Squirl: Online Collector's Gallery
By James Grahame
Squirl is a site that encourages people to post flickr-like photo catalogs of their "collections." I'm not really sure why millions of otherwise normal webaholics would meticulously catalog a comic book / Lego / dead bug collection and place it online, but it's a concept with potential. I'd give it a B+ as a business school project... if they make a few tweaks.
Alas, the current site comes across as yet another cookie-cutter "Web 2.0" social networking system, right down to the cliched "beta" tucked under the logo. The design is heavy on gradient-fill graphics, pastel colors, and the same "clean and curvy" UI we've seen a thousand times on mainstream sites like Digg, Slashdot, Flickr and the other Web 2.0 poster children. Methinks the developers are hoping to generate enormous site traffic from obsessive collectors and then flip the company for millions.
A couple of ideas to help the Squirlians meet their goal:
1. As it stands, the site is hard to use and kinda pointless.
Perhaps they should offer users a chance to trade/sell/buy what they
see. Or maybe introduce a Digg-like discussion area that lets people
rank interesting or outrageous collections.
2. Ditch the tacky "beta" shtick and build a unique visual identity.
3. Better search capabilities, please. And some sort of meaningful categorization (the "last 250" tag cloud just doesn't cut it).
4. You really need to get your hands on a dot-com domain name. Squirl.info is a cute name and all, but people are gonna hit the dot com version first and come away unhappy. Off-the-cuff suggestions from around RT HQ include chipmonk.com, moos.com, scheep.com, proodle.com, and even one vote for Starbucks (I think he mis-heard the question).