Monday, August 07, 2006 My Opinion

Have you ever noticed that sometimes you really want something to measure up to your expectations -- and it doesn't? is a great idea, it's long overdue -- a web portal dedicated to mixed race couples, individuals and ideas. Unfortunately, after some initial consideration, I decided I didn't have a good experience there.

It reminds me of what I blogged about concerning Asian Avenue in June. As I said for AA, this will probably be very nice for some people and I personally have no animosity against the makers of I'm sure they've put a lot of hard work and effort and thought into the site.

But it's essentially very much still in beta and lacking any moderation whatsoever. As a result, there are a lot of offensive usernames, profiles and content. Not racist stuff, per se, but it could turn off a lot of potential users of the site.

Oh, and the use of the N word (pretty much entirely by African Americans) abounds, completely unfettered by moderation. Some people would probably be delighted by the "freedom of speech." Again, maybe in the proper context of defined sections ("Urban Expressions," for instance), it might work. People would be properly warned and have some idea what they're facing. As it is, you get what you get and that's that.

Another element that could deter users: popups. Who uses popup advertising anymore? There are much better alternatives out there that are site friendly.

I like the built-in weblog feature but it also kind of demands the user know a bit about HTML and site design, which the average internet user doesn't -- and shouldn't be required to know. This was a downside to AA, too.

The articles and bulletin board features were probably the most interesting aspect to the site. It also has a "Hot Or Not" for community members who were vain (or foolish) enough to submit their actual photo. There's lots of dating stuff woven in, too.

Another sign of beta-dom: don't open a web portal if you haven't enabled or finished all the sections, including the HELP section. People usually don't wait around for sites that are "still under construction."

I wanted to like this site, I really did. And in all fairness, in a year's time, it may be significantly improved (most sites do get better over time). Time will tell.

Best Wishes,

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