Unfortunately, I took a look at HARO today and they've apparently launched something very similar, rather than just the old mailing list that I was competing against. So what do you think of this? Should I just drop it or should I add features to make it more valuable? Alternatively, is there something else I could use it for?
I want something half way between google alerts and HARO. I monitor a few keywords and whenever there is a reporter asking for something that includes that keyword, I get an email.
Perhaps come up with something niche or location specific (or white labelled so it could be run out as niche/location oriented by someone else) and try a focused launch.
Another option, and this would be easier if you started min-viable-product-style with a few niches, is if you listed some "experts" then ran it past them (explain the idea and that you've added them, but can remove them if they like - make it very personal rather than spammy) and then pitch it to journalists and bloggers once there are some experts listed.
As far as "something else I could use it for", what if you opened it up a bit and let people create their own lists? Then communities (both physical and virtual) could spawn their own lists and people of all walks of life could assume the role of journalist and/or source.
I'd work on scanability on the home page. I'd make the unordered lists larger, with a bolder font to draw my attention to them. I'm having trouble coming up with good copy for those areas, but you should see if you can reduce the text. There's that rule from "Don't Make me Think" that goes "Get rid of half the words on each page, then get rid of half of what's left."
I think it would be nice to have some more categories and/or subcategories. I see that I can subscribe to requests for "Technology", but I know nothing about hardware, or phones. It would be nice to only get requests for "Web Design" or "Web Sites".
The UI is pretty plain at the moment. Nothing really wrong with that, but it looks a certain professional polish.
In terms of a niche, I haven't spent much time thinking about it, but when it comes down to it, this is essentially a general anonymous message board like Craigslist, so I'm sure there are tons of niche applications. I'd love to hear more ideas from folks.
On a kinda of related note, I looked around and saw your other site, mightybrand, which caught my interest. However, it takes alot of trust to giveup a credit card before you ever see the product you might end up purchasing. I'd recommend you allow free trials without a credit card, and then once someone is hooked or reliant on the product, cripple the account and ask for money. At least this lets people try it! I walked away from the signup form the moment a credit card was requested. Don't follow this example with your prmanna site, if you do decide to go paid with it.
I'm genuinely curious what makes you (and others) start new projects when I would think you have (or should have) your hands full with seeing how far one can go? In other words why and how do you feel your time is better spent starting a new project as opposed to improving/optimizing your current one? Is it a matter of burnout and just needing something different to think about? I guess I've always thought that running a business entailed hundreds of hats as it is, and optimizing different areas of your business would always leave you with something different to do.
Genuinely interested on your motivations if you don't mind.
I dig the idea though, but getting people to respect it will be a challenge.
Agreed on the "empty pages" problem. I want the browse categories page to be a lot more informative, and show number of open requests in each category + 1-2 recent requests for that category.
Isn't getting people to respect any new web app a challenge? :) Thanks for the feedback!
What technology in combination with what $5/month hosting company could you possibly have used to achieve such terrible results?
Remember that you will need to add indexes to the database manually. Cake won't screw with your database by adding them itself.
Still, I'd be worried if a single-query homepage like yours was showing even a hint of a load spike under that sort of traffic. It's amazing that even cheapo hosting can really be that bad.