Want to be in rotation on RIA's home page?

Hi, we're finalizing our V3 home page and will have a number of our top member's pics in rotation.

But here's the catch:

It needs to be a headshot, and you need to be a Top 500 RIA reviewer by helpful votes.

Big group photos and photos that are not you won't work for what we have in mind.

So if you want your mug in rotation on our home page, please change your profile picture to a headshot (of you), and shoot me a note.

It probably needs to be in the next 30 minutes or so.


Wrapping Up 2008

I hope everyone is enjoying a festive Holiday season. Here at RIA Global HQ, we are still heads down on V3, but are feeling mildly festive.

As we wrap up 2008, here are a few year end lists:

Sports Stories of 2008
Events of 2008
2008 Male Athlete
2008's Dead Celebrities
Things to Ditch in 2008
Number One Songs of 2008
Movies of 2008
2008 Knucklehead Athlete of the Year (aka "the Plaxicos")

There about 80 other lists of 2008 for those who want to rate the year out in style.


Get Your Leopard Themed Widgets

We made a change with our list widgets today.

Our friends at Musestorm, who had been powering our list widgets, have decided to go in another direction.

Enter our friends from Widgetbox, who have helpfully stepped in.

Now if you click on any of the "add this list to my blog!" links all over the site, you will see a Widgetbox tool.

If you already have a RateItAll list widget on your site, we will be providing instructions as to how to update it.

One of the unexpected, and pleasant, surprises associated with this change is that we now have a leopard themed widget.

These widgets work exactly the same way - there is an option for embed code (just like a YouTube video), and there are handy dandy buttons to add to Facebook, add to MySpace, etc. Take them for a whirl!


V3: Messaging 2.0

RateItAll currently has a messaging system that allows you to send and receive messages to and from other RateItAll members.

It's pretty lousy.

It uses pop-ups.

You can't track your sent messages.

The formatting is pretty tough on the eyes.

It tells you that you have new messages even when you've already read them.

Well, V3 is going to address these issues, and will finally give us a proper messaging system. Here are a couple of screenshots.

Here's a peek at the v3 message center:

And here's a look at a v3 message exchange:

I'm hopeful that along with some big new things, V3 will bring incremental improvement to a lot of basic things about the site.


V3: Your Activity is Your Profile

One of the subtle differences in V3 over the existing site is in how we treat profiles. On the current site, if you click on somebody's user name you get taken to a profile page that shows links to a user's activity, and stuff like "favorite music," "favorite books," etc.

The problem that I have with this page is that it's stagnant. Folks fill in their profiles once, and then forget about them. It makes for boring reading (with the exception of some of the embed stuff that folks have done to give their profile pages some flavor).

V3 is going to take a slightly different approach. When you click on a user's name, you will get taken directly to that user's activity stream. By using the filters, you'll be able to isolate that member's most recent activity in things like ratings, reviews, quizzes, comments, lists, etc.

In other words, you are what your activity says you are.

Of course, everyone's old profile format will still be available with things like embedded videos, testimonials, and the like - it's easy to toggle between a member's activity stream and their profile.


25 Great Holiday Presents You Can Buy Through RIA

As many of you have noticed, we've been working really hard at expanding our coverage of things to rate on RIA. In the process of doing the research to build out our DB, we have come up with a list of gift ideas of things that are not only just flat out awesome, but handily, available for purchase via a link from RateItAll.

Without further ado, here are 25 gift ideas for cool stuff that you can buy through RateItAll:

