A couple of months ago, the Seattle Sea Kayak Club’s newsletter announced that they were looking for a new webmaster. Hey, I can do that, I thought; it’s a simple site, fairly static, something I can do on the weekends, and it’ll give an introvert like me a way to be more involved in SSKC. And lo, it did come to pass… My first impressions were right on the money.
Yesterday, yours truly got an email addressed to the SSKC webmaster inviting our club to join a new social networking site, eCountryLifestyle (yes, the ‘e’ is apparently italicized):
I am contacting your club because of your involvement with Paddling. We are creating a new concept in social networking that we call a Virtual Lifestyle Community. In our community we cover various topics and work with clubs involved with Paddling.
We are presently contacting a few select clubs from across the United States, all with lifestyle interests similar to your club members. Our website is a new concept which we strongly believe you will find especially beneficial to you and your club. We provide a new way for clubs, people, and trade associations to interact, network, and coordinate with others who share similar lifestyle interests.
First off, it ain’t gonna happen – SSKC is *so* not interested in participating in this kind of thing. But I figured that it couldn’t hurt to go check out the site.
Jesus Haploid Christ, what a train wreck…
First off, if it’s “eCountryLifestyle”, WTF are y’all doing contacting an urban paddling club? Outdoors? Yes. Country? Not so much.
Second, we’re a West Coast organization; your visual branding screams Midwest heartland or New England – mostly New England, given your graphics and your use of the phrase ‘town meeting’. Your vision of ‘country’ is way too small to have broad appeal.
Third – your promised content set is sorely lacking. Yes, the paddling articles I checked out were informative, and I didn’t notice any major inaccuracies, but who were they written by? What are their qualifications? You really have one person who is a subject matter expert on everything? And if they weren’t written from personal experience (which is fine, really), how about some citations of sources? Links? Footnotes?
Fourth – your promised content set is too broad. What are ‘Country Lifestyle’ recipes, anyway?
Fifth – your promised content set is too boring. Your ‘Country Lifestyle’ recipes? Teh suck. Your comics? Teh suck.
Sixth – your choice of technology is… interesting. If you manage to achieve the scale you want, you better have a full-time staff monitoring those forums, because phpBB is a spam magnet.
Seven – wrapping open-source technology in your own site while axing their copyright notice? Not cool. Very not cool. This isn’t your software. Put the ‘powered by’ notices back.
So, there you have it folks – a hearty ‘stay the hell away’ from eCountryLifestyle. They’re using other people’s software and counting on other people’s content to sell advertising. *sigh* Web 2.0 – just as many underpants gnomes as Web 1.0.