Thursday, November 10, 2005

A solution

With the holidays approaching, I was thinking lately about wish lists.

I've got one on Amazon, as I'm sure everybody capable of reading this does. I also have a few scattered around on various merchant sites I frequent (mostly 3-D model & software sites like DAZ3D and Renderosity.) But there are a number of other merchants I like, and they all have their own web sites, which may or may not include wish lists.

The problem is, suppose someone wants to buy me a present. How are they supposed to know where to go on the web to find things I might want other than those listed on Amazon?

I considered looking around for a gift registry website. My wife and I used one in the past ( for my daughter's baby shower.It worked well enough for that task, but it didn't have all the features of Amazon's list.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized that the perfect gift list app existed already -

In case you haven't heard about this free service, it's pretty much a public list of browser favorites or bookmarks. You can easily add favorite web addresses to this list, and not only can you annotate them and access them from anywhere, but others can see them too.

The most powerful feature of this service is the ability to tag each item on the list with one or more keywords. This makes searching, sorting and filtering the list trivially easy, and does away with all that nested-folder malarkey found in the browser's bookmark managment component.

Because you will wind up using many of the same tags that others use, this service also becomes a powerful way of sharing and rating websites. If you have three bookmarks that are tagged with the keyword "photoshop", chances are good you will be interested in sites other users have tagged with the keyword "photoshop." Chances are also good that you might be interested in other sites tagged by users whose lists of keywords are similar to yours.

I realized this is also the perfect medium for public wishlists. You can link directly to the product pages for items you are interested in, add a line or two of descriptive text, a la Amazon, and tag items using keywords. You might have keywords for the type of gift - clothes, software, tools, toys, etc. You might have keywords for your level of desire for the item in question - "liketohave" "lovetohave" "needtohave" "pleasepleaseplease" and so on. Your wishlist is in a simple-to-remember format: for example.

It seems like a good idea - the only problem I can see is that since all keywords are public, and are ranked according to usefulness, the main ones would quickly become meaningless. If everybody's wishlist had one or more "lovetohave" keywords, that might quickly become the most popular keyword on the service. But unlike "photoshop", the "lovetohave" keyword tells you nothing about the nature of the link or the person who posted it. So I suppose its possible this idea could pollute - or perhaps dilute is a better term - the pure concept.

I think I'll give it a try anyway. ;-)


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