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IDEA #94 – Dear WTF (aka “Dear Abby for Techies”)

I really like this idea and thought I was going to really move forward with it. But it’s amazing how such a simple idea can get involved (see my sitemap at bottom of this post). I still believe this idea has potential for a nice niche of users. I own the domain ‘dearwtf.com’ (I released ‘dearwtfchuck.com’, the original name of this idea). I was going to use Pligg, but then it sounded like Drupal would be the better option. I see the digg/techie crowd jumping all over this — they like to bitch about shit, and that’s what this site would be all about.

This is a spoof on ‘Dear Abby’ and is for you to rant to the world on topics — could just be tech stuff; could be products, services, the customer service of Sprint, why there are so many ads on a certain website, why this, why that. Stuff you don’t agree with. Stuff that shows you’re smart and aware of bugs, glitches, etc.

Here’s an example and here’s another:

Dear WTF,

Why doesn’t Google Maps use a tinyurl service when they give you a directions/map link? I mean, could these URLs get any LONGER?!

http:// maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=las+vegas,+nv+from+buffalo,+ny&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=39.320439,77.519531&ie=UTF8&z=5

Sincerely,
TRYING-TO-MAKE-MY-NAME-LONGER-THAN-A-GOOGLE-MAPS-URL;OH-F-IT,I-CANT-DO-IT from BUFFALO, NY

The typical format should be: title, question/rant, possible solution, signature that includes or does not include a link to the poster’s website.

I’d see this similar to digg, in that users would ‘digg’ [agree] with ones that they feel are the best. Those would get voted up to the top and appear on the homepage of the site.

Bonus Idea: Allow people on Twitter to post these rants and use the ‘#dearwtf’ tag, we’ll find them and auto-post them to our site.

I’d worry about implementing the Twitter functionality until way after. Someone needs to pull a graphic designer and programmer together, and do this idea up. I know I’d use it if it was created properly.

My sitemap specs (click image to see full-size version):

  • http://www.jujubeejenny.typepad.com JuJuBee

    I really like this idea. You are spot on; if given an outlet to bitch, people will hop right on board. There’s so much to bitch about!

  • http://thebull.macsimumweb.com/ Robet

    so you own a great domain name already. are you looking to partner and have someone build it? or sell the domain name, or ??

    Great idea. A public/social version of thedailywtf.com

  • http://thebull.macsimumweb.com/ Robet

    One thing just came to mind though. Techies are notorious for not clicking through on ads, so monetization would be a pain. You might have to eat it until you get serious enough traffic to get CPM advertisers via federated media or something like that (much like digg)

  • http://thebull.macsimumweb.com/ Robet

    Oh, on the twitter piece, that would be easy to do. I do something similar for Twitopolis.com. all tag based.

    (sorry for the constant comments and the plug :)

  • http://rexduffdixon.com/ Rex Dixon

    I used Pligg on a site with a similar concept called Give Me A Friggin’ Break – which was suppose to be a site where people submitted stupid things/funny things they saw online. Pligg never worked well, or the host site was slow. In anycase, the idea never fully took hold until some spammers in Malaysia region decided to start using it to post spam comments.

    My partner in this idea and I have since moved it off it’s original hosting service and put up a coming again soon WP landing page – http://givemeafrigginbreak.com/ – yes, the domain is way too long, but gmafb.com is not available/wasn’t available.

    Ok, way off topic – I do like the wtf idea. :)

    Rex

  • Luca

    It reminds me a bit of the customer service system, getsatisfaction.com. (Example post: http://getsatisfaction.com/bbc/topics/stop_asking_for_media_rights_per_country_and_just_ask_a_monthly_yearly_view_per_customer)

    Users post their problem / idea / question and at the end set their ‘mood’. Other users can click a button saying they have this problem too.

  • http://husseinahmed.com/ Hussein Ahmed

    Hey Steve,

    I’d love to create DearWTF together. I’ll start building the web and mobile application and I’ll get back to you ASAP once I have a MVP. So excited!

    Oh, do you have something in mind for “personality”. Retro? Grunge? Web 2.0 or something specific?

  • http://stevepoland.com/about Steve Poland

    It’s just an idea, and I think it’s decent, everyone likes to complain about stuff. Good luck with it!