My first experience of LouderVoice for any reason whatsoever. I’ve heard about it before now but never found it interesting enough to investigate. However, with a change of weather and a change of heart I’ve decided to give it the full once-over.
Rated as May 03 2007 by Jonathan Brazil/5 on
Firstly credit goes to Paul Watson for pushing me over the edge and into the LouderVoice pit. Upon reading his blog entry on this matter I couldn’t resist any longer. LouderVoice is not what I first thought, a multi-author blog, it is actually a central point of review management integrated with your own personal blog. Simple enough and lightweight in design.
However, discussing the technology in the service will not give an accurate picture of what its true value is. LouderVoice has built an extensive community of active reviewers, who publish everything from hotel references to how good the latest MP3 player is. The range is vast. So as the sole purpose of providing lost webbies with a place to find out other people’s opinions it may very well win out. Only time will truly tell if the community gets fed up writing reviews or if the magnitude of poor reviews outweighs the value of the good ones.
Setup is easy and it posts your reviews to your blog. The interface is very simple for both configuration, authoring and searching. Other than that it’s simple and straightforward, nothing much to report and time will be its judge. I hope that the good outweighs the crud but open forums tend to gather lots of crud…
Thanks for the review, it’ll help us fine tune the site.
Just a couple of clarifications.
We are not a group blog at all – all content is published to and read at a users blog, where ever that may be. We don’t cross-post, we post. We then index that content so others can search for it and rate it. If you change the review on your blog, then we’ll pick up those changes on our regular sweep.
The HTML you are referring to is and open standard called the hReview microformat. It is some semantic XHTML which identifies the various parts of a review to make it entirely portable and usable by any system which supports hReview.
So for example, your reviews would get picked up by Technorati Kitchen and be identified as such, rather than being a generic blog post which may have review-style content in it.
hReview has been taken up by several major sites including Yahoo Tech. We fully expect there to be many more people competing with us using this format in the coming year. If you find that such a site suits you better then all of your review content can be pulled into that site and keep its item rating, item name, address info etc
As for the bold issue, that is a function of your blog theme. We output the summary as a h3 which on most blogs is pretty small non-bold text. We may drop that formatting altogether if it is causing problems.
Our publishing tools are there to help bootstrap the creation of hReview content. Once more tools become available (e.g. on Typepad, Vox etc) then you can write everything directly on your blog with no LouderVoice links, forget we exist but have your reviews indexed by us. Our users can then find, rate, relate and bookmark your reviews along with any others they find interesting.
Publishing to a category was a feature we removed during Beta testing. I agree that we should add it back in.
I’m happy to answer any questions you might have about the site. We did a quiet launch yesterday and should have the help pop-ups in place over the next few days.
Many thanks for the feedback and corrections. My review has been cheerfully updated to remove my wrong critique and to follow is an updated blog post as a correction and an extra link. The speed of your response is something that will make a good service and I have no doubt that this positivity will rub off on LouderVoice. Best of luck with it!
Thanks Jonathan. Appreciated and we’ll take all of the comments on board.
The ideal scenario would be that hReview is baked into WordPress/MT/Typepad etc so that users never have to see the raw XHTML in their blogposts, it’s just generated on the fly when the pages are displayed. I hope we’ll be able to convince some of those vendors to do that in the coming months.