Closing out 2007

I hope that everyone is having a safe and joyful holiday season. I've been more or less unplugged for a few days, eating too much and spending time with family. It's been great.

But now it's time to get back to work.

You may have noticed that we've been featuring some 2007 lists on the home page - I think that we're just scratching the surface on what can be done here. If you have some ideas as to some themes that might make good lists capturing aspects of the year that was 2007, now's the time to push them out into the world. If they're good enough, we'll put them on the home page.


Name this movie

We get tons of feedback messages at RateItAll. TONS. Occasionally, we get requests like this:

You may help me with my search. I am now 63 years old and I saw a movie (drama?) in the second half of the 50´s or all along the 60´s but I do not remenber the name of the movie, the actors etc. The only thing I remember is part of the story. At a certain time of the movie one man is given as dead by a train accident. However the autorities were wrong because this man himself saw in a newspaper his name as the one who died. He did not say anything to the autorities and his family which thought he realy was dead. He never show up again to his family and start being a beggar. Afterwords the christmas season is coming and at the christmas eve he came to his house but did not knock at the door. One of the sons saw him through the window and came out asking to the beggar if he had no family and if he wants to join them inside, without recognize him as his father. This is what I remember from the movie. I understand it is very dificult to help me with only this description but could you try? It is a very emotional movie. I appreciate a lot.

Thank you

Can anybody help this person out? MA Duron?


Widgets and Apps

Most of the RIA regulars know by now that I'm pretty obsessed with widgets and the fragmentation of the web. I even write a blog devoted to widgets. In the world of RIA, this widget obsession means doing whatever I can to make sure that RIA content and functionality can be enjoyed not just on RateItAll.com, but all over the web - on social networking sites like Facebook, on blogs, and on any other site with a social component.

Over the past year or so, we've started putting together the tools to make this happen. I've taken a shot at summarizing all of the different tools available on RateItAll that allow you to enjoy RateItAll on other websites. Check out this summary of RateItAll widgets.


Wrapping Up the Redesign

We're just about done tightening up the redesign. The Google ads have been added back to the profile pages (for all of you participating in the RateItAll Economy), and we've made it through our entire list of tweaks.

The always politically correct GoinDownSlow has nicknamed this redesign the "Queer Eye Makeover" - and I'd have to agree. The Fab 5 themselves couldn't have done a better job.

If anybody else sees anything that's broken, now is the time to bring it up. We're just about to move on to the next big project.


Darker Font, TIghter Design - So Fresh and So Clean

Based on your feedback, we darkened the font, fixed some typos, and generally tightened up the design. I'm pretty happy with it.

Real Time Reviewer Rankings in Three Hour Blocks

One of the things I REALLY like about the new home page is the ability to see which reviewers are hot at any given moment. If you look at the reviewers module, you are seeing a real time ranking during the last three hours of which reviewers have posted the most ratings, scored the most helpful votes, and notched the most funny votes.

The order goes like this:

1 2
3 4
5 6

So in the current snapshot, new user SecondRoad11 is leading the last three hours activity rate. Clicking through to his / her profile shows that they have posted 141 ratings. Want the top spot in real time? Rate more than 141 things.

SecondRoad11 is leading GTH (#2 for this time block), Twansalem, and AngryJed.

And that's just for rating activity. You can also check out helpful and funny leaders for the current time block. Refresh the page and the rankings may be different - again, this module updates in real time.

A little competition never hurt anybody. The obvious next step here is to blow out everybody's personal stats so that they can get a day by day breakdown of new votes for their reviews.

Font Color Update

I'm hearing your feedback on the link color being a little painful on the eyes. We are going to moving to this shortly:

Tighten Up - Tweaking the New Design


Here's our tweak list for today. If you see anything else on the site that needs to be fixed and isn't already on the list, please post it in the comments:

