WishRadar launches

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This week was the long-awaiting launch of WishRadar, a new service started by some very good friends of mine. At least it was long-awaited by me, because I hate keeping my mouth shut. If I were beta-testing your software you’d never know this because I will literally pick through every single thing on your entire site and send long bullet-pointed lists of improvements, which is how I know that their Privacy Policy says in part:

Think of us like a 100-foot huge, frickin’ sweet robot with flame throwers that is totally way cool, and only does things you ask it to, because you have the remote control. The robot can’t go off and destroy cities, or fight Voltron, or provide any information to Amazon.com or anyone else without your permission, because you are the only person the robot obeys.

It’s nice to see Jason using that law degree.

As you might be able to tell from the name, WishRadar is a tool designed to work with your wishlists. It’s not social software, the social components are there but designed to play a supporting role. It’s not a site for sharing recommendations or personal opinions either; you can see what other people have on their public list but since it’s all stuff they don’t have yet their opinions may be suspect. It’s not about designing a new shopping process or what movies your ex-girlfriend liked or who’s got a new CD coming out this week or what the kids are wearing these days. It’s all about the acquisition, baby. It’s getting what you want for less.

There are plenty of things that Amazon does really well already, that fall under the the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” rule. For web developers, that rule might be reworded as “if it isn’t necessary to build a separate walled garden, don’t.”

  • User reviews. Amazon has a huge database of reviews supplemented daily, and their “Real Name” program basically certifies it as legit.
  • Recommendations and lists. The recommendations are created using a combination of your past purchases/wishlists/views and what other people with similar purhases, etc. liked, spiced with a dash of marketing eeeeevil. It works. The lists have that unique human touch (read: freakiness) that makes them such a great way to find, say…stories about figs, if that’s what you want.
  • Purchasing and shipping. With one click check out, supersaver shipping, etc. you don’t have to think about it, even when you’re buying from some tiny marketplace seller and not actually from Amazon.

I don’t know about you, but if I want something and I like the price I tend to buy it immediately. If I can’t afford it or don’t think it’s worth the price I add it to my wishlist, where it disappears forever. My wishlist has been the graveyard where products go to die, I have no idea if the price drops or it’s discontinued and I only think of it when I add yet another thing I’m not buying.

WishRadar leaves Amazon to do all the stuff it’s already good at, and takes over where it does less well. See something you want, but not willing to pay the price? It turns Amazon into Priceline: set whatever price sounds good to you and it’ll let you know when your target is reached. For those who just can’t wait, it also turns Amazon into a mobile price comparison service you can use from your phone (without a data plan!) and updates your wishlist while it’s at it. It also lets you import more than one wishlist, watch other people’s, and get it all delivered to your inbox, feedreader or phone.

I’m guessing you can see why this would appeal to me. I think it’s super-cool and handy as hell, though I’m not exactly impartial. See for yourself, or just subscribe to Jonathan’s massive ode to coveteousness to keep your indie rock/web dork/modern design references current.

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One response to “WishRadar launches

  1. Pingback: Advanced Technology Products Interactive » Blog Archive » Wishlists and burnout

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