January 13, 2008

Is SiteHoppin Like StumbleUpon for Drunks?

How do you take on a company who has first-mover advantage, significant market share, and a positive customer experience? It's hard to do. If you want to beat an entrenched company like this, your service should either cost less (or be free), be easier to use, or have significant differentiation, with features that customers can't live without. Whether on the virtual or real world, taking on the big guys can be tough.

In recent weeks, I've seen the emergence of a service that takes users from site to site, like StumbleUpon does, called SiteHoppin'. SiteHoppin' describes itself as a "social networking/bookmarking wiki site that lets you find, bookmark or share interesting sites by hopping instead of typing."

SiteHoppin' doesn't mention StumbleUpon by name, but it performs essentially the same function as the wildly popular service, owned by eBay. What it lacks in visual design and market penetration, it makes up for in buzzwords and attitude. It not only claims "social networking", "bookmarking" and "wiki" in its title, but call itself Web 2.5. I've never even heard of Web 2.5, even while others are working over a definition of Web 3.0.

Stumblers er... SiteHoppers can rate sites by the number of beers (from one to five) they give a page, similar to StumbleUpon's thumbs up and thumbs down feature.

Where SiteHoppin' does come out ahead of StumbleUpon is the lacking need for a browser toolbar. As StumbleUpon has delivered toolbars for FireFox and Internet Explorer, they haven't yet gotten to us Safari users. SiteHoppin's user interface is so light, they claim to work well on iPhones, the Nokia E90 and other smartphones.

The site is just getting started, having reached 10,000 visitors on Friday, and features a most-popular sites listing, as well as a directory of users. So far, the most popular site is www.doodlage.com, which has 43 "Beers on the Wall" for an "Average Beers Rating" of 4.63. I don't know about you, but maybe there's something safer about browsing sober. We'll see how far SiteHoppin' gets against the StumbleUpon juggernaut.