Most Urgent
  • Fix the search box - it's not working on any page except for the home page (FIXED)
  • We're going to make the orange links a bit darker site wide (the designer will provide us with the RGB code for the style sheet)
  • Caching on Browse Tags isn't working. The page consistently times out. Let's just hardcode this page as for now
Home Page
  • We need to align the right side of the testimonial exactly with the right side of the gray nav bar.
  • Home Page Typo: News and Tips: should be "Adding Background Images to Display Widgets" (we're missing the "g")
Sub-Home Pages
  • get rid of "trusted recommendations box (and text)" on sub-home pages
  • left align category names (e.g. Computers and Internet) with subject names (e.g. Web Site Directory) (do this for the whole index on this page)
  • "Topic Categories" needs to be height aligned with the top of the first module in the left sidebar
Category Pages
  • left align subject names with topic names (again, do this for the whole page)
  • "Browse Category Name" needs to be height aligned with the top of the first module in the left sidebar and left aligned with the Category intro / description (if there is one)
Subject Pages
  • Let's get rid of the yellow alert box and text that says "get trusted recommendations"
  • Let's height align the top of the Subject Tilte with the top of the first module in the left sidebar
Topic Page
  • Align Topic Titles with Topic Descriptions
  • On the topic page, let's get rid of the yellow box around the "Add this list to your MySpace page" and "Speed Rate" - but let's keep the links. Just get rid of the box.
  • on the topic page, get rid of the space between the bottom of the line of google links (belwo the description), and the line of text where the yellow box was)
  • The icons disappeared in the "actions" box
  • We need to reduce the width of the musestorm widget on the topic page below the list, so that it right aligns with the list
Item Page
  • Yahoo Maps are misaligned (local items)
  • Align Item titles with Item descriptions
  • On the item page, let's right align the review box with the gray description box
  • We need to left align the "reviews of item name" (on the item page) text above the reviews, with the rest of the column's content
  • The ratings breakdown graph is not showing up on the item pages
Multiple Pages
subhome / cat / sub / topic / item: Top Left Google ad module needs another line or two of whitespace after breadcrumb (for logged in users only - not logged in see the RIA intro box)
Recent Comments Page
align content to width of header on recent comments page
Breadcrumb Navigation
I'd like to make the breadcrumb navigation at the top of every page, black
we need a line of whitespace above the breadcrumb navigation below the nav bar
New additions page: right aligment of boxes need to match header
about us: let's get rid of Hottest Topics / Hottest Weblists (i assume this is why the about us page is so slow)


Search is Broken - Except on Home Page

Jose the super intern just noticed that the search box isn't working on pages other than the home pages. This will be our first fix Monday AM.


Rolling in the new design at about 4PM PST

Guys, in the next 15 minutes or so we're going to be dropping in the new home page and adjusting the style sheet for the rest of the pages. Things could be a tad ugly over the weekend. Please send all feedback and things you see that are screwed up to me.


A Sneak Peek at the New Home Page

This page has been a real bear to get to load fast, because it's crunching a lot of data. It tells what lists people are rating, what items people are rating, who is rating the most, who is getting the most helpful and funny votes are... and more. And all in three hour increments, so it's fresh data all the time. It's a real snapshot of what - and who - is hot in the world of RIA at any one time. It's like the recent comments page on steroids (no, not THOSE steroids).

Here's the new home page. We're going to make a few final tweaks tomorrow and hopefully roll it out.

Performance might be a little dicey this morning

Trying to battle through getting the site ready for the new home page.


New Home Page Coming

So we're finally getting close to implementing the new home page we've been working on for a while. The current home page is OK, but it's too stale. That whole big yellow bar at the top never changes.

With RateItAll cranking out so much useful data in terms of what's hot at any one moment, it seemed a shame not to build this sort of info into a fresh, constantly updated home page.

So here goes - I'm going to share the various components of the new page, and take a shot at explaining what everthing does.

This is the new nav bar. As you can see, we have pretty much all of the key links (recent reviews, tags, topics, local) all spread across the nav. There's no shortcuts on the new nav bar, but pretty much all of the shortcut links are built into the nav itself.

And here's my favorite part of the new page. Here we have raw data being crunched, with plenty of tabs to take different views. In the "Hot Lists" section, you can check out which RIA and member lists are being rated in real time. The Featured Lists are set by admins, but now allow you to see ten instead of five by toggling the "older." And finally, the Hottest Items section shows which items are getting rated the most at any given time. The tabs let you filter by a couple of categories.

On the right hand side of the new home page, we've added an ad block (we may replace this with a testimonial - revenue shmevenue). We've also added a local directory module as well. The best part about this feature is that you can customize it to your city by clicking the "not your city?" link.

And this is my other favorite part of the new page. In this reviewers tab, you can see which reviewers are most active, most helpful, and funniest TODAY. Fresh data. So if you write a bunch of quality reviews and get some helpful votes, this is a way for you to show up on the home page. This module also lets you see the newest reviewers (who have added a pic).

Finally, at the bottom of the home page, we have a new section called News & Tips. This section feeds headlines in right from the blog so you'll always know if there are new posts without having to go to the blog. There's also a Tips & Resources which display static links to useful sections for newbies.

