No one and I mean no one wants to bash Edgeio because the founder is the TechCrunch dude. But have you tried using the site? Wow is it awful. It sounded like a bad idea to begin with, but you kind of thought the execution might be there given that the main guy behind it is able to write really good-looking blog posts about web 2.0 ‘companies’.
First of all, there are no good listings. Which is pretty much a dealbreaker when you’re trying to sell people things. A search for ‘powerbook‘ yields 3 results. One is total garbage, the other two are 22 and 28 days old. Ebay has something like 2600, and my local craig’s list has about 60 in the past day or two.
Secondly, almost all of the listings seem to be irrelevant or spam. For example, one of the top tags is “New York City”. OK, you think, I like New York City let’s see what’s in that sucker. Well, you get 3 listings for Apartments listed in the past 4 days, with prices of $21,000,000, $30,000,000 and $25,900,000. Yeah, those ought to sell on Edgio in a day or two.
Thirdly, even if all the listings are crap, the very least the site could have is decent UI. But it doesn’t. Search is pretty much the only way to use the sucker, all the “top tags” “popular items” etc. are meaningless when you’re talking about buying real things. For example, here’s one of the “hot items”. What the hell is that? Tagging and folksonomy are great for a lot of sites, but so far Edgeio just shows how bad it is to rely on that when you’re trying to actually sell things and make something usable. And there’s shit everywhere, it’s impossible to know where to go and how to find things, other then searching.
Lastly, the geocode or localization barely works. Or, it does, kind of, but the results it brings back are just like the rest of the site, which is to say irrelevant. The slider looks nice, though. Good localization might be a little important when you’re hyped as an ebay or craig’s list killer.
Now to be fair, and I usually am not, the thing may have potential, if they completely scrap 80% of what they’re doing and make a usable site with limited but actual listings. But it’s really, really hard to see them doing anything decent if this is the best they can do up to this point, given that probably everyone with a blog who’s paying attention has heard of Edgeio and perhaps been there. They may not know how to pronounce it, or give a shit about “the edge” and other buzzwords, but they’ve seen it (check out the Alexaholic graph) and by and large aren’t coming back for more or telling their friends.
Something to think about when assessing the acumen of TechCrunch next time a site is hyped as ‘indispensible’ or killer.