Brian Armstrong

New Features on BuyersVote (Plus a Few Announcements)

Over the last month or so I’ve quietly rolled out some changes to BuyersVote. These were little things I discovered that I wanted while using the site.

Take note: this is one of the best reasons to build something (in a startup) that you actually want to use for yourself! If you’re an actual user, the software will be way better because when something is annoying or difficult you’ll fix it right away.

Address, Phone, and Websites on Items

Now you can enter an address, phone number, and website for an item.

This was really annoying before (especially for websites) - where you’d have to enter the website right in the title of the item because there was no other field for it.

Now if you enter these extra fields while editing an item, it will appear on the show page allowing you to visit the “External Site” with just one click, or Google Map it, etc.

Badges

Now on item pages there is a small badge that people can copy and paste into their website.  This would mainly be useful if it was your product and you wanted to show off reviews you were getting or encourage people to post more reviews.

There is also an SEO benefit to this to try and get more incoming links to the site.  This is something Neil Patel suggested to me a while back (check out my other post on user badges).

Improved Search

The search I had before sucked, and it wouldn’t find variations of words.  So for example if you were searching for “property managers” but the only listing in BuyersVote was for “property management companies” your search would return zero results.

Search is a hard problem.  A lot of websites try to implement their own which I think is a mistake (one I was guilty of).  It’s usually better to use Google Custom Search and integrate it into your website, so that’s what I did here.  This gives you the full power of Google search right on your own website.

So the search is a lot smarter now.

Revenue Generation (Affiliate links and Ads)

See the link that says “Check Prices On Amazon”?  This is new, and is an affiliate link.  When editing an item you will now see a checkbox like this at the bottom:

Checking that box will help BuyersVote generate a tiny bit of revenue when people click through to Amazon’s site and buy something.  Of course, there are a great many items on BuyersVote which aren’t sold on Amazon - hence the checkbox to crowd source this data.

There are also now Adsense ads in the bottom right of category pages.

Category Descriptions

There is also now an optional field on categories to add a short description.  Some categories weren’t quite clear without this.

This is how it looks on the actual page.

Contributor Pages

Contributor pages were pretty plain before.  Now they show all the most recent reviews a contributor has left in one place (along with a link to their personal website and a little about them).  Dave is currently the top contributor on BuyersVote (as voted by other users - see his reputation).  Gordie Rogers has contributed a ton also.  Thanks guys!  For more info on how reputation works check here.

Conclusion

There are a few more features I’d like to add eventually, namely an “Awards” page that highlights the best and worst rated products across all categories for the last month, year, all time, etc.  This would be great link bait.

Odds & Ends

Finally, few announcements.  I have a new web app (in the SEO space) coming out in a week or two here.  I’ll be sure to post here on the blog when it’s ready.

Also, I’ll be heading back to the San Francisco and leaving Buenos Aires in February!  While there for Christmas I met up with an awesome group of guys who are doing a Y-Combinator startup, and they asked me to join them in February.  It’s a really cool product and group, so I think it will be a great step for me.  So far I’ve been operating mostly on the fringe of the tech entrepreneurship scene (doing my own thing, traveling the world).  This has certainly had it’s advantages, but being in the valley and surrounding myself with the top tech entrepreneurs in the world will be a welcome change.  It’s really amazing what’s happening over there right now - in terms of potential to change the world (certainly technology wise) you’d be hard pressed to find a better place than the SF Bay Area.

Until next time, keep breaking free! Brian Armstrong

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