The New Audiogon

According to the vocal hordes on the Asylum and AudioCircle … nobody likes the New Audiogon [right now it is down, although you still can get to the forums if you are sneaky].

Having been on the receiving end of the ire of the same vocal hordes [e.g. w/r to Spintricity Magazine] seeing this happen to Audiogon is really fascinating. And we have also seen this backlash happen to Digg and Facebook, but not Twitter [which is bizarre because the Twitter UI changes by-and-large are non-intuitive, even after repeated use… much more like Facebook now, in fact]

It is fascinating because I think it allows us to rule out the validity of this or that particular feature and instead focus on the social dynamics of the situation.

Fact #1. Only techies like websites to change in any way

Many people claim to be techies, because they own a business that has a website, or they played with HTML some [and many have gotten paid for it!] , but really are not, are confused by web technology, and hate these kinds of changes. [This behavior really confused me for a long time]

Twitter is largely techies, so they got away with it. Digg, a counter example with supposedly a large techie population, has lots of people who, seriously, just like to be nasty and whine a lot.

Most of the home audio sites are horribly designed and implemented, but audiophiles love them because they are now used to them.

Rule #1. If you make a change to a site popular with non-techies, make it look exactly other sites they are comfortable with.

Stereophile changed its site to look just like an ordinary blog. This was largely accepted by audiophiles because they are now used to blogs. [I personally think it was nuts, they gave up their claim to fame – that of being a successful print magazine – to compete at the same level as 1M other blogs. Best thing they can do now is try to implement meta features like Engadget has done – but this will take time and be expensive].

When we recently changed Audio Federation, we copied a couple of other well-known luxury brochure sites as well as several very popular luxury shopping sites.

Audiogon is, unfortunately, making their site look like eBay – which is a quite unloved, albeit successful, site

Rule #2. Try to make a big change by making lots of itty bitty changes over time.

This is often extremely hard to do [i.e. very expensive], from a programming point of view.

Assuming Audiogon’s troubles go on for awhile, and even if they do not, I wonder if there is an opportunity here for a competitor to step in and break the Audiogon monopoly?


December coming right up…

[Hmmm… that last post had a crazy title for awhile – sorry about that]

Next month’s issue will feature a ‘Best of’ section.

Now, this is not the roll the dice, smoke-filled back room, KMA, what-were-they-thinking kind of best of the year kind of section. You can see those elsewhere. In fact there’s an epidemic of those.

The people most harmed by those types of lists are the people who buy gear every 5 to 10 years and look at these lists to decide what to buy [been there, done that].

And it is not even going to be a REAL Best Sounding Gear of The Year feature – which we could do but, seriously, the people who really care about good sound already know what sounds good. The may not be able to afford it [right now] but they pretty much know what to listen for and to.

No, our list will answer questions like:

Who has the coolest remote control?
Who has the fattest cables?

… and many more

You are invited to vote on these important questions, and many more – and add questions of your own – just post your votes or questions in a comment to this post.

Enjoy! :-)

A Hybrid Review Approach…

… mixing the subjective and objective…

Essentially it uses a subjective analysis of objective aspects of the sound of a component.

Even more essentially, the listener gives it the old ‘college try’ and guestimates how good a component is in several pre-determined and STANDARDIZED categories.

See, if the categories are well-chosen and are standardized, and a number from 1 to 10, say, is assigned, then components can be compared.

Anyway, in the most recent Spintricity article:

Towards a Hybrid Subjective Objective Review Process

… we attempt to come up with some categories that we, at least, use here [tho in the past we have not been so disciplined as to assign a number to score a component’s performance in each category]

The idea is to create a list that we can print out and then enter or circle a number of something so that the review process can be raised up out of the muck and mire.