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Happy New Year

Thanks to everyone who has helped get WishRadar off the ground this year, either by participating in building it, by writing about it or otherwise telling gobs of people, or simply by signing up for the thing and giving it a whirl. 2006 was a great year, and we have even better things planned for 2007, including creating, and then immediately winning the Nobel Prize for Technology,  a multi-billion dollar IPO, the obligatory stock scandal investigation that all the cool kids are doing, and, of course, the eventual sale to Google for around 12 dollars (just after they buy a controlling interest in Viacom, Amazon, 12 of the 15 former Soviet Republics, and "nature").

Throughout the highjinks above, we'll probably get around to a bunch more features. Check back often.

On behalf of the whole WishRadar gang, we wish you the happiest and healthiest of 2007s.

WishRadar Geeks to Live at Lifehacker

We'd like to thank our new best friends at Lifehacker for their kind review of WishRadar yesterday. Seeing WishRadar on a site that we read every day was certainly fun, not to mention the fact that it introduced us to many of you. So yes, if the good people at Lifehacker need a reference to get onto Santa's "nice" list this year, give me a call.

One of the great things about a new influx of customers is a new influx of ideas and suggestions (and the odd bug report, but let's not bring everybody down). Here are probably the most common requests/comments:

  • More sources for wishes - Apparently, Amazon and Half aren't enough for you people. And we dig that. We're looking at new sources, and ask your patience with it. Not all sources play as nicely with affiliates services as Amazon. Others of you want to at least be able to add items to your WishRadars from other sites, even if we only check prices at Amazon and Half. Got it.
  • Some sort of browser extension or widget to add items - That's kind of what we hoped the bookmarklet would do, but we're reading that you want more. Always more. You people exhaust me.
  • Amazon.co.uk - I don't know how many people actually live in Great Britain, but I speculate that every single one of them has emailed us with a request to support the UK version of Amazon. This is more complicated than it sounds, but we hear you loud and clear on this.
  • The "Share" link is broken - Hey, I thought we decided we weren't going to discuss bugs? We had an agreement. (It's fixed, but don't let it happen again)
  • My wishlist didn't import from Amazon - Yeah, we had a little slowness yesterday with our interface with Amazon. Imagine, if you will, that whenever you ask WishRadar to import a wishlist from Amazon, the two sites engage in a metaphorical "handshake". Yesterday, for whatever reason, instead of offering a hand in friendship, we inadvertently flipped Amazon the metaphorical "bird," which resulted in Amazon giving us a metaphorical "kick to the throat." We have since bought Amazon metaphorical "flowers" and now everything is going smashingly. If you experienced problems yesterday, your wishlist should be imported already. If you are still running into any problems, please contact us.

We'll be working hard to get you as many WishRadar wishes as quickly as possible. Thanks again for your comments, and please keep them coming (contact @ wishradar dot com).

Amazon import was slow and cranky this morning. Given coffee. Now fixed.

Hi everyone,

Just a quick note to let you know that we experienced some delays importing wishlists from Amazon this morning from about 6 am (Pacific) to 8:45 am (Pacific).

Import may take a little longer than normal while we catch up on all of the lists in the queue, but all should be well with the world now. If you continue to experience any issues, please don't hesitate to contact us at contact @ wishradar dot com.

WishRadar 1.4: Shiny new features in time for the holidays

Happy December 5, everybody. We at WishRadar celebrated the respective birthdays of Margaret Cho and Pope Julius II by releasing version 1.4 of WishRadar, with these juicy new features:

  • Search for items on WishRadar - You can now search for items at Amazon using the WishRadar magic search box, now located at the top of every page. Enter URLs or ASIN numbers, or even general search terms, like "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" or "Richard Nixon" or "Gummy Worms."
  • Use UPC codes to search - Some of our alert customers noticed for us that Half.com only provides UPC codes, whereas we were expecting ASIN or ISBN codes. We now accept random, meaningless product identification numbers on an equal opportunity basis. Go crazy with your UPCs.
  • Print View - In addition to the List and Table views, you can now see your WishRadar in a "print view," which basically amounts to....text. But still, that can be useful for copying/pasting, viewing on smaller devices (e.g., mobile phones), and the aforementioned "printing."
  • Gift Certificates - You can now buy Amazon gift certificates through WishRadar. I know the purpose of having a WishRadar is so that people will know exactly what to buy you. That being said, some people just cannot bring themselves to purchase stuff on your list, regardless of how hip or relevant you think you are. Dig this scenario: A card carrying Democrat sends his WishRadar to his Republican sister for assistance with holiday shopping. The WishRadar contains The Fog of War, An Inconvenient Truth, and a biography of Che Guevara. The sister wants to get her brother something because she really does love him, but physically can't force herself to click the "buy" button on any of those particular items. Gift certificates to the rescue - saving family members from buying things they detest or can't comprehend for generations.
  • Tags - On the list view, you now have the opportunity to add tags. Click on the tags after you add them and we'll show you a filter of only the items with that tag. Tags are the basic building blocks for filing items however you want them. Pretty soon, you'll see a lot more action with tags at WishRadar.

Thanks to everybody who has emailed with their questions and feedback. It's nice to hear from you. Keep 'em coming (contact @ wishradar dot com).

Sheepish Expectations

When you launch a service like WishRadar, even when you have absolutely no expectations of becoming an Internet thousandaire and the primary driver is to fix a problem that you yourself have, you are still secretly hoping that the world bashes down the doors to your servers in an effort to sign up and validate your efforts. Feel free to apply any psychological paradigms to us that you want (Love me. LOOOVEE MEEE!), but I'd venture to guess that most people would feel the same way.

When the uptake is anything less than hotmail-circa-1997, two things happen:

1. You begin to notice web phenomenon that appear to have cracked the code for achieving the elusive "critical mass" - My newest example of this, borrowed from O'Reilly, is a guy who collected drawings of sheep over a 40-day period and is now selling them for $20 a pop. He collected 10,000 sheep drawings at a rate of about 11 sheep per hour. That's pretty phenomenal, when you think about it. Imagine if every person at the Durham Bulls stadium drew a picture of a sheep. Baaa, indeed.

2. You start to engage in a little self doubt - Not to tip our collective hand or anything, but in case any of you were wondering, WishRadar did NOT, in fact, sign up 10,000 people over the course of our first 40 days.  This leads to an inevitable series of tough, introspective questions. Did we build this thing right?  Are we actually solving a problem in a new/helpful way. Is WishRadar less useful, on the whole, than a site that accepts sheep pictures?

I don't let the comparatively vast adoption rates of sheep-drawing sites trouble me that much, though. I will come no closer to the secret of Internet marketing by comparing The Sheep Market to WishRadar than I would understand the secret of internal combustion by comparing a 1997 Honda Accord to an ear of corn. We're pretty happy with the progress we're making and are especially jazzed at the feature development we're planning for this weekend (hint: it doesn't involve sheep).

We'll post with more updates soon!

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