If you haven't checked out Ridge's Nano Weblist, you should probably do so. Exhaustively researched and educational, this list provides an excellent overview of some of the amazing things that are being done with Nanotechnology.


Looking for a few good testers

The RateItAll redesign is now lurching towards completion. I will most likely be opening up a closed, password protect beta of the new site some time next week, and I'd like some help trying to break it.

Anyone interested in testing the new RateItAll should send me an email to lawrence AT rateitall.com with the title, "RateItAll Redesign."

Please make sure to include your RateItAll user name - for now, I'll only be accepting RIA regulars as testers.

A couple of cool Weblists

Monopoly Spaces from Geog84

Famous Bridges from caphillsea77

Locations of Legend and Mystery from Djahuti


Got Facial Hair?

If so, do you want some feedback?

Then submit yourself on this Weblist from Numbah.

Annoying Little Bugs

We've been slow on the bug fixing recently, as I've been trying to stay focused on getting the redesign up.

That doesn't mean I'm not paying attention though. Here's some things that I'd like to see fixed:

- Everytime I resubmit or edit a comment, all my helpfuls go away
- Whenever I hit "submit" on a new Weblist, my Weblist description gets erased.
- The ratings scale for a Weblist itself (ie when you rate a Weblist itself), is populated by the ratings scale OF the Weblist. This is wrong. It should be a simple 5 = great, 1 = terrible scale.
- The local filter on the recent comments page isn't working
- If I visit the local home page and then leave RateItAll, when I return to RIA I show up on local.

Anybody have other ones that they'd like to add to this list? hmmm... maybe I should make a Weblist for these....


Spam and Errors

We're under attack from another spammer who is submitting thousands of bogus "suggestions" to Weblist publishers and RateItAll. This guy's address is:


If you'd like to report him as a spammer to Yahoo, you can do so here.

Here is his site:


It's a typical, bogus, Adsense spam site. It steals content from other sites and slaps Adsense on its pages to try and make money. It then spams other web site looking for links, so it can rank in the search engines.

If you'd like to report this site as spam to Adsense, you can do so here.

Anyway, the thousands of bogus "suggestions" that this guy auto-submits is sporadically choking our mail server. This is resulting in error messages when RateItAll reviewers try and send messages to each other through the site.

These errors are due to the RateItAll server not being able to send an alert to the recipient of the message - the good news is that the personal messages are being delivered via RateItAll to the recipient. The bad news is that the recipient is not receiving an email alert.

We're working on solutions to better screen these vandals from hitting the site.


Filters vs. Authority, Signal vs. Noise

I've referenced in recent posts about how a natural side effect of RateItAll's growth has been the increase of noise - content which is either 1) lousy and uninteresting (e.g. a review of President Bush that says "He Sucks!!!!") or 2) not of interest to the reader (e.g. sports reviews and Kamylienne).

This issue is not just a RateItAll issue - it's something that's happening all over the Web, as sites start to do what RateItAll has been doing since 1999 - open up publishing tools to their visitors, and as blogs proliferate.

Well, there's a heated debate among experts in this field about what the best way is to handle this explosion of content and noise. There seem to be four primary strategies that people are recommending:

1) Control and Administrative Authority. Under this model, some centralized authority is responsible for quality control on all content on a Web site. Publishing tools, if even available, are extremely limited, and overall quality is kept very high. This approach is typical of many of the giant media companies of today - the so called Main Stream Media, or in my jargon, the Web 1.0.

2) Self Restraint. There's a very smart guy named Seth Godin who believes that publishers who want to preserve their personal brand in an environment of exploding content will need to show restraint, and publish less, but with a higher hit rate of quality content.

3) Community Authority / Wisdom of the Crowds. This is often equated with the "Web 2.0" approach. Give your online community the tools to decide what content is most compelling, and based on the community's decision, give the highest rated content the most airplay.

4) Filters. Provide members of your community with tools that lets them focus in on content that is of interest to them. An example of this would be the RateItAll Recommendation Engine, which filters RateItAll's database of reviews by self-selected networks of trusted reviewers. Under this model, everyone sees something different. For a good discussion of filters, see this post by Scott Karp.

Exploding content, to the scale which we're seeing it today, is a brand new problem. Nobody really knows how it's going to turn out, and if you read any of the recent comments on this blog, there are very strong feelings about it, both from site administrators and participants.

My personal feeling is that I believe very strongly in items #3 and #4 - a focus on community based tools and filters to A) try and automate things so that the community determines which content gets the most airplay; B) Allows each person to customize their site experience so that they see the stuff that they are most likely to be interested in.

But I also see the value in some human, administrative intervention to highlight content that would otherwise get lost. That is why tools such as Featured Comment have not gone away, and why we'll be introducing similar features such as Featured Reviewers and Best of RateItAll.

