Totebags

Seems like everytime I turn around, PBS is asked for cash and trying to give away some kind of totebag or DVD or something.  Well, they've been around forever and people seem to enjoy the totebags, so why don't I try giving something away to really kick up the fundraising for my Donor's Choose campaign?

Here's an idea.  I've been thinking lately that I haven't had much of an opportunity to try out new web services and could use the inspiration of other people's product ideas flowing through this blog.  One of my favorite things to do is give feedback and take the product side of my brain for a spin around a new web app.   At the same time, I get pinged by lots of PR people to link to their clients.

I also feel like all I've been doing lately is reblogging anti-Sarah Palin videos and writing fuzzy introspective posts, when the TIGTBB you all used to know was more full of "Web 2.0 with a grain of salt".

So here's what I'm going to do...

For any web service that contributes $200 to my Donor's Choose campaign, I'll review and link to your idea/service/company, etc on my blog, and if it's in NYC, I'll cc it to the nextNY blog.  If I get too many requests, next week I'll just up the req'd donation.

That doesn't mean you get a positive review, and it's going to be limited to one per day. (I figure I blog once a day anyway, so it's not going to take me any more time than usual...)   So, if I don't like what you're up to, I'll try to be super constructive, and I'll definitely take into consideration what stage you're at, but either way, you'll get feedback and hopefully some users.

So e-mail me at charlie dot odonnell at gmail dot com with a one pager and a link, I'll respond back with a "Sounds good" and then you toss your cash in.  I'll get to it within a day or two.

Here's an example...  I did this one for a friend the other day at no cost:

This is about MyJambi, which is a marketplace for services--good idea, big market, definite need...  but certainly not an easy execution problem.  This is what I sent over:

"Finally getting around to spending some time here... 

First impressions...

First thing it asks me to join.  People don't want to "join" anything... they want to get things done--either to get or give services...  joining is a distraction and kind of a played out task on the web.

The tougher person to sign up is the person who needs the service, I think.  If I offer resume help, and I want to promote myself, I'll go the extra mile b/c I'm trying to promote my business and ultimately I think I'll make money.  As the person requiring the service, though, I'm the one who needs to be impressed, so I think the site should be all about me.  myjambi.com should be offering services, while myjambi.com/vendors or something like that should be all about getting more people offering, and that's a separate marketing effort.

In terms of the profile pages, I think your titles and URL structure need more info...

When I Google "introduction to microfinance", I get teachstreet, but not your page.   Partly, I think that's because teachstreet also puts geo information in the URL, making it more likely to come up in various types of searches.  You should additionally have this guy's name in the URL, because that's another key term people will search on.   They also have the location in the title.

http://www.teachstreet.com/seattle-wa/finance/introduction-to-microfinance/cl-zu54lo6sg

http://www.myjambi.com/users/11549/economics-tutors/6620-introduction-to-microfinance

If I were you, I'd go strike biz deals with teachstreet and any other niche place that offers tutoring or other types of services.  If there's a social network for masseuses, it should be a one click effort to create a myjambi page to market yourself.... and you just strike some kind of affiliate deal with them.
In terms of how to get people on board to offer services, how about helping me out with how much to charge?  If you have enough data on hourly rates, both from service people and customers, you'd be able to tell me what the going rate for resume writers in NYC is.

One other idea...  build out pages for various services in different cities that are empty...  like Meetup does.  If you search pugs in Wasilla, Meetup won't come up empty... they'll allow you to setup a holding page of some sort that says you've indicated an interest in this... and it allows you to get notified if there's a critical mass of other people what want to meet up and talk about pugs. If I search for resume writers in NYC... and you don't have any yet...  you should create a page detailing how many people have been asking for this service.    Perhaps you should let me automatically create a craigslist ad or job post on various free job boards that takes me back to this page, so I can market the fact that I need this service.

One other thing I might consider is bundling these services.   For example, put together a character of a mom, and bundle all the services that a mom might need...  It makes it really easy for moms to know where to go on the site.  They may know they need a baby sitter, but then they might discover that other moms are also getting at home "mommy and me" workouts, which they didn't even know existed.
With bundle packages like this... groups of service people could work together to market, and you can better target your marketing.... otherwise you'll get an imbalance of different types of services.  Plus, that would be a differentiator for your site.   People really love those character types... they've been used a lot on Answerology and they're fun.

Logins...  pull back the logins!  When I click on a service provider's, I shouldn't have to login, because 1) They don't want anyone being prevented from seeing more info about them and 2) You haven't convinced me there's a reason for me to login yet.

Plus, what's weird is that I can google them and I get a public profile page that I don't need to login for.

Also, their name needs to be in that URL, like this:  http://www.myjambi.com//writers/first_last/6257-i-ll-help-you-write-your-essay

I'd even expose their availability, too...   but require a login to request a time...   and maybe not even a login... maybe just an e-mail address.... and then she can write back using a double blind match.com style listserv thingy to  talk to the person. "