I'm hoping we're going to be able to push this live by the end of the week. For a little while at least, we'll leave the old home page accessible so people can get used to the new look gradually.

For the moment, none of the other pages will change, except for the new nav bar which will apply to all pages.

More on Making Money with RateItAll

Some of us are starting to make some decent money on RateItAll via the RateItAll Economy Program, just for doing what we were doing anyway - making lists, adding items to other people's lists, and writing reviews. My personal account is now getting a check every couple of months from Google for more than $100.

Yesterday, I posted a series of reviews sharing my tips for how to maximize earnings. These reviews can be found within the Maximizing Revenue list.

From my experience, the two best ways to make money on RateItAll are by 1) Building quality lists; and 2) Adding high profile items to existing lists.

Both in these activities result in a 50% ad rotation share on the pages you contribute.

In terms of lists, it's all about getting Google to notice the list, and send it traffic. Here are the important things in making this happen:

1) Link to your lists from other sites. If you have a blog or MySpace page, make sure to link directly to your lists using the proper keywords in the link itself. For example, if I was promoting the list Dog Food Brands on my blog, I'd want to make sure to link to the list using the appropriate words: in this case: Dog Food Ratings

I wouldn't want to link like this: check out my list about dog food. The words "my list" doesn't describe the page, and make it harder for Google to know when to display your list as a search result.

2) Use the list widgets on your blogs or profile pages. These list widgets send both traffic, and give you links.

3) Write unique content for your list descriptions, and individual item descriptions (with generous use of the list / item's keywords). If you don't write your descriptions, your list will appear to Google to be too similar to every other list page, and not worthy of sending search traffic to.

4) Title your lists and items appropriately. If your list is about country music songs, call it "Best Country Songs of All Time" - don't call it "Stuff You'd Hear at the Farm." If you use colloquial language, Google will have no way to figure out what the page is really about. Try and title your lists and items with words that people are actually searching for.

5) Seed your lists with reviews. This gets to the unique content mentioned in item 3. Also, items with reviews are much more likely to attract more reviews - making it that much more likely that Google will send you traffic.

6) Target niches. The serious web publishers try and target verticals for which there is an ad market.

Remember, lists that duplicate other lists will often be put on "invisible" mode. Be creative, create unique resources, write unique content, and send your pages external links when possible.


This Makes me Happy

I noticed today that our list of current actors has two listings for Christian Bale. The amazing thing? They both have the exact rating of 3.47. There's something to this whole wisdom of the crowd thing.

Adding Music to Weblists

I'd been hearing about this music site called Imeem for a while. It's a site that lets you upload your music and share it with others. They have a massive user base, and by association, a massive library of music.

My understanding is that they have almost as much music as iTunes. While you can't download the tracks, you can stream them (play them). Furthermore, the record labels are on board, so it's totally legal.

Even better, they offer widgets for any of the songs in their database. Just like how YouTube lets you post videos onto your sites, Imeem lets you paste songs - on your RateItAll profile and in your Weblists.

So for all of those Weblists about songs, there is now a reliable way to build songs into Weblists. I've set up a list of some of my favorite songs here.

Of course, on RateItAll, you can also add songs to other people's Weblists by clicking the "add description" link on any item that doesn't already have a description. So we can help each other to build out our lists.

To add Imeem tracks to any weblist, item page, or profile page, here's what you do:

1) Join Imeem.com
2) Search for the band or track you want (filter by "music")
3) Copy the embed code
4) Paste it into 1) a field on your profile page; 2) an item page on your weblist, or 3) an item page on somebody else's list.


So now we have people building cool lists with photos (here and here), cool lists with video (here and here), and cool lists with music.

I love the Internet.
Here's a cool old song called Take a Picture from a band called Filter.


Planetary Gear's Weblists

If you want to see some fantastic weblists, check out Planetary Gear's recent lists: optical illusions, the Works of Rene Magritte, and his Life Cubed list on the paintings of Pablo Picasso.

PG uses HTML to add full sized photos to his pages - talking about making full use of the tool.


Back in Business

Site is back up and functioning normally. All data through 1AM today has been preserved and backed up.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Database Update

.... site will be down for a few minutes.

- OK, step one of two is done. We're still going to have a little more downtime though. Please don't post any reviews until we've finished the last step.

Urgent: Database Backup - Action Required

We are going to be reverting to the RateItAll database that existed as of 1AM this morning. This means that anything posted to the site since 1AM will be permanently deleted.

Please back up anything that you've posted since 1AM that you would like to post.

Sorry for the inconvenience.