Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Beer Suggest Reviewed

Lifehacker profiled Beer Suggest a few weeks ago, and I created an account to poke around and share my thoughts on what the new site has to offer.

To be honest, I don't see the value added. It seems like Beer Suggest is trying to be Beer Advocate but more Web 2.0. The primary differences between Beer Suggest and the currently dominant Beer Advocate and Rate Beer seem to be the addition of tags, a wiki and a "related beers" suggestion area. That said, Beer Suggest has many fewer beers in the system, with far fewer reviews. Since the content is all user-generated, I suppose I partly have myself to blame for not adding to it, but it's likely that most prospective users are already active and "invested" in BA or RB, and it is dubious whether tags and suggestions will be enough to convince active users to re-review and re-submit the information and content they have already supplied once. Furthermore, BA is a community, not just a resource, and that would be difficult to duplicate.

Healthy competition for users is good, and will keep feature innovation and responsiveness to user demands strong, but proliferation of different sources runs the risk of reduplicating effort or increasing search costs for the information you need.

I gave the new site the benefit of the doubt for being so young, and decided to wait and see how it developed, but stopped in again today and found that little has changed. Granted, it's still early, but I think I'll stick to BA. I think the real value of this site new site will stem from putting pressure on the big two to upgrade their capabilities, not from drawing away users and becoming a third competitor.

1 comment:

AJ said...

First let me say I appreciate you taking the time to checkout the website. I certainly can't argue with you on many of your points, the big sites like ratebeer and ba already have tons of data and a large community. I may have rushed opening the website, but I don't regret it, I've gotten more data on to the site, and tons of great suggestions from users on what they think would make the site great. This is more of a long term project for me, with 3 major goals.
1)Provide lots of data(beers, breweries, ratings, reviews)

2)Provide accurate suggestions based on your ratings/reviews.

3)Create a more social site allowing users to find people who are similar to them. This would also help with #2 in improving suggetions. Making it easier to see what your friends have been up to is another item, for example beers they have recently reviewed, rated, etc.

There are a lot of obvious things that have yet to be implented like a forum, beer pairings, and beer 101. However none of these things are going to happen over night.

I'll admit, I also have an account on BA and use it actively.