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I realize that The Conversations Network is young, but here are my first thoughts and constructive criticisms anyway.

  • The recommendations page should have an "Add to queue" link right there beside the program listing, so that I don't have to click on the program detail link and visit another page in order to add a program to my queue.  Sometimes I can tell by the title that I want to add it right away.


  • Also on the recommendations page, I'm not sure what the “relevance“ graphic is - since the relevance appears to be exactly the same low amount on every recommendation in the list.  Checking “Exclude items you've already rated“ appears to have no effect, as does checking “Sort by overall popularity“.


  • I like the features that the ratings and recommendations bring to me - but I want this functionality for more than just ITConversations, and I want it without having to visit a website.  Instead I just want to download the shows with Primetime Podcast Receiver, and listen to them during my drive and workout time.  It would be cool if I could rate programs from right inside my podcast client (I'd actually offered to implement something like this in PPR with Doug before, but he was reluctant).  It would be easy to outline a small specification for an XMLRPC based authentication, ratings, and recommendations API for things like this.  Podcast clients and podcast or videoblog producers (like The Conversations Network) could choose to implement this API to offer some pretty awesome functionality to their listeners.


  • The forums are a great touch - but an RSS feed to go along with them would be good.  RSS makes keeping up with forums much easier and faster.


  • The Conversations Network site itself offers a lot of smartness through its Netflix-ish interaction.  Why not keep it going and offer “Latest Recordings” listings (across all channels), “Top-rated recordings” listings (it looks like this might be possible on the recommendations page, but itss not clear to me that this actually works), and “Critics Picks“ (how about a list of Doug's personal favorites, or some other interesting critics).


  • Today Robert Scoble is looking for podcast recommendations.  Another really neat feature for The Conversations Network would be the ability of members to be able to make their ratings history public.  An RSS feed of my 4 and 5 star rated podcasts might be interesting to someone else.  This would be another good feature for a podcast client as well - being able to publish a feed of favorite podcasts from multiple sources.

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Posted on Tuesday, January 31, 2006 8:00 AM General | Back to top

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