Amazon Kindle - it's like an iPod for books!
Flip MinoHD Digital Camcorder - incredibly small, affordable, easy to push video to YouTube
Canon Powershot A590IS Digital Camera - save 40%, only about $110
Women's Slippers - I bought a pair last year for Mrs. Magellan they were a big hit.
Bodum Chambord French Press - for the coffee snob
The new JK Rowling book - Harry Potter stuff, I guess
A snowblower - I have no idea why, but people buy a lot of snowblowers through us
Dark Knight DVD - One of the top selling products in America
Ugg Tall Boots - People love these things
The Twilight Soundtrack - flying off the shelves
Munchkin Mozart - top selling toddler toy
Bare Essentials BareMinerals Foundation - top selling cosmetic
Silpat Baking Mat - No stick thingy for pans, one of this year's top selling products
Logitech QuickCam Pro - best selling web cam
A Netbook! - Super small, super cheap laptops. I have one and love it.
A Messenger Bag - another item that I sort of collect.
An Ice Cream Maker - mmmmmm.... ice cream
GPS Device - makes driving directions easy, Garmin Nuvi is top seller
Apple iPod Touch - Music, photos, wifi.... nice (if only it had a camera!)
A book by Stephanie Meyer - not my thing, but they are wildly popular
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - dude has a cult following
Paul Krugman's Return of Depression Economics - A nice uplifting Holiday read
Night Vision Infrared Goggles - Badass
Scene it? Seinfeld - Seinfeld trivia board game for adults

I think that's 25 - hope that that was useful.


We've Gone Stats Crazy - Part Three

In the third, and likely final, installment of our "we've gone stats crazy" series, I'm going to show you a third way that V3 is stats heavier than V2.

We will be giving logged in users daily updates of accumulations of helpful / funny / agree / disagree votes.

Check it out.

As mentioned in earlier posts, there will also be other ways to see how you rank against the day's top performers.

We've Gone Stats Crazy - Part Two

Along with the local leaderboards covered in the previous post, V3 will bring with it a significantly beefed up Hall of Fame page that will allow you to track top users in various time periods (day, week, month, year, forever) in the following categories:

Helpful Votes
Funny Votes
Disagree Votes
Agree Votes
Most Followers
Most Reviews
Most Total Contributions

We will also display exactly where the logged in user ranks in each category for each time period in relation to each of the respective leaders.

For those of us who are a bit competitive about this stuff, this should be a big step up. Here's a screenshot (it's running off incomplete data, so don't take these rankings as gospel):

(btw, I'm tagging all v3 related posts with the clever tag "v3" for easy access)


We've Gone Stats Crazy - Part One

One of the things I'm really looking forward to in V3 is the ability to track top reviewers in hundreds of different categories.

Currently, we have one Hall of Fame, which tracks cumulative helpful votes across all categories.

What we are doing with V3 - in addition to maintaining a beefed up Hall of Fame (more on this to follow) - is tracking top reviewers (by number of helpful votes), in hundreds of different categories and sub-categories, by different time periods like day, week, month, and forever.

For example, with V3, you will be able to tell who the top rated Sports reviewer is, or on a more granular level, who the top rated boxing reviewer is (my bet is professional boxing writer Randyman). You'll also be able to see who the top rated Politics reviewer is (guesses?), or action figure reviewer, or music reviewer, or reggae reviewer, or travel reviewer, or pets reviewer - get the picture?

For example, here is a screenshot of the Beer sub-category page of V3. You'll note that this sub category page has it's own "river" of recent reviews (like the recent reviews page, but just for beer), as well as a module in the sidebar that shows who are the top rated reviewers of Beer by day, week, month, and forever.

While I don't expect this particular category to be very competitive - word has it Magellan plans on running away with this one - perhaps there will be other categories where others will shine. I mean, we're all experts in something, right?


Flagging Reviews in V3

A feature that people have been asking for forever, that we're finally going to be adding is the ability to flag reviews that violate the site rules. When V3 launches, it will be easy for RIA members to bring inappropriate reviews to our administrators' attention. Here's a pic:


See Me Interviewed

Hey guys, I was recently interviewed by Search Engine World - in this ten minute clip, I talk a lot about what we're trying to do with V3. Those of you that have played with the demo site will probably see a lot of what I talk about reflected in the new site:


Fun Article about RateItAll from Providence Journal

We stumbled across this article today from the Providence Journal - it basically takes a look at how Rhode Island stacks up against other states in the RateItAll State Rankings.