Friday, March 28, 2008 Seems To Have Gone A Bit Flat

The relaunch took place a few days ago, and as the site’s former managing editor, I’d like to give my opinion on the new redesign. Unfortunately, I think they have missed a great opportunity to make it one of the best sites on the Net.

For starters, just the domain name itself is one of the most sought-after URLs out there. People search for it, link it, type it in their browser, stumble upon it. It’s worth millions in itself, and all you get now when you go there is very annoying scrolling percentage numbers of who likes what out of 10.

“The most exciting features we introduced with the new are the abilities to comment and rate the content, so we encourage you to do that.” You mean, like Digg has been doing for years? I don’t see that as exciting.

The word I got is that six people were locked in a room with a plentiful supply of beer and snacks and told: “Revamp the site in a month.” That sounds like pressure to me, and not a very conducive way to plan, design and relaunch a major website. I wonder what the parent company -- dthree Inc. -- were thinking in setting such a deadline?

The fact that there’s three “Place Your Ad Here” boxes on the home page is not a good sign. Might have been cool to get some sponsors in place first.

My previous boss left the company a few months ago, and now I understand a former intern called Chris Balon is in charge of -- that’s a swift promotion, and I wish him luck.

One suggestion I have for him is to bring back Virtual Bartender, the smash hit viral sensation that made famous. For the life of me I can’t find it on the site; I might have missed it, but some of the comments from users reflect that omission too: “Please tell me that you guys didn’t do the STUPIDEST thing possible and got rid of the Virtual Bartenders? Please tell me that you aren’t that brain dead.”

A message from the team says that they have a lot more planned for the future. I sincerely hope so, because it’s a shame what the site has turned into.


  1. Hey Johnny,

    Nice to see you're on your feet! This got passed to me by a reader of the site - and I'm glad it did!

    As a former Beer Man yourself we value your input on the site!

    To confirm, YES - a handful of us were locked in the Room day and night and told to revamp the site. For EXACTLY 30 days worth of work I think we did a great job!

    We're a work in progress still, without a doubt. Do we have sponsors? It's in the works - they don't appear overnight. And we'd rather avoid the cheap-looking Google text ads that most OTHER sites resort to.

    The VB girls are gone? Hardly! It turns out that over 700 websites have been PIRATING the beautiful Virtual Bartenders from us! We're in the works to ensure that Tammy and the others are back as fast as possible - and EXCLUSIVE to once again.

    So if your hopes were crushed by what we've presented I'm truly sorry - but if you're patient then you'll see.

    For now we're offering fresh, original content DAILY for our readers, and commenting features and ratings for our members... which is more than the OLD had!

    We're working on bringing over our library of 700+ Beer Reviews and, as mentioned, the VB girls, as well as some NEW surprises!

    Again, thanks for taking the time to let us know your opinions.

    Fire me an e-mail sometime,

    Chris Balon

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment, Chris. Glad you took my critique in the right spirit.

    As a former Beer.commer, I'd like the site to do well and will be keeping a friendly eye on it.

    Johnny C.