Judysbook’s New Face Looks Green

JudysbookI have previously mentioned Judysbook’s new home page design here. After looking at it some more I decided that the event deserves a special coverage. Judysbook traditionally has been a destination to get reviews for your local businesses and is competing with such web sites as Yelp and Insiderpages. On September 13 they announced a new direction which actually got them into a much busier market niche. The announcement produced 22 mainly negative comments at the usually scarce for comments company blog. Here are just a few:

UGH! It’s just awful. If I wanted a shopping site, I would go to Amazon, or eBay. I go to Judy’s Book intentionally to get insight into and opinions from MY community…

…Why change what was unique about book? There are better deal sites all around, and this concept won’t gain traction the way you are thinking. You’ve just lost a user fellas!…

…Ick. I hate it. What used to be a review website has turned into nothing more than a mechanism for commercialization.

JudySo why the change? Well, the answer seems to be fairly obvious: money. Before you flame me off let me lay down my thoughts.

  1. Judysbook has been on the market for longer than Yelp and about the same time as Insiderpages yet it seems to be struggling to compete with the two in all aspects.
  2. Monetizing reviews business certainly takes more effort than living off of sales commission.
  3. “Social” is the latest buzz word and it is quickly spreading to on-line shopping. As Bob Tedeschi from N.Y. Times has put it “These sites are hoping to ride the MySpace wave by gathering people in one place to swap shopping ideas.”

The owners obviously got so sold on the “social” part that they rushed off to implement it without giving much thought as to how they are going to integrate it with the existing features.

As a company, we’ve had a bigger appetite for feature and scope than what we’ve been able to digest in terms of delivering users a quality user experience. I am aware of this fact and it is a flaw in our culture that I am working hard to correct.

The last quote is straight from Judysbook’s CEO Andy Sack’s blog.

I personally have nothing against a desire to make an extra buck or two – I just hope Andy has thought it through. Such drastic changes may very well send the old timers running to look for alternatives and I honestly don’t wish that to happen. Judysbook has built a devoted community which is their single biggest asset IMHO. My advice will be – don’t bet everything you have – no matter how green the pot may look.

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