Ex-Googlers Score with Likaholix.com

Last night I discovered likaholix.com and was able to get an account during their beta phase testing. You can see my likaholix page here, but I thought I’d take a few minutes to jot down some initial thoughts about it, because I do think it’s interesting.

Likaholix makes it Mind Numbingly Easy™ to quickly “like” something. To do that, all you do is type in a title for the thing you like, and then type a short description telling people why you like it. Then, add a couple of tags so the site can easily categorize your likes, making them easier for visitors to find.

Why is this cool? Well, a few reasons:

  1. The huge masses of internet users happen to really like reading reviews. This is pretty easy to prove. Go to technorati.com and you’ll see that sites like Engadget and Gizmodo and other sites that do reviews are among the most highly trafficked sites. Other sites that aren’t blogs, like CNET, are also enormously popular. And what’s your favorite feature of Amazon? I know what mine is: customer reviews!!
  2. The huge masses of internet users don’t really write thorough reviews, because they’re long and take time and more effort than you might think. However, just about anyone can tell you in 5 seconds or less why they like something, and are usually happy to do so.
  3. The huge masses of internet users don’t really read thorough reviews, because they’re just too damn long. I mean, sure, if you’re making a major purchase in your life, you might read every letter you can find about a product, but for many things, people just want the bullet points. I’m not aware of a limit on the number of characters you can use in your descriptions on likaholics, but it certainly doesn’t encourage you to ramble on, like, say, this WordPress interface does :-)
  4. The huge masses of internet users love the idea of being a trend setter, which likaholix facilitates. Perhaps even more, they tend to follow and respond to trends, and likaholix facilitates that, too, by making it really easy to connect with other people, assigning credibility points to users making them “tastemakers” in certain areas, and making it really easy to find recommendations for whatever you’re interested in.
  5. It’s appealing to huge masses of internet users, because it is, by definition, not specialized. You can like anything, and so this becomes sort of the internet equivalent to the “show about nothing”, Seinfeld, which if you remember, was hugely popular.

Of course, with the good comes the bad. There’s nothing really bad about likaholix, and the product is still in beta, so it’s very likely that it’ll change, but here are some quirks I noted:

  1. There’s no feedback link! Why have people sign up for a beta if they have no interface to tell you what’s going on, why they like/don’t like, etc? That’s goes beyond bad into this really bizarro world of… bizarreness.
  2. When you put in a title for your new like, likaholix tries to find a URL for what you’re about to describe. If you pick one of those URL’s, it changes your title to whatever the page title is of the URL you chose. That’s bad, because a) I would say most sites don’t pay proper attention to what their page titles should look like, and b) I typed in my title for a reason. Please don’t subvert my attempt to communicate through the use of an effective title.
  3. Also, when you type in a title, while you’re typing, there’s a drop down that’ll appear with suggested completions. This is, unfortunately, too clunky and slow to be effective. Several times something would appear, and the right choice would barely have time to catch my eye before disappearing again. This is probably due to lag between results being generated and my typing. This means I’m sitting there pushing the back button, maybe a few times, then typing letter by letter very slowly until it comes back. At least the results are cached; I was usually able to get back to the right set of results and pick what I intended.
  4. You can only be a tastemaker in two categories, and that kinda sucks, but I think I understand why that is: they’d probably like you to focus on one or two areas and “own the topic”, which is a big catch-phrase in the blogosphere. I think it’s kind of lame, but it’s not a big deal, and it’ll probably change anyway.
  5. likaholix will post your likes to twitter, but with no link back to the site, and no indication that the tweet came from likaholix whatsoever! What’s the point? I’m sure this will change. I’ve disabled the feature on my account for the time being, and opted to post my likes to facebook, where people are less likely to have a real-time interface spamming them with my likes all day.

In the end, I think likaholix is a hit. I’ve never used a single site to get product reviews and recommendations, but now I might. I understand that this site only shows good reviews, but bad reviews are so easy to find that I don’t really care, and if the masses tend not to like something, then the fact that a site with (someday) millions of users mentions a product a mere 3 times will be indication enough. “If you have nothing nice to say…” and all that.

Also, if I want to know if some gadget, we’ll call it ‘foo’, sucks, Googling for “foo sucks” still works like a charm.