The risk of relying on community based tools to determine airplay, as Kamy has pointed out, is that everything gets reduced to the lowest common denominator. In RateItAll, that would mean that President Bush and Britney Spears would be featured every day, because that's where most of the traffic is. That means that a lot of interesting, quality stuff gets lost in the noise.

That's it. It's not a black and white case, and there is still plenty of room for debate on this issue.

But from my perspective, I can tell you with a lot of confidence that what you are going to see on RateItAll is an emphasis on community based tools that enable collective decision making by the RateItAll community, and the provision of filters that lets each RIA member customize their own experience on the site.

I think this approach best suits the soul of the site, and I believe that we are just scratching the surface in terms of neat features that will let people find what they want and what they didn't even know they wanted - both in terms of reviews, and other reviewers.

As always, stay tuned as this is a work in progress....


Big Monday?

I'm hoping that those of you participating in the RateItAll Economy program had a good day today. The site had an exceptional day in terms of overall traffic and network wide CPM.

There's a variety of factors that will influence your earnings through the Google Adsense / RateItAll Economy program. The three primary factors are:

  1. Traffic (known as impressions in your Adsense reports)
  2. Subject Matter (a list about digital cameras will earn a higher earning per click than one about Britney Spears)
  3. Market for Online Advertising (how much advertisers are willing to pay to appear on Google's ad network)
Items #1 and #2 are somewhat in your control. Finding the proper balance between a profitable niche and a high traffic niche is a challenge. Remember - one click from a quality niche can be worth 100 clicks from an unprofitable one.

As we get deeper into this program, I'll be sharing more tips and advice as to how to optimize your RateItAll Economy earnings.

And a word of advice: everyone participating in this program should pay extra special attention to the Google Adsense Terms and Conditions.


Well it seems like some enterprising spammer has written a script to auto submit new site "suggestions" to one of RateItAll's categories.

So if anyone feels like sending an email to nataly2005@gmail.com to try and sell her prescriptions, online poker rooms, mortgages, feel free.

Here's a screenshot of a few of the hundreds of spammy submissions added by nataly2005.

Damn spammers try and break everything. Get a real job, folks. Like telemarketing or drug dealing or something. Oh yeah, many of you ARE drug dealers.

Because of bozos like this, eventually we'll have to add one of those annoying "captcha" things where you have to decipher some handwritten letters before submitting. Argh.

RateItAll Rising

The graph below is compliments of Alexa and shows what RateItAll's traffic looks like over the past few years.

Our growth has been steady - I think, because the more people that use the site, the better it gets.

But with growth also comes problems. While there are more quality posts, there is also more noise.

So the question becomes, how do we make it easier for our members to find the good stuff?

Well we're working on a bunch of new features to make this happen, with our recommendation engine at the heart of it all. My hope is that by giving people the power to choose their own trusted networks, we are in essence giving them a filter to isolate the opinions that they find most valuable and entertaining.

When the redesign launches (targeting April 1), I think you'll see the recommendation engine play a more prominent role on the site.

Going forward, we will look to roll in better and more sophisticated tools to facilitate introductions with folks whose opinions you might value. Stay tuned.

Congrats to Genghis the Hun...

... on being the first to have 100 RateItAll reviewers add him to their trusted network.


Album Covers

m.a. duron has built a list of more than 100 top album covers from pop and rock. Pictures have been added for most of them. This list is worth a look.


Speaking Engagement in Boston

I'm going to be speaking at an Internet conference called Pubcon in Boston. The conference runs April 18-20, and Malcolm Gladwell, author of "The Tipping Point" (and one of my favorite writers) is the keynote speaker.

I'm speaking about social networking, online community, Web2.0 and all that good stuff.

But what I'm looking forward to more than Pubcon is a talk that I'm giving on April 17. My grandmother lives just outside of Boston and has invited me to give a presentation about the rise of Google to her retirement community.

I can't wait to get a glimpse of her generation's take on Google and the Internet in general... I'll definitely report back on what I learn.


RateItAll Economy - February Earnings

Some cash earnings from the RateItAll Economy program are being posted HERE. RateItAll Economy participants should feel free to add their own earnings to this list.

I'm encouraged so far... we haven't even integrated revenue sharing on actual reviews yet, and people are making money. We're working very hard to include reviews themselves into this program - the plan is to launch a review rebuttal feature simultaneously through which people can debate specific reviews. So, when each review has it's own url, we'll be able to serve Google advertisements "belonging" to the reviewer on those specific pages. We're a couple weeks away, but it's coming.

There's some good stuff on the horizon folks, and I'm hopeful that in the not so distant future, hundreds, if not thousands of RateItAll reviewers will at least be making enough to pay for their monthly Internet connection.