Saturday, March 25, 2006

Tired: Amazon Lists; Wired: All Consuming and Lists of Bests

I've been under a large rock for the last month, so it came as a surprise to me that the Robots had done it again and expanded their suite of free online apps for managing your lists.

In addition to 43 Things, 43 Places, and 43 People, they have integrated All Consuming with a new offering - Lists of Bests.

I've always been dissatisfied with Amazon's list and recommendation implementations, primarily because they've lacked the ability to create lasting personal networks along with threaded discussions and recommendations among folks with similar interests. In my mind Amazon has created more of a competitive and individualistic network on their site (Listmania!, My Wish Lists, Top Reviewers), rather than a truly cooperative community that openly shares information and builds trust over time.

Amazon's new "Customer Discussions" beta seems to be an attempt to finally address this deficiency, but the very name they chose for this feature belies how they view you first and foremost - as a customer, not a member of a community.

I think the Robots' approach is more savvy because it's more about people's interests and interactions than just the things they buy. The community tools they are building with their integrated sites recognize that we humans are multi-faceted* social creatures - we do things, we have opinions, we consume, we meetup, and we go places - together! And of course, their designs are simply KICK-ASS!

* subliminal nod to Ruby which the Robots use to build their stuff. ;)

p.s. The Robots provide a simple javascript API to display your All Consuming list on your blog or web page. I've added mine here, below and to the left.

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