April 14, 2007 |
Spotback is another startup that will be profiled at the upcoming Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco April 15 – 18. Spotback asked us to review their innovative service, so here are the high and low points of my visit there.
This service is designed to help users to personalize their content via recommendations based on relevant content aggregation. Embedding of the Spotback widget onto a website allows members or visitors to rate your content. Once content is rated Spotback automatically suggests other relevant content from the host site. Theoretically the widget can help sites retain user or reader interest longer by providing them with great depth of relevancy without having to leave a site.
Spotback also provides a browser button that allows users to rate content as they surf the net, similarly to del.icio.us and many other newer variants. The rating history is then stored on the Spotback site so that the aggregated ratings can offer suggestions tailored to individual preferences. Aggregators are popping up everywhere lately in what I see as the precursor to the way search and relevancy will be integrated seamlessly into the next generation browser. Spotback does have some very cool rating widget styles and types, which users will find far superior to most other sites.
Spotback has great potential if the site can get past the initial "aggravation factor" that initial users are sure to encounter. I could not for the life of me get the toolbar button to download and am not really sure if it is even available yet. So, information of any depth is not readily visible to users. The forum there was helpful in explaining some of the bugs and how they could be addressed, but no wealth of information is up front where new people can grab it. Still, the site has been around long enough to work out most of the bugs.
The Spotback system of relevance rating and aggregation has one very big advantage to help it along, that is their system is very simple to use. We are being overwhelmed with so many similar or all inclusive services that most people just want things that work simply and are not time intensive. Personally, I will await the advanced version of search/aggregator, but for many people Spotback might be just what the doctor ordered.
Screen of Spotback News illustrating slider widgets.