Dreams of RateItAll

We get a lot of unusual fanmail to RateItAll. We've gotten hand written reviews of products mailed in from Mississippi. We often get notes asking us to "Tell Oprah" this, or "Please tell President Bush to call me." We've gotten cases of energy drinks from marketers confused about who is doing the reviewing.

This one came in this morning, and I thought it was worth sharing. Apparently, a particular RIA reviewer has RIA on the brain so much that it is infected his / her dreams. Here it is:

I had a really weird dream last night that RIA got so huge that they opened up a really swanky hot spot called "The RIA Lounge" in Los Angeles.

It was basically this huge club. It looked almost like a night-club but it was multi-storied and it served food and was open all day. It almost felt like a casino. The whole point was people and companies would petition RIA to allow them to leave their products lying around inside so that patrons could come in, play with them, and then either go home and rate them or rate them right there in the club on the laptops and computers that other companies left inside for the same purpose: exposure, hype, excitement, etc.

Even chefs (up-and-coming and well-established, alike) would take turns churning out the food so that people could rate that as well. There was a huge stage on the top floor in an area that resembled the Palms club in Vegas, where only the coolest new bands would play -- also to get ratings, etc. People couldn't get enough.

Anyway, I showed up one weekend and RIA put me in charge of explaining to patrons what this one product was. Turns out it's pretty hard to explain. But basically, the product was this software program that put people in various scenes. The way it worked was, there were video cameras and monitors planted throughout the club. As people walked around the club, the video cameras put them on the screens -- but the backdrops wouldn't be RIA's club; instead they would be different scenes from around the world. In one, you might see yourself surrounded by tribespeople in the amazon, walking right in step with you through the jungle. In another you'd be in a sea of British redcoats marching in time down a city street. The way the software worked was pretty cool -- the lighting, etc., was perfect so you wouldn't even stand out from the scene were it not for your clothing. It was bizarre, but that was just one of the many cool gadgets that you could check out at this place. And then you'd go and rate it.

Really bizarre.
Bizarre indeed.

Please keep the fanmail coming.

How come you can't subscribe to a city from the new home page?

We are still digesting feedback on the new home page. Our new registrations were up noticeably yesterday, which I think is a good sign, and which was sort of the whole point - let people play with the site a bit before forcing them to register.

One bit of feedback that we've heard a couple of times:

"How come I can't subscribe to a local directory / city from the new home page?"

The short answer is because we haven't yet hooked up a visitor's geolocation to the site yet. Once we do that, it will be an easy thing to offer each visitor the opportunity to subscribe to reviews of bars, restaurants, and businesses from their home town.

But just because you can't subscribe to your home town from the home page doesn't mean the functionality doesn't exist.

Here's how to add reviews from your home town to your River:

1) Drill down to find your home town's directory on RateItAll - for example, here is the San Francisco directory

2) Click the "Fave" icon - bottom right of this screenshot:

Clicking "Fave" automatically subscribes you to the city's reviews, and if you click your river settings, you can confirm this:

We will continue to look at ways to make it easier to subscribe to the topics you are interested in - not just for non members, but for everyone.


Help us test a new feature?

Hi All, we just pushed something that we think is pretty cool - it's a new home page (for not logged in users), that shows off some of our amazing "river" functionality. Basically, it lets you easily subscribe to the topics that you are interested in, making your river fill up with not just the posts from people you follow, but also from topics you follow (e.g. Politics, Gadgets, Movies).

Here's how you can help us out with testing.

1) Logout
2) Go to the RateItAll home page, and try clicking on various icons (note how the river updates dynamically each time)
3) when you come up with a combination of topics that you are happy with (and note that you can "view more" on topics to select from 21 different ones), click "Save Your Feed" and then login. Your new topics will then be added to your feed.

I love this new home page - I think it's incredibly interactive, and is a nice show of force for our database. BTW, if you like the icons, tell Lena.


Help us choose RateItAll's Next Feature

Last Friday, the RateItAll team departed the hallowed halls of RIA Global HQ and Campus, and got on the Bart train for the Carnelian Room - a magnificent restaurant and meeting facility in downtown San Francisco located on the 52nd floor of one of the city's tallest buildings.

The goal was to get offsite for a day, unplug from the daily grind, and talk about what we wanted to be as a website and as a company.

The venue was stunning - we were literally in the clouds, up above even the Transamerica Building, with views of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Coit Tower.

During the afternoon, we had a session where we went around the table and came up with every idea for "small tweaks" to the site that we felt would make the site better for folks trying to use the site - whether they be writers, readers, businesses, or advertisers.

The session was done in a game format. Each person had 10 seconds to come up with an idea, or be eliminated. The winner got a package of Astronaut Ice Cream (and the loser got a package of Astronaut Ice Cream). Those who came in second, third, and fourth, also got packages of Astronaut Ice Cream.

The output of this meeting of the minds was this list of 82 suggested RateItAll site tweaks. Please rate them based on your opinion of their Priority. 5 = highest priority.


We have a new page!

We've just launched a Review Success Page. You will only hit this page when writing a review from A) the river; B) an item page; or C) the add a new item page. You won't get this when speed rating from a list page.

We built this page because A) we felt that it would be helpful from an editing / proofreading perspective to see the review you just wrote front and center; B) we could better call out the sharing buttons (FB, Twitter, Email); and C) that having a separate page was a good opportunity to highlight other places to hit on the site.

Here's a screenshot of the review success page: