what they want when it comes to buying online. Searches and navigation have always been geared around typing the exact product name in or refining by brand and general item characteristics. Price comparison sites are very useful tools when you want to find the cheapest prices and where to buy the product you actually want, but they are hopeless in helping you browse around.

I often see bookshops as a really good example of how to try to help people find what to buy as it is not often someone enters these places knowing exactly what they want. As soon as you enter a bookshop, you see a large section dedicated to "bestsellers" to see what are popular with other people right now. You will also see a "just released" area where you could find something new and exciting which no one has really discovered yet and thus be one of the first. "Editors Picks" are there to give you some encouragement that a known expert has rated those particular books and help justify your decision to purchase. After that, you can then choose to browse by topic or author in the rest of the shop.

This fascinates me as you see it all the time across the web anywhere there is a large amount of content or range of products that you need to encourage people to find something they like within. Often you also bring judgements and perceptions to bear on the problem from your own individual experience. In the case of the bookshop, I will be thinking about books I have seen advertised elsewhere, reviews I may have read where a magazine or expert rated it, and any recommendations from my friends. I will use all of these to help me browse and find something that I think may interest me.

So, if you take all of the factors above as key in helping you find what you want - then the real question is "why would you only ever care about something that showed you the best price?"