iBegin Source in Action: Restaurant Reviews and OddPath

8 May
2007

iBegin Source has been around for over a month now, and we’ve had over 2500 non-commercial downloads (more on that later).

I thought I would take the time every few months to showcase a few sites using our data.

First up is Restaurant Reviews. We had a bit of hand in this product – the design was done by our design firm, Design Disease.

I absolutely love the design. I am definitely biased here, but I really think it has one of the nicest/cleanest UIs a local site has (I will admit – even nicer than iBegin’s).

The site is very fast to use, but I do wonder how they will get users involved. I talked to the two operators, Anita & Todd Cowan, and they promised me they have some interesting ideas. They did underscore that they want to remove anonymity and focus on the ‘meat’ – actual reviews, not stories and tales. Time will tell how it goes, but it does look good, and it does respond fast. I’ll do a follow up in a couple of months.

The other site is OddPath.

OddPath is an interesting one, a lot due to what happened in the background.

The site was developed by Kailash. Very smart and very talented (we acquired Commentful from him). When we had launched iBegin Source, I had showed him the site.

A few weeks later, we were chatting about performance optimization for searching through 10+ million records. After some discussion, he mentioned how he was working on a local site using iBegin Source.

One of the motivating factors behind iBegin Source was to enable hobbyists (ala Kailash) to build something local. While I firmly believe that our price point is extremely affordable, it can still be expensive for others (ala Kailash – a student). So while I had never officially announced it (I imagined it would be months before it would be useful) – we had always intended on awarding ‘free’ commercial licenses to interesting projects. They would still have to link back to iBegin Source, but otherwise they would get the full commercial data/license.

Case in point: OddPath. Kailash did the entire site himself, without incurring a dime in expenses (other than hosting). And he was able to do this because of iBegin Source.

Before I digress any further – OddPath’s best feature is its mobile search. Simple and effective, I think this is OddPath’s best feature. Other features such as ‘Buzz’ and ‘Pictures’ are interesting, but definitely need some fine tuning. The mobile feature (and its simplicity) could push him forward